Known for the best snorkeling in New Zealand, Goat Island Marine Reserve is just a short drive North of Auckland, and the perfect destination for a day trip.

Goat Island Marine Reserve

Goat Island Marine Reserve

If you’re traveling through New Zealand and looking for something to do near Auckland, consider packing your swimmers and heading to Goat Island Marine Reserve for a day. There are tons of day trips you can take from Auckland, and if the weather is right, Goat Island is a fabulous choice.

Goat Island Marine Reserve is a little cove filled with all kinds of fish. There are no goats on the island. But, there are loads of booths renting out snorkel gear, and plenty of room on the beach.

Goat Island Marine Reserve

Bring a picnic, because as is the case with most beaches in New Zealand, there are no restaurants around.

Goat Island Marine Reserve is the perfect place to spend a day in the sun and the water. Rent snorkel gear from the storage container at the edge of the beach for $15 (mask and flippers). Throw in a pool noodle for an extra $5 if you’re worried about swimming. Pro tip: the rental company at Goat Island is less expensive than the ones on the way. Don’t bother trying to find them cheaper while heading there.

Goat Island Marine Reserve

Flop into the ocean on a clear day, and you’ll be able to see the coral below, swarming with multiple varieties of fish.

Bring your camera, because it’s beautiful! There’s a little waterfall at the far end of the beach that most people don’t see. The little island is a great spot to spread a towel and bathe in the sun. Rent a kayak to head over there.

Goat Island Marine Reserve

Goat Island Marine Reserve is a great spot for the budget traveler, as the snorkel rentals are cheap, parking is free, and it’s a great spot to mark off of your bucket list.

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While living and working in Auckland, I want to explore as much as I possibly can in my off time. I’ve made a list of all of the possible day trips I can take from the city, and I’m checking them off in accordance to how excited I am to visit them. Piha Beach has topped the list for quite some time now.

Piha Beach Auckland New Zealand

Piha Beach: Getting There

I’ve seen photos and heard stories of the beauty that Piha Beach holds for the past year, from my friends who have visited New Zealand. I figured it was time to visit it myself.

Piha Beach is a little under an hours drive from Auckland. Michael and I packed a lunch and hopped in the car. We stopped once for a coffee to go, and then got back on the road. Once you get out of the city, you’ll be driving down some insanely gorgeous roads. The roads are surrounded by lush, green, rolling hills that are filled with grazing cows, sheep, and horses.

Piha Beach Road

After a bit of winding (be prepared if you get carsick), witness insane views of the ocean. The views coming down into Piha are just as stunning as the rolling hills. The ocean is a light, cerulean blue, and the tide comes in so slowly.Piha Beach Views

Piha Beach: What to Do

Park in the lot and walk out to the sand. The black sand is so fine and soft – take off your shoes and feel it for yourself. I was shocked at the silkiness of the sand. Michael and I walked up and down the beach, staring at the massive rocks rising out of the sand and watching the waves come in. The water was cold, and it was a windy spring day, so we held off on swimming.

Piha Beach Auckland New Zealand What to Do

While looking up at the massive rock that splits the beach in half, we noticed a person half way up. Upon closer inspection, we found a carved staircase. We decided to take the challenge and hike to the highest point we could get to. It’s a short, very steep hike. Make it to the top for magical views and excellent photo opportunities.

Piha Beach Hike Rock Climb

I’d suggest bringing a picnic out to the beach, maybe a book or a bottle of wine, and spending a good few hours out there. I’ll be in Auckland for a year on my working visa, and I’m sure that I’ll be visiting this beach many more times.

There is nothing like a good beach to rejuvenate a person, hey?!

 

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