The nearest boat launching ramp to the marine reserve is in Leigh Harbour (also called Omaha Cove), just below the township of Leigh. Boaties are welcome to navigate and anchor carefully in the reserve.
Extra caution may be needed in some areas because of the number of divers and swimmers. Do not exceed five knots within 200 m of the shore or a dive flag, or within 30 m of any other boat or person in the water.
Boats can enter the marine reserve after fishing outside its boundaries, but fishing rods should be stowed out of sight while visiting the marine reserve. Remember, do not feed the fish or discharge anything into the water.
Child/family friendly activities
There is plenty for kids to do at the marine reserve. If your children are too young for snorkelling, you can still get a great view of the marine life from most shallow areas of the reserve, particularly the rocky platform near the main beach.
At low tide you can explore the rock pools. If you turn the rocks over to look underneath or pick up any sea creatures, remember to put them back carefully afterwards. Glass bottom boat trips run every day, weather and sea conditions permitting.
For more information on the glass bottom boat, and other activities at Leigh, see the Leigh business community's website.
Visitors enjoying Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve
Diving and snorkelling
The best way to experience the reserve and its inhabitants is to get into the water with them. Those with a mask and snorkel can explore the rocks close to shore while divers can visit deeper areas further out.
Diving and snorkelling equipment can be hired at Leigh, and on Goat Island Road on the way to the marine reserve.
Safety note: It is recommended that visitors swim or dive in pairs. Snorkelers, particularly those who are not strong swimmers or used to swimming in the open sea, are strongly advised to wear a wetsuit or life jacket, or take another flotation device such as a boogie board when snorkelling in the marine reserve. Beginners should keep near the shore to avoid the deceptive currents and rips in this bay
Kayaking and canoeing
If you don’t want to get into the water, you can see the marine reserve by kayak, or kayak around Te Hāwere-a-Maki/Goat Island. This island, 800 m offshore, is included in the marine reserve. Kayaks can be hired at Leigh, and on Goat Island Road on the way to the marine reserve.
Safety note: Inexperienced paddlers should take care with the sea conditions and currents.
Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre - an Edith Winstone Blackwell legacy
The Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre is run by the University of Auckland and is part of the Leigh Marine Laboratory, the hub for the University's marine science activities.
The centre is open to the public, and features displays on the nature of life under the sea, a tide pool tank and information about scientific research carried out at the laboratory. Group bookings and school education visits are also available.
For more information, see the Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre website.
The marine reserve is a great place for swimming in calm weather. Toilets, changing rooms and an outdoor cold shower are available near the car park.
Fishing is prohibited
Fishing of any kind is an offence in this marine reserve, as is the taking or disturbing of any marine life, including shellfish and seaweeds. It is also an offence to take any part of the seafloor. This includes taking home any shells or rocks you may have collected from the beach.