Where two next?

Antipodean travelogue through the eyes of two - one textile and one building lover. It'll be hard to differentiate the two!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Leigh by the Sea

It takes about 6-7 hours to drive from Onemana in the Coromandel to the Bay of Islands in Northland. We therefore decided to break up our journey and stay in a small village called Leigh on Sunday night. We picked Leigh because it is the gateway to Goat Island and close to Pakiri Beach. We could also take our time traveling up along the coast the next day to the Bay of Islands as opposed to heading back onto the main SH1 route which is further inland and doesn't offer the same coastal views.

Before we got to Leigh however we had to cross the Auckland bridge which is fairly impressive in its own right and offers great views back to the city. The following pics were taken while we were driving but gives you some idea. You can also get an impression of the weather in the last pic with the grey rain clouds hovering over the city.

We arrived into Leigh in the afternoon and headed straight to our accommodation to get settled in. The price of accommodation in the low season is very reasonable and we managed to get a very nice self catering apartment. We stayed in Rowntrees Leigh Accommodation which is en route to Goat Island, about five minutes drive away.

We ate in the Sawmill Cafe that night, there is either the Sawmill, a Cafe or a Fish & Chip shop. I think it was the best option given the choice and the food, although nothing special, was about the best we would have during our entire stay in Northland, but more on that later!

We got up early the next morning and headed down to Goat Island. Goat Island is one of NZ's special places according to the guide book as it was the countries first marine reserve of 547 hectares. It is meant to be one of the top ten places in the world to snorkel and although we had no intention of actually snorkelling it was still worth a look. At low tide you can head off down to a channel to the right hand side of the beach, as you look out to sea, and from there you can see loads of different fish without getting your feet wet! Here's a few pics, the first is of Goat Island from the car park.

After the channel we took a quick stroll down the other end of the beach and here's some views from there looking back.

It was a fantastic morning, although we did have showers later, and as you can see by the footprints on the beach in the pic above we had the whole place to ourselves that morning. When we were finished exploring the area it was back into the car for the coastal drive to the Bay of Islands.

Next stop Pakiri beach but more on that in the next post.


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