Everything You Need to Know About Goat Island in NZ

Goat Island is one of New Zealand’s most popular marine reserves. It is located in the Hauraki Gulf, just a short boat ride from Auckland. The island is home to a variety of marine life, including sharks, stingrays, and dolphins. Visitors can snorkel or scuba dive in the clear waters, or simply enjoy the stunning views from the shores.

Here’s everything you need to know about Goat Island marine reserve:


Goat Island was first protected in 1975, making it New Zealand’s first marine reserve. The island is named after the wild goats that used to live there. These days, the only goats on the island are those that are brought over by visitors for a picnic!

Flora and Fauna

Goat Island is home to a variety of marine life. Over 150 species of fish have been recorded in the reserve, and there are also plenty of invertebrates, such as sea urchins, crabs, and starfish. The island is a popular spot for snorkelling and scuba diving, as you can see all sorts of colourful fish when you explore the reefs.

One of the most popular inhabitants of Goat Island is the little blue penguin. These cute birds nest on the island, and you might be lucky enough to see them waddling around if you visit at the right time of year.

There are also plenty of seals that lounge on the beaches or swim in the waters around Goat Island. If you’re lucky, you might even see a dolphin or two!


Goat Island marine reserve is made up of a number of different habitats. There are sandy beaches, rocky shores, and reefs. The reefs are made up of both hard and soft corals, and they provide a home for a variety of fish and other marine creatures.

The island is also surrounded by seagrass meadows. These meadows are important breeding grounds for many fish, including snapper and trevally.


Goat Island marine reserve is a protected area, which means that it is illegal to harm or remove any of the plants or animals that live there. This includes taking shells or coral as souvenirs!

The reserve is also a no-take zone, which means that it is not allowed to fish, gather shellfish, or remove anything else from the water. This helps to protect the marine life and ensure that there are plenty of fish for everyone to enjoy.

Visiting Goat Island

Goat Island is a popular spot for both locals and visitors to Auckland. It is easy to get to, and there are plenty of things to see and do.

There are a number of boat tours that operate from Auckland, or you can catch a ferry from nearby Gulf Harbour. Once you arrive at the island, there are a number of walking tracks that you can follow. These tracks take you past all the different habitats on the island, and there are plenty of lookout points where you can stop and enjoy the views.

If you’re interested in scuba diving or snorkelling, there are a number of operators that offer tours and equipment hire. These tours are a great way to see the colourful marine life up close.

If you’re visiting Auckland, be sure to add Goat Island to your itinerary!

You may also like...