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Greater Hauraki Gulf - Snorkelling, beauty spots.

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Hi Team. Just planning our summer sailing after many years away, now with a significantly better boat (Ross 830) and greater range than the 19.5' and 23' T/Sailers we used to have, many years ago.

For an older, but young at heart family with a 6 year old girl.

We did a quick day cruise to Tiri Tiri the other weekend and I shared my first snorkel with daughter which we both loved (a long held dream come true!)

So Im looking for favourite snorkelling spots and other bays of interest, visiting, laying up in etc. Places we might see or get to in a 1 week (maybe 2 week) period over summer.

Anyone care to share :)



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For snorkelling in the inner Gulf  Tiri and Motuora are great plus the whole of the Kawau Bay Mahurangi area is such a top spot for the kids, trips to Warkworth, great beaches, the boating club for a drink,  but generally the further away from AK's Papa cliffs the better. Barrier is also great but just pick your weather window if you intend a trip around the back, it can get mighty lumpy around the ends which may make your significant other review the boating experience :)  

Weve had a trip back from Barrier and stopped at Motuora and been in crystal clear blue water, very scenic.

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1 hour ago, ex TL systems said:

Western coromandel area

Agree.  Whanganui Island on the harbour side is glorious, and the string of Islands up that coast presents beaches, coves, rock outcrops for diving and snorkeling, and a different feel to the rest of the gulf.

We day-trip Rotoroa Island frequently.  Great anchoring in almost all conditions, interesting and scenic walks around the island, choices for beaches and a variety of sea floor to snorkel - sand on the western beaches, rock and kelp on the eastern side. Pakatoa is similar, and both are close enough to Man O War Bay if you want to splash out on the catering.

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On 16/11/2021 at 8:07 AM, Psyche said:

" but generally the further away from AK's Papa cliffs the better"

The harder old rocks definitely make for better snorkelling than the Waitemata sand and mud stone. These old rocks are found on north and east sides of Motutapu, Rakino, Waiheke, Kawau, end of Tawharanui, Matheson's bay to Goat Island. Also Motuora and Moturekareka have some interesting spots.

I reckon all of those can be worth a look, but the water can be murky depending on the wind directions. 

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You dont have to go far, the Gulf is really under rated, there are so many great spots you can get to in just a few hours. I have a 6 year old daughter and 2 year old daughter and they find interest in almost everything on our sailing trips, it might be the crabs or star fish ashore, the ducks that swim out to meet you (Mahurangi) or swimming from the boat. We sail from Gulf Harbour Marina and our favourite spots are Tiri Tiri, Mahurangi, Motutapu (very underrated, this island has alot to offer) Kauwau, Motorekareka and the bottom end of Waiheke.

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