Goose bay is a small seaside settlement situated 10 minutes drive South of Kaikoura, and approx 90 minutes drive North of Christchurch. It has been known as Goose Bay for well over 100 years and there are two versions of how it attained its name. The first was because a flock of geese escaped from an early whaling station, and the other was when an invading Ngati Toa chief, Te Rauparaha, destroyed an unfortified village. The four campgrounds on the Goose Bay coast are highly recommended.
Attractions and Activities
Goose Bay offers some of the best camping sites New Zealand has to offer, with magnificent sea views and a snow capped mountain backdrop. From the beach at Goose Bay, the Kaikoura peninsula is clearly visible.
The waters off the shore of Goose Bay are very deep, and you only need to travel out 500m to catch a wide variety of fish. Launching small boats can be done at Boat Harbour.
Surfcasting off the shore is also very rewarding.
The Goose Bay track is a short and rewarding walk, giving you expansive views up and down the coast. The track starts at the Omihi Camping area and climbs a hill to a lookout.
It takes about 20 minutes.
There is no actual Boat Harbour here as the name suggests. Boat Harbour is the name given to the southern most camping ground at Goose Bay, which has one of the few public boat ramps located along the 22km coastline, south of Kaikoura.
The ramp is a narrow wooden decked slipway and is only suitable for lightweight craft up to 14 foot in length. Larger vessels are not permitted on the ramp, as they would cause considerably damage. Launching your boat here is tricky, as vehicles cannot go on the ramp. You have to unhitch your boat and walk it down the ramp. Once in the water you have to carefully manoeuvre your boat around and through the rocky narrow passage, out to the sea. This is made more difficult in rough sea conditions so it is recommended to check the weather before attempting to use the ramp. When retrieving your boat, a stout rope must be tied to your trailer from your vehicle and the vehicle must be driven forward to pull it from the water.
A gold coin donation is required to use the ramp.
If you have a larger boat you can safely launch it at South Bay, 17kms north.
Omihi is the site of another fantastic campground at Goose Bay. The camping grounds are on the beachfront and offer visitors an opportunity to partake in the many water activities. Fishing is fantastic along the Kaikoura coastline and diving for crayfish is superb!
The starting point for the Omihi Scenic Reserve Walk is near the camping area. The track leads you up an easy gradient to a lookout giving fantastic views of the Kaikoura coast. The walk is easy and takes about 20 minutes each way.
Maori History of Omihi
Omihi was the site of a massacre of Ngai Tahu, by Te Rauparaha, the Ngati Toa chief in the year 1829. He was avenging an insult on his nephew Te Rangihaeata by Te Kekerengu, who had a relationship with one of Te Rangihaeata wives.
Te Rauparaha heard that Te Kekerengu was given sanctuary by Rerewaka, a Ngai Tahu chief at Kaikoura. Te Rauparaha hated Rerewaka for previous insults made upon him. He set out to seek revenge and crush his enemy’s. He landed his war canoes at Wairau and headed towards Kaikoura. Rerewaka learnt of the impeding attack, so he led his Ngai Tahu force along with Te Kekerengu to Omihi. Te Rauparaha and his men got back in their canoes and headed to Omihi. On their arrival, the Ngai Tahu, who had mistaken them for friendly visitors, greeted them. Te Rauparaha slaughtered them and rampaged towards the Omihi Pa. Omihi Pa was crushed and over a thousand Ngai Tahu were slain. Rerewaka was captured, along with many other Ngai Tahu people, but Te Kekerengu managed to escape to a place that now honours his name, Kekerengu.
Te Rauparaha was not content with his victory and he set upon Kaiapoi, the Ngai Tahu stronghold. He left a war party at Omihi with the captured Ngai Tahu prisoners.
Things did not go well at Kaiapoi. On his return to Omihi, Te Rauparaha killed his prisoners.