10 Destinations That’ll Get Your Goat for Chinese New Year

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Chinese New Year falls on Thursday, February 19, and this will be the Year of the Goat.

The Goat is the eighth sign of the 12-year cycle of animals that appear in the Chinese zodiac. Associated with the eighth Earthly Branch symbol, those born in the Year of the Goat are considered to be intelligent, creative, dependable and calm.

Goats are a much-loved animal. They’re tough, able to survive on the slimmest of pickings, and so sure-footed that they can scale the highest mountains and the steepest walls.

Not only are they great at eating up old Christmas trees, they’re green” lawnmowers, clearing gardens of stubborn plants for Hollywood A-Listers.

We throw the goat at concerts, are an exclusive bunch at West Point Military Academy, used to throw the goat at an ancient Spanish festival and every August in a small Irish town, the townspeople crown a wild mountain goat and allow him to reign over a town for three days.

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Throwing the goat to a goat. Photo by Forrest Norvell
Throwing the goat to a goat. Photo by Forrest Norvell

To honour the goat we’ve herded up our 10 favourite goatastic places around the world that will undoubtedly get your goat for the Chinese New Year.

Goat Island, New York, USA

Goat Island lies between Bridal Veil Falls and the Canadian Horseshoe Falls in Niagara Falls.

It gets its name from a herd of goats owned by John Stedman, an early pioneer. In 1778, he moved them to the island to protect them from wolves. Sadly, the harsh winter of 1778 was a mightier predator and all but one of the animals perished.

You don’t need a boat to get to this island; two bridges connect Goat Island to the mainland.

Goat Island offers visitors the most spectacular views of the Falls. There’s a trolley that trundles around the island and a walking trail that encircles it. The Cave of the Winds is located here too. An elevator takes sightseers down to the base of the American Falls. From redwood decks and platforms (removed each autumn and replaced each spring) visitors can walk right up to the base of the Bridal Veil Falls.

Niagara State Park. Photo by Michael Gray
Niagara State Park. Photo by Michael Gray
Niagara Falls and the Cave of the Winds. Photo by Jeff Stevens
Niagara Falls and the Cave of the Winds. Photo by Jeff Stevens

Goat Island Marine Reserve, New Zealand

You’re much more likely to see colourful fish than goats during a visit to Goat Island. The marine reserve is located north of Auckland. It’s New Zealand’s first and most accessible marine reserve, established in 1977.

It’s named after the goats that were released by early European seafarers; the animals provided food for sailors who became marooned. It’s a place of significance to the Maori who know the island as Motu Hawere.

Goat Island is a popular spot for swimmers, snorkellers and divers and a fantastic family destination. There are plenty of opportunities to go rock-pooling and snorkelling.

Goat Island Marine Reserve. Photo by Darren Foreman
Goat Island Marine Reserve. Photo by Darren Foreman
Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve (Goat Island) - New Zealand. Photo by Jennifer Whiting
Cape Rodney-Okakari Point Marine Reserve (Goat Island) – New Zealand. Photo by Jennifer Whiting
The Goat Coast, Leigh, Auckland. Photo by Alex Schwab
The Goat Coast, Leigh, Auckland. Photo by Alex Schwab

Essaouira, Morocco

If you’re in this part of Morocco, look up! Chances are there’ll be Tamri goats in the tough, gnarled branches above, nibbling on the fruit of the Argania spinosa.

The argan fruit is an almond-shaped nut. A thick peel insulates it. Traditionally, the tree-climbing goats would eat the fruit, excrete it and then members of the Berber tribe would gather up the nuts, crack them open with stones and roast and grind the seeds.

Today, argan oil is in high demand, a cult beauty product in the West. It’s produced now by women’s cooperatives who gather the fruit straight from the trees in late summer. Producing one litre of argan oil takes 15 hours and 30kg of fruit. And the goats are more often a way for locals to make a little money from curious travellers.

Goats in Argan, Morocco. Photo by www.SuperCar-RoadTrip.fr
Goats in Argan, Morocco. Photo by www.SuperCar-RoadTrip.fr
Tamri goats climbing Argan trees in search of food. Photo by Tola A.
Tamri goats climbing Argan trees in search of food. Photo by Tola A.
Tree-roosting goats. Photo by Ken Feisel
Tree-roosting goats. Photo by Ken Feisel

Goat Lake, Seattle, Washington, USA

Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest stretches for more than 140 miles (230km) from the Canadian border to the northern edge of Mount Rainier National Park.

Goat Lake, located at the Mountain Loop Highway, is a see-it-before-you-die wonderland of greeny-blue waters, snow-clad peaks and rushing waterfalls. It’s a 10-mile hike roundtrip and an easy day hike from Seattle.

Switchback up through the dark and verdant woods. When you hear the rushing of McIntosh Falls, you’ll know almost at the top. The ethereal waters will greet you when you emerge from the forest. There are some camping spots here and they fill up quickly during the summer months so an early start is recommended!

Goat Lake. Photo by Brian Holsclaw
Goat Lake. Photo by Brian Holsclaw
Goat Lake. Photo by Miguel Vieira
Goat Lake. Photo by Miguel Vieira
Looking west on Goat Lake. Photo by J Brew
Looking west on Goat Lake. Photo by J Brew

Goat Rock State Beach, California, USA

Goat Rock Beach is a sandy beach in northwestern California. It’s dominated by Goat Rock, a huge sea stack with a flat, grassy top.

It takes its name from the goatherds who used the grassy top of the rock to graze goats in the 20th century. Only goats were sure-footed enough to scale the steep sides of the rock.

The beach is popular, especially in mid-summer, with beachcombers, waders, surfers and climbers. It’s also a resting ground for sea otters, elephant seals, sea lions and harbor seals who pup between March and August.

Goat Rock Beach, California. Photo by Tony Fischer
Goat Rock Beach, California. Photo by Tony Fischer
Harbor Seal Nursery at Goat Rock Beach. Photo by Ingrid Taylar
Harbor Seal Nursery at Goat Rock Beach. Photo by Ingrid Taylar
Harbor Seals and Seagulls at the mouth of the Russian River, in Bodega Bay, California. Photo by David Sifry
Harbor Seals and Seagulls at the mouth of the Russian River, in Bodega Bay, California. Photo by David Sifry

Gotham, AKA New York, USA

Goats might not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think about New York, but the city has a long association with the animal.

In the late 1930s when Bill Finger was thinking about changing Batman’s hometown from New York City to a fictional one he ran through a few options. Civic City, Capital City and Coast City were some of the suggestions. Then he looked through the New York City phone book and saw the name Gotham Jewelers.

Gotham was a well-known nickname for New York City as far back as the 19th century. When Washington Irving in 1807 lampooned New York culture and politics, he took the name Gotham from the village of Gotham, Nottinghamshire, England. That was a place inhabited by fools. Derived from Old English Gotham means a “homestead where goats are kept”. Batman buffs will know that The Joker (in Detective Comics #880) cites this, telling Batman that the word means “a safe place for goats”.

Goat head outside the New York Yacht Club Building. Photo by Heather Paul
Goat head outside the New York Yacht Club Building. Photo by Heather Paul
A goat looking out across Gotham AKA New York City. Photo by Neil Rickards
A goat looking out across Gotham AKA New York City. Photo by Neil Rickards
Batman watching over Gotham, ready to pounce. Photo by Christine Wagner
Batman watching over Gotham, ready to pounce. Photo by Christine Wagner

Guangzhou, China

Guangzhou is the third-largest city in China, standing to the north of the Pearl River delta.

Legend has it that during the Zhou Dynasty (1045 B.C. – 256 B.C.) five immortals riding goats descended from heaven, bringing grain to the famine-ravaged city and blessing the area with abundant harvests. To express their gratitude to the immortals, the locals built the “Five Immortals Temple” and established the goat as the symbol of Guangzhou.

Guangzhou has several goat statues but the Statue of the Five Goats is the most impressive, built in Yuexiou Park in 1959.

Five Rams Statue, Guangzhou, China. Photo by yeowatzup
Five Rams Statue, Guangzhou, China. Photo by yeowatzup
Guangzhou Zhujiang New Town CBD. Photo by Jonas
Guangzhou Zhujiang New Town CBD. Photo by Jonas
Toy rams on sale for Chinese New Year. Photo by Gavin Anderson
Toy rams on sale for Chinese New Year. Photo by Gavin Anderson

Goat Island, Hawaii

Goats were not known on the Hawaiian islands before Captain Cook sailed by in the 18th century. He unleashed goats on the islands in 1778 while Captain Vancouver released some more in 1792-1793. They’re now found in lava fields, by the side of the road, living in the most hostile terrain, eating whatever they find.

Mokuauia or Goat Island is a goat-shaped islet off the northeast coast of Oahu. It’s an uninhabited bird sanctuary that you don’t need a boat to visit. At low tide you can walk there and at higher tide, it’s a quick swim.

The centre of Goat Island is a nature preserve for mating and egg-laying sea birds but the beach is open access. If you’re walking, wear some shoes or paddle out using a body board or surfboard.

Wading out to Goat Island. About a half mile from shore, by Malaekahana park. Photo by Timothy Tolle
Wading out to Goat Island. About a half mile from shore, by Malaekahana park. Photo by Timothy Tolle
The seabird sanctuary at the centre of Mokuauia, Oahu. Photo by Forest and Kim Starr
The seabird sanctuary at the centre of Mokuauia, Oahu. Photo by Forest and Kim Starr

Goat Fell, the Isle of Arran, Scotland

Goat Fell is the Isle of Arran’s highest point standing at 2,866 ft (874 metres). It’s one of four Corbetts on the island and a very popular peak to climb. Visitors reach the island by car ferry from Ardrossan Harbour to Brodick.

A path to the peak starts from near Brodick Castle and is just 3 miles (5km) long. The trail cuts along the mountain’s east ridge through woods and moorland.

There is a viewpoint table at the summit and on a clear day you can see as far as Ireland.

Standing stones and Goat Fell on the Isle of Arran. Photo by User:Colin
Standing stones and Goat Fell on the Isle of Arran. Photo by User:Colin
The Isle of Arran from the summit of Goat Fell. Photo by User:Colin
The Isle of Arran from the summit of Goat Fell. Photo by User:Colin
The view from the top of Goat Fell, Isle of Arran. Photo by ㇹヮィㇳ
The view from the top of Goat Fell, Isle of Arran. Photo by ㇹヮィㇳ

Poznan, Poland

The Town Hall in this city is one of the most striking examples of Renaissance architecture in central Europe.

Each day at 12 o’clock locals and visitors flock to the Town Hall to see two mechanical billy goats butt heads 12 times. They’ve been knocking their heads together since 1551. Not these ones, obviously. They’ve been replaced and restored over the centuries. This pair is a sprightly 61 years old.

The legend is that way back in 1511 a cook burnt the venison destined for the voivode’s dinner plate and nabbed a pair of goats by way of replacement. The goats escaped and trotted up the Town Hall tower where they started butting heads – and attracted a large group of onlookers. The voivode pardoned the cook and goats and ordered that mechanical goats be worked into the new clock being built for the tower.

The head-butting goats of the Old City, Poznan, Poland. Photo by Christopher John SSF
The head-butting goats of the Old City, Poznan, Poland. Photo by Christopher John SSF

Featured image by denverkid

10 Destinations That’ll Get Your Goat for Chinese New Year was last modified: November 25th, 2015 by Oonagh Shiel
Author: Oonagh Shiel (3402 posts)

Content Manager at Cheapflights whose travel life can be best summed up as BC (before children) and PC (post children). We only travel during the school holidays so short-haul trips and staycations are our specialities!