Great Barrier is an enchanted island of perfect peace, solitude, wild beauty and warm hospitality – just the place for the holiday of your dreams.
Long white sand beaches and unspoiled forest paths lie deserted, awaiting the traveller seeking a peaceful retreat completely separated from the trappings of modern life. A serene world of wide open spaces and leisurely living with no high rises, choked highways or crowded shopping malls – a world on its own.
The largest island in the Hauraki Gulf is just a 30 minute flight or a two hour ferry ride from Auckland. The residents live in picturesque coastal villages relying on alternative power and water supply.
If that seems like a step back in time to a primitive existence, well there is good news. The rewards for the visitor are; a maritime climate where the air is pure, bush walks where you hear only birds, secluded beaches where you can feel the silence, surf breaks that are perfect to ride, and tramping tracks with natural hot springs supplied. All this, plus a full range of superior and budget accommodation with all amenities.
The fast ferries from Auckland arrive first at Tryphena and during the summer months a service is also provided to Port FitzRoy in the north. There are two airports, at Claris on the east side near to the Medlands and Awana Bay surf beaches and at Okiwi in the north close to Whangapoua surf bar and the main walking tracks. There are no banks but most businesses have EFTPOS facilities.
The island is criss-crossed by roads and walking tracks which connect the sandy beaches on the east coast with the sheltered harbours in the west. A variety of shuttle services operate daily and taxis, tours and rental cars are available.
Local guides can assist you with diving and fishing trips, sea kayaking, windsurfing, tramping and horse riding.
Over 60% of the island is protected as conservation estate and there are unlimited opportunities for tramping. The most popular challenge is to climb to the summit of Mt. Hirakimata for the best panoramic view of the Gulf. Welcome surprises in the bush are colonial relics of kauri dams, deserted timber mills, a gold stamp battery and the glorious natural hot springs. This special world is just waiting to be enjoyed.