Aotea/Great Barrier Island is one of New Zealand’s most stunning travel destinations off the beaten track. It is the largest and most seaward of the Hauraki Gulf islands in Auckland region. The eastern shores of Great Barrier Island face the ocean with high cliffs and long white surf beaches; the western side offers deep sheltered harbours and calm sandy bays. With a permanent population of only 1100 people there’s plenty of room for you, your friends and family.
The abundant native forest, the dramatic and rugged skyline, the mountains and valleys sweeping down to the Pacific Ocean and some of New Zealand’s most stunning beaches all create a truly unique and diverse landscape.
The entire island is off the grid: all homes and businesses are self-sufficient: they produce their own power, source their own water and dispose of their own waste. When you arrive on the island, you’ll feel worlds apart from the city. Grab this chance to disconnect and restore from your fast paced.
Learn more about what you can to expect from a holiday on beautiful Aotea Great Barrier Island here.
The island still has many amenities and comforts like wi-fi, good coffee and grocery stores, you just have to know where to look, not expect them in abundance and plan around opening times. There now is cell phone reception in many areas including; Tryphena, Medlands, Claris, Okupu and Port Fitzroy.
Tryphena is the largest settlement on the island and is situated on the south west coast. It is home to a number of picturesque family-friendly beaches, and dolphins are often spotted here close to the shoreline.
More than 60 per cent of the Island's 285 square kilometres is public land administered by the Department of Conservation.
The bush is laced with beautiful short and long walking tracks, including to secluded natural hot springs and many stunning lookout points.
Rising 627 metres above the sea, Hirakimata - Mount Hobson beckons the hiker with the promise of incredible 360 degree views. The Department of Conservation Aotea Track is a renowned multiday walking track with 1 or 2 night options in huts along the track. We recommend hiking the track and then allowing for an extra couple of days to relax and see more of the island.
The island is a popular destination for diving, fishing, surfing, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking and camping.
The island’s wilderness areas, foreshores and estuaries are home to many taonga, including unique plant and bird species. If you have an interest in conservation and native species visit the island’s Ecology Vision website. At the regional park Glenfern Sanctuary you can find out more about conservation efforts on the island.
Accommodation options across the island range from campgrounds to award winning architectural baches. Plus, there are several lodges on the island including Great Barrier Lodge, Trillium Lodge, Shoal Bay Estate, Sunset Lodge and Tipi & Bobs. One thing you can be certain of is that anywhere you stay will have something unique, quirky or beautiful about it.
There are several events held on the island every year. No Barriers offers a weekend of exploring big ideas with experts from all over the country. Wharf2Wharf is a sporting event where athletes walk, run or cycle across the island, a marathon-length, or shorter. The Great Barrier garden tour showcases the island's stunning residential gardens. Biennial Wingman Festival takes place over Auckland Anniversary weekend and Matariki celebrations are hosted at one of the two marae on the island in July.
Note that there is no scheduled bus service on the island, but that you can easily hire a car, prebook a shuttle or hitch a ride, a common way of getting around … it’s all part of the adventure.
To help you further plan your holiday you can access maps, visitor guides, videos and much other useful information at www.greatbarrier.co.nz