PHOTO: Medlands Beach
From Auckland, Great Barrier Island is a green world on the horizon – separated from by a choppy expanse of water. In essence, that’s exactly what it is – an enclave of native bush and birds, protected from progress and predators by a moody sea.
Here’s ten reasons why you should visit!
Great Barrier Island is a 35-minute flight or a leisurely 2 ½ hour ferry ride from Auckland with Fullers. Cars can be taken to Great Barrier on SeaLink’s Eco Islander ferry which takes approximately 4 ½ hours. All ferries to the island arrive at Tryphena. Fullers only operate Dec/Jan, Easter and Labour Weekend.
2. Glenfern Sanctuary guided walk
This guided walk begins in an all-terrain army vehicle and travels from FitzRoy to Sunset Rock, where you can enjoy views of the sanctuary’s flora, fauna and wildlife.
3. Kaitoke Hot Springs Track
A popular easy walk crosses the Kaitoke Stream and follows the edge of the Kaitoke Swamp to sulphurous hot springs.
4. Palmers Track via Windy Canyon
Windy Canyon Lookout starts at Palmers Track entrance on the summit (330 m) of Whangapoua Hill/Aotea Rd. It then climbs 100 m through the andesitic rock bluffs of Windy Canyon to central ridge.
5. Mountain Biking
Great Barrier Island offers impressive mountain bike riding for all levels and is an adventurous way to see much of the island.
Great Barrier Island is a haven for casual divers and snorkellers and offers some of the most varied scuba diving in New Zealand. Visibility is usually excellent and the abundant sea life offers rewarding dives in both shallow and deeper waters.
There are a variety of operators to choose from and Hooked on Barrier in Claris sells and hires fishing and dive gear.
Great Barrier Island is a wonderful place to kayak either independently or with a guide. Kayaking offers one of the best ways to discover the wild natural beauty of the island’s coves, bays, inlets and wildlife.
Great Barrier Island offers some of the best surfing and boogie boarding in New Zealand. Any of the four popular east coast beaches on the island will provide you with an enjoyable surfing adventure, but experience is needed when waves peak over two metres.
10. The Crazy Horse Trike
Whether you prefer a sedate, relaxed cruise or an exhilarating blast, you are in for a truly unique experience on this 3 seater fun machine!
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