Great Barrier Island

One of the less well known gems of New Zealand, only 40 minutes flight from Auckland, but feels a world away. Great Barrier Island is effectively the Coromandel Peninsula (they used to be attached) but with almost no people (~800 residents). It has beaches, walks, scenery, fishing, and diving on a par with Auckland’s favourite holiday destination, but outside of peak summer time you’re likely to have the island to yourself. The Barrier is a special place.

The Aotea Track is a 2-3 day walk around the centre of the island, but the highlights can be covered in half a day walking through the Windy Canyon along Palmers Track, and up Mt Hobson for views of the entire island and beyond to Little Barrier Island.

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The island is full of history, from the extensive kauri logging that removed vast swathes of native forest (much since regrown) to the remains of a whaling station at Whangaparapara.


There are some epic beaches on the Barrier, including Whangapoua Beach (with a grave site for those who lost their lives on the SS Wairarapa), Medland Beach, Oruawharo BayAwana Beach and Blind Bay.

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Special things
The Hot Springs are a beautiful place to relax.

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Port Fitzroy is home to the smallest library I’ve seen.


This car may have been here a while…


Dangerous rock falls…


The Santa’s Day Parade during the first weekend in December is a highlight, particularly if you like giant inflatable rats and graphic driver safety advertising.

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Author: jontycrane

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