Great Barrier Island lies 88 kilometres northeast of Auckland and is accessible via a 30 minute plane trip or 3 hour ferry ride. The fourth largest New Zealand landmass at 285 square kilometres, Great Barrier is like another world. Less than 1000 people live permanently on the island and have earned a reputation for their resourcefulness and approach to ensuring the islands pristine bush, beaches and seas remain so.
Maori inhabited the island for over a thousand years with Pakeha settlement taking place soon after Captain Cook sighted the island in 1769. As was commonplace at the time, it's kauri forests were milled extensively for shipbuilding, with the practice continuing right up til the 1940's. Great Barrier was also home to a whaling station during the 1800's but happily not to the detriment of the local whale population. These magnificent creatures can still be sighted enjoying the peaceful waters around the island. The absence of predators on the mainland means that many rare species can still be found there. The chevron skink, New Zealand's largest lizard calls the island home while the black petrel only nests here and on Little Barrier.
A wide range of activities, such as fishing, diving, mountain biking and golf, accompanied by a fine selection of accommodation will ensure you will relax in one of the most peaceful and tranquil locations New Zealand has to offer.
You will be taken on a tour of Great Barrier Island today with your knowledgable driver Norm.
Norm grew up on the island so will have all the local knowledge to tailor the day to suit you.
Perhaps start with a short tour of the lower end of the Island. First, Shoal Bay Pottery by the wharf for a browse then a drive up to the Cape Barrier with a beautiful view of the south down past the Mercury Islands.
Head to Medlands Beach and take a short walk up Memory Rock. Continue onto The Honey and Grain Museum where there is an interesting photo exhibition of the local history and then up the Island to Windy Canyon which is a short walk 10 minutes each way) in to an amazing rock formation and beautiful views of the north.
Enjoy a 4 – 5 hour boat tour departing from and returning to Whangaparapara with a BBQ lunch on board. Subject to the weather it incorporates sightseeing in the Whangaparapara Harbour covering the history there, up to the Broken Islands and the entrance to Fitzroy Harbour by Man O War passage and Kaikoura Island, lunch in a sheltered bay before returning to Whangaparapara.