"The Beautiful Barrier!" Great Barrier Island by allikat

Great Barrier Island Travel Guide: 36 reviews and 72 photos

Aotea (White Cloud)

Great Barrier Island lies of the North East Coast of New Zealand, about 90km from Auckland, past the outer reaches of the Hauraki Gulf. This is the 5th largest island in New Zealand, after the North island, the South island, Stewart Island and Waiheke Island. You can fly there, or regular ferry sevices operate from Auckland. The ride can be bumpy, as you cross a stretch of open ocean to get there.
Named 'Big Barrier' by Captain Cook, it's Maori name is Aotea, which means White Cloud.
The climate is generally quite mild, with summers being hot and dry while the winters are wet.
It is a rugged island, with Mount Hobson being the highest point at 621m above sea level. Most of the island is covered in native bush, although the giant Kauri trees have mostly been felled.
On my first visit to 'the Barrier' I was lucky enough to spend 4 days there on a friends boat, 'Ventilate'. We had an awesome time, and I totally fell in love with this beautiful island. Christmas 2004 saw us back on Ventilate and back to the Barrier ~ still beautiful, unspoilt and a great 'off the beaten path' corner of New Zealand.

Smokehouse Bay

New Year 05/06 saw us return and discover that Smokehouse Bay, my favourite spot at Great Barrier, had recently been destroyed by a landslip after some heavy rain. A place we always return to, we once spent a real fun evening here, smoking the fish we had caught that day, having a bath in the old tin shed, and sharing a campfire with 2 yachts of schoolkids doing their Duke of Edinburgh award.

These mangles are part of the 'goodwill' facilities at the bay - I think they have character! They are still there, as the landslip just missed them. I believe volunteers armed with shovels are planning on clearing the site and restoring the facilities there

Sea birds galore.

We saw lots of sea birds on our way to Gt Barrier.
This photo of an Australasian Gannet was taken near Little Barrier Island. Gannets were feeding alongside fluttering shearwaters, blue penguins and white-fronted terns. This is also an area of water where you may be lucky enough to spot dolphins, whales and orcas.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Native bush, few roads, few people.
  • Cons:getting there
  • In a nutshell:An oasis for wildlife - a place to fall in love with!
  • Last visit to Great Barrier Island: Dec 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (13)

Comments (40)

  • Oct 9, 2008 at 12:17 PM

    Great tips!

  • besal's Profile Photo
    Aug 31, 2008 at 1:57 AM

    Just read in the books about the barrier reef, finally saw some pictures. Great tips.

  • sourbugger's Profile Photo
    Nov 4, 2007 at 1:35 PM

    boy, wish i was there , rather bthan nappy changing

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Sep 8, 2007 at 3:46 AM

    love yr tips!dont you mean Manuka?i visited my most northern coldest long drop right at the Norwegian border with Russia!at minus 15!otherwise just like a kiwi one!My sis had her honeymoon at GB Is,havent been there myself!thx4 the pics!&mussel fest tip!

  • sweetnika's Profile Photo
    Jan 22, 2007 at 11:23 PM

    great pages sweetie

  • bigsurxl's Profile Photo
    Jan 12, 2007 at 4:03 AM

    I hope you appreciate how lucky you are having places like this on your doorstep ;-) I'm dreaming of the Barrier as I look out of my window at the horizontal Edinburgh sleet ! Maybe I should have followed your example and not come back :-)

  • icunme's Profile Photo
    Nov 5, 2006 at 3:56 PM

    Enjoyed these pages. Great dolphin photos - I'd go here just to see them.

  • alucas's Profile Photo
    Oct 1, 2006 at 11:25 AM

    Ah, the famous floating rubbish station !

  • thedouglas's Profile Photo
    Sep 20, 2006 at 3:01 PM

    Looks gorgeous - place for a great chillout holiday!

  • Anchovy56's Profile Photo
    Mar 9, 2006 at 12:54 PM

    His another...Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads....


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