"Yachties Paradise" Great Barrier Island by Dodo22
Great Barrier Island Travel Guide: 32 reviews and 50 photos
Great Barrier Island lies about 100km northeast of Auckland on the outside edge of the Hauraki Gulf. Known as Aotea it is the largest island off the North Island of New Zealand.
More than 60 percent of the island is public land administered by the Department of Conservation. There are a huge range of short walking tracks and longer tramping tracks, a few several campsites and huts, mountain bike routes, and many natural and historic features to explore including kauri dams left over from the timber milling industry back in the mid 1920’s.
About 1300 people live permanently on the island but this number is swelled over the summer with an influx of boaties and trampers.
One of the island's best known places for boaties is SmokeHouse Bay. Nothing can be better after a few days walking, sailing or fishing when you pull in here, wash the clothes and yourself - shown here the picturesque wash tubs and washing lines (the bases of which are under water at very high tides). There was a flood several years ago which wiped out most of the facilities, but with the generous donations of both goods, materials and time, everything has been rebuilt. There is a new bathhouse plus an outdoor shower, plus new and improved smoke houses to smoke your freshly caught fish. Its a great place to take the dinghy ashore and catch up with people whilst waiting for the washing to dry.
Great Barrier Island is the largest offshore island near Auckland and is a must for boaties, trampers and people who enjoy the outdoors. You can fly or take the ferry and there is now a whole range of accommodation from backpackers lodges to boutique, upmarket accommodation.
Not to be missed is the Mussell Festival, traditionally held around the 10th of January this is a not to be missed occassion. Its held in the clubrooms at Fitzory and can get very crowded. If coming in by yacht its important to get there early to get a good anchorage.
Depending on the weather some of the bays towards the south end of Barrier are well worth a visit - Whangaparapara has a great lodge at the head of the bay which you can visit for lunch and a beer. The lodge provides accommodaton (I haven't stayed here as yet) which provides a good base for the Dept of Convservation Walks on the island.
This site provides background information on the walks on the island, preparation etc - it also links to all other Dept of Conversation sites around NZ.
Dept of Conversation
- Pros:Virtually unspoilt, gorgeous scenery
- Cons:Crowded in the peak boating season
- In a nutshell:Can't be beaten
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