38 Medland Road, Great Barrier Island, NZ
More about Great Barrier Island
The "boys" in socks
Bathouse and outside shower
Old ships anchor on the lawn in front of the Lodge
Dave on Needle Rock Overlooking the Coast
Travel Tips for Great Barrier Island
Keep the Barrier clean and green!
Great Barrier Island is, as I have said, sparsely populated with few roads, dense bush, and is surrounded by crystal clear waters. Both the island and the surrounding waters are home to lots of wildlife, including some endangered species, so it is important to protect the special environment here. Take care to guard against fire, especially during hot, dry weather, and take any rubbish away with you.
The island makes it easy for campers and boaties to deal with their rubbish, by providing good facilities, including recycling facilities, at Port Fitzroy, and over the Christmas/Summer holiday period, there is even a floating rubbish station for passing boaties at the entrance to Fitzroy harbour. So, no excuses!
Popular Pet Choice for Kiwis
At my first New Zealand farmstay (Carmel Farms in Pio Pio) my Kiwi friend Barbara showed me her pet Donkeys. The beautiful animals had found some shade under a big tree on some rolling green hills so common in the beautiful Waikato Region. A few years later when I arrived at Jan & Murrays Great Barrier Island home, I discovered they also had 2 pet donkeys. The "boys" lived in a donkey house with what real estate ads call "location location location". I know a lot of PEOPLE who would like to have a backyard like that,I know I would lol.
American farmers sometimes use donkeys to protect sheep and cows from predatory animals. In New Zealand they have no predatory animals so that is not necessary. Sometimes donkeys are put in shows or used to pull carriages but most commonly, in New Zealand they are just a popular choice for pets and not used for labor.
Note: The Donkey & Mule Society of New Zealand has some cute pictures on it's webpage below.
Catch a Wave at Medlands Beach
Medlands Beach is located on the eastern coast of Great Barrier Island. The Island forms a barrier between Aucklands Hauraki Gulf and the open sea, creating a awesome break on it's eastern shores. With it's pristine white sand and good surf, Medlands Beach is a favorite for surfies (surfers).
I first saw Medlands Beach and Sugarloaf (the 2 mounds) from the window of my plane right after a rain when the sun was just starting to burn through. The main picture was taken a from a top Sugar Loaf on a clear day when the waves were small and the water was glassy. Rain or shine, whether the surfs up or not , this beautiful white sand beach is not to be missed.
Explore Great Barrier Island by Boat
Great Barrier Island has an abundance of beautiful bays and harbours to explore by boat . You can take a charter tour, or hire (rent) small boats at Okiwi, Tryphena and Port Fitzroy Harbours And you can dock or launch boats from ramps at Whangaparara, Okapu and Medands. Go fishing , diving or my favorite,just explore the coastline by boat.
Cycling on GBI
Take your montain bikes on Sealink (Subritsky) ex Wynward Wharf in Auckland to Port Fitzroy on GBI. Stay at Fitzroy or nearby (Orama Holiday Park has selection of cabins and chalets - bit untidy, but clean - lovely; right on harbour's edge) and check out beautiful West coast - we hired a double ocean kayak and spent half day checking out islands (there are lots!) and remote beaches; rock formations: caves. Just perfect! Then a couple of days later, bike over steeeeeep hill (gravelled road makes it even harder!) east towards ocean beaches. These beaches too are lovely, but are white sand with rolling surf. We stayed at Palmer's beach (good self-contained chalet at expensive $175 NZD for the night), but you could choose Medlands, which is a bit south. Stay a night or two, then head via Claris (main airport here), Medlands then to Tryphena to meet boat out.
As an alternative, there is a forest track through DOC-administered land between Fitz and Whangaparapara, which is about half way between Fitz and Tryphena. We took the roads instead. Incidentially, weather was just perfect and we went late Nov (last week!) and there are next-to-no tourists thus virtually no traffic. During Xmas hols, population swells from 1500 to 15000!
Reason for boat (which is actually daily car/freight ferry) is that planes can't guarantee taking bikes. But you can hire them from a couple of places right beside Claris Airport. Boat takes nearly 5 hours to get to Tryphena then stops there for about 3 hours before heading to Fitzroy - another couple of hours); goes AKL>TRY>FITZ, but easier to go back to AKL from TRY (I think only 1 boat/wk from FITZ) - check www.sealink.co.nz. You can leave your car at Auckland Fishmarket right across road from Wynward Wharf for about $35/week.
A great 4 days!! And I lost weight too! with all the cycling, which is quite hard with the hilly terrain. But fantastic experience for my wife and I. Highly recommended. Next cycle trip for us is Rail Trail in Otago early next year!