Great Barrier Island Travel Guide

  • Great Barrier Island
    by John195123
  • Enroute
    Enroute
    by John195123
  • Things to Do
    by John195123

Great Barrier Island Things to Do

  • Great Barrier Island from Above

    These pictures were taken from the westside flying into Great Barrier Island. The beautiful aqua bays surrounded by lush green bush clad hills were stunning from this birdseye view.

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  • Walking

    With most of the island run by the Department of Conservation, there is a lot of "wilderness" to travel through, and once at the top, some wonderful views. There is an excellent number of tracks across most of the island, the heads of which are accessible either by road, or by water. Don't leave the island without climbing up to a ridge on a fine...

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  • Mussel Festival

    If you are going to be on Great Barrier Island in January the Great Fitzroy Mussel Fest is not to be missed. I believe that it is New Zealand's only mussel festival and is held around 10 January. Port Fitzroy mussels are harvested fresh from the sea and are cooked in a variety of ways from hot off the barbecue to seafood chowder and smoked or even...

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  • Waterfall Walk

    Another walk, this time an easy one, is up to the waterfall. Mostly flat, there is some walking across rocks on a couple of the stream crossings. There are a number of water holes for swimming on the way up, otherwise save yourself for the main pool. We were here this Jan 2011 and there hadn't been much rain so the waterfall was a shadow of its...

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  • Cool off

    You must try some of the walks on Great Barrier, a number are accessible from the various bays around Port Fitzroy, a very sheltered part of the island on the western coast which is protected from the elements by Kaikoura Island.If its a hot day and you don't feel like a walk uphill, explore some of the streams - lots of nikau palms in some areas

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  • Take a Bath

    A real favourite with boaties, particularly yachties who don't have much water to carry around for showers, is to stop off at Smokehouse Bay and have a bath. The bathwater is heated by a stove which you feed with wood you have chopped yourself (its considered bad form to use the wood and not replace it). Nothing better to start or finish the day....

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  • Walk/Climb to the Kauri Dam

    One of the more worthwhile walks is up to the well preserved remains of one of the Kauri Dams. It is approximately a two hour walk (depending on fitness) from the Kaiaraara Track and a bit longer if you enter from Bush’s Beach. We anchored in the bay and took our dinghy to the beach and walked from there. At Bushes Beach there is the remains of a...

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  • Bathtime

    A real favourite with boaties, particularly yachties who don't have much water to carry around for showers, is to stop off at Smokehouse Bay and have a bath. The bathwater is heated by a stove which you feed with wood you have chopped yourself (its considered bad form to use the wood and not replace it). Nothing better to start or finish the day....

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  • Ghost Bay

    Ghost Bay is a popular spot that boats and yachts aim for for the night, as it is generally calm and quiet. A gently curving bay, the pohutakawa trees reach down to the high tide mark. The bush is home to lots of bird life, and so my early morning swim was to the sound of kingfishers, bellbirds and tuis. I'm not sure about the naming of the place,...

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  • Port Fitzroy Mussell Fest

    Port Fitzroy hosts an annual celebration of the mussell. There are a number of mussell farms around the Barrier, and this is a great opportunity to experience them in different ways, fresh from the water.The mussels on offer are the large, succulent Greenlip Mussel, and the waters around Gt Barrier are clean and clear, which makes for very tasty...

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  • 'Smoke and Soak at Websters...

    Kindly provided by the late Eric Webster (so the sign says) are the excellent goodwill facilities at Smokehouse Bay. Smokehouses to smoke your fish (you just bring the wood - there is usually a supply but it is considered polite to replace what you use), a bath-house with a firebox to heat the water, ('rustic', shall we say...!) barbeques etc....

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  • Porpoises, dolphins and whales.

    The waters around Great Barrier are a great place to watch porpoises and dolphins feed and play, and further out, there are whales and orcas.During my last trip to the barrier, we were lucky enough to see so much marine wildlife, and enjoyed a school of dolphins playing around our boat for a good half an hour. They were so playful, and it was great...

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Great Barrier Island Hotels

Great Barrier Island Restaurants

  • Dodo22's Profile Photo
    Smoke House

    by Dodo22 Written Feb 11, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This one is a little outside the square, but can't be beaten.

    After a great day's fishing, stop off at Smokehouse Bay, stoke up the fire and smoke your catch. Its a strictly "Cut your own wood" type of place, but the company is great and the views superb.

    Favorite Dish: Fresh catch of the day......

    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Beaches
    • Fishing

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Great Barrier Island Nightlife

  • allikat's Profile Photo
    Marcus (Skipper!), me & Murray

    by allikat Updated Jan 7, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The best plan is to get to Smokehouse Bay early (assuming you have been lucky enough to catch some fish, maybe a nice big snapper!), start smoking your fish and heating the firebox for a bath. Then go catch some more fish while this is happening and return later to enjoy. There are bound to be a few others doing the same, and they are almost guaranteed to be on the same wavelength as you. Enjoy your food, have a bath, and just chill out under the trees by the water. This is what 'nightlife' is really about!!

    UPDATE 2006 ~ We visited for New Year 05/06 and found that a recent landslip has obliterated most of the facilities at Smokehouse Bay :-( Caused by heavy rain, the mud has destroyed the smokehouse and most of the bath house. All the barbeques are gone, although the mangles and washing line are still there. As is the tree swing, although you'd scrape your butt on the mud if you took a turn. I believe a working bee is being organised sometime soon to clear the site and rebuild the smokehouse - as this is such a pouplar spot with visiting boats it wouldn't surprise me to hear there are many willing volunteers. I will keep you posted.

    Dress Code: Whatever you're wearing!

    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Fishing
    • Food and Dining

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Great Barrier Island Transportation

Great Barrier Island Shopping

  • Barrier Gold for fine Kanuka Products

    Barrier Gold at Port Fitzroy is a small operation that harvests Kanuka leaves by hand, extracts & distills the oil for use in a variety of medicinal and cosmetic products.Kanuka (similar to tea tree) oil is known for being both a fungicidal & anti-bacterial .

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  • You want it - they got it (probably)

    This is the Great Barrier main store. It stocks groceries, beer & wine, fishing bait, papers, etc and does a brisk trade in knowing whats going on on the island. If it happens to be closed, there will be a sign instructing you to 'toot' or knock at the house next door. What makes it so special? It's there! Probably salt & brown sugar for smoking...

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Great Barrier Island Warnings and Dangers

  • Beware of Giardia, boil water to be safe...

    There is no reticulated water on Great Barrier Island. Bottled water is available at many shops, but that can be costly. Due to the presence of Giardia in waterways you should boil all collected water or use a filter or purification tablets.

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  • Cash Needed

    This is not so much a warning as a heads up. Be sure to have enough cash BEFORE boarding a boat or plane off the mainland. There are NO banks or ATM (Automatic Teller Machines) on Great Barrier Island. Some shops have EFTPOS (Electronic Fund Transfer at Point of Sale) machines and except credit cards. But it's still a good idea to have cash on hand...

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Great Barrier Island Off The Beaten Path

  • A Beautiful Waterfall on Great Barrier...

    The falls are the Kauri Falls, which are about two miles from Whangaparapara (bay of many mud flats). The photo does not really show them well as the falls are about 30 ft high.

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  • 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...

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  • Great Barrier Island Hotels

    3 Hotels in Great Barrier Island

    50 Reviews and Opinions

Great Barrier Island Sports & Outdoors

  • 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).

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  • 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,etc.

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  • Kayaking and snorkelling

    The kayaking people in Tryphena are really friendly and fun. You can go out on your own or (as I did) go out in a double with the guide. I went with Jane, a cheery, chatty Canadian who is running the place and I really enjoyed it. I also hired a wetsuit and snorkel for a couple of days from them.Also on the other side of the island if you go past...

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Great Barrier Island Favorites

  • A Kereru in the bush outside my window

    These rare and indangered wood pigeons are called Kererus.The following web site has some better quality pictures of the Kereru and more information: http://www.tiritirimatangi.org.nz/Fauna/PigeonNZ.htm]

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  • Friendly info for free!

    The local tourist information office is only open during the summer months, generally from around Christmas and staying open for approximately 3 months or so, depending largely on how busy the season is. You can get information on accommodation, where to rent a car, walks, wildlife and more. And you can buy a Great Barrier Island tee shirt too!...

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  • 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...

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Explore Deeper into Great Barrier Island
Go dive. Go snorkel.
Sports & Outdoors
Heavenly long drop.
Things to Do
Native bush.
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Sven and Barrier Gold
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A haven for wild life.
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Map of Great Barrier Island

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