Great Barrier Island is the greens of the native bush, and the blues of crystal clear water with long white sandy surf beaches, rock fishing spots, hot pools to laze in, and safe anchorages the reds of Pohutukawa flowering in the summer. You wake up in the morning to the whistle of the Kaka as they fly overhead, the song of the Tui as they feed on the Flax nectar and the fantail, native pigeons and kingfisher as they go about their daily business. As you drive through the island you will see our rare and very endangered Brown Teal in the streams and along the edge of the sea in Tryphena. On the east coast surf beaches you may see the tiny dotterel guarding it’s nest or the oystercatchers running with their beak to the ground as they try to entice you away from their nests. At night you may hear the call of the tiny fairy penguin as it nests under houses or under logs in the bush sounding like a ghost in the night. If you are very lucky you may hear the Ke ke ke ke….call of the Black Petrel as it flies home to its nest in the hills on the island.
Click to view Accommodation in Awana
Awana is a popular swimming and surfing beach (non patrolled), situated on the east coast of Great Barrier Island approx. 15 minutes from Claris Airfield and Claris Complex (nearest shops) and approx. 40 minutes from Port FitzRoy shop. It is an important nesting area for our rare and endangered Brown Teal and Dotterel with Oystercatchers and Fairy Penguins also nesting in the area. (Dogs need to be well controlled and are not allowed on the beach without a lead.) If you look carefully, you can be assured of seeing some, if not all, of these birds on or around the Awana area. The area is close to a number of good walking tracks and there is a Department of Conservation campground at the northern end of the beach. There is a small cluster of holiday homes near the beach. Fishing is good around the rocks at both ends of the beach.
Click to view Accommodation in Medlands
Medlands is the most popular swimming and surfing beach (non patrolled) on the east coast of Great Barrier Island and is situated approx. 15 minutes from Claris airfield and local shops and approximately 15 minutes from Tryphena. In the summer Dotterel and Oystercatchers nest on the foreshore and Brown Teal can be seen on or around the river at the southern end of the beach and in the swamp areas. There are no shops but there are good toilets and a telephone box at the car park in the middle of the beach. There is a children’s playground on Sandhills road (southern end). Memory rock is in the middle of the beach and is a good fishing spot and there is a natural swimming pool in the rocks on the seaward side. Holiday houses span the beach behind the sand dunes the length of the beach and in the summer a crowd on Medlands is still only about 30 people.
Click to view Accommodation in Kaitoke
Kaitoke Beach is the longest white sandy surf and swimming beach (non patrolled)on Great Barrier Island. Access onto the beach is from Ocean View Road and also at the southern end of the beach. Around the rocks on the southern end of beach is a wonderful rock pool known as the “Mermaid pool” where people can swim. There is good fishing and diving from the rocks and at low tide you can walk onto the island just off the beach. Dotterel and Oystercatchers nest on the foreshore and Brown Teal can be seen in the rivers at both ends of the beach. It is imperative that people keep their dogs on leads on this beach. The river at the northern end of the beach is great for Kayaking.
Click to view Accommodation in Okupu
Blind Bay is situated 6 kms from Claris on the Okupu Road (turn left at the “cross roads”). There is access to the beach at the bottom of the hill and the wharf is at the very end of the road which goes around the bay. To the left of the bay there is a nice walk around the foreshore to a vineyard and at the top of the hill before your go down towards the beach there is a track that takes you to Te Ahumata (White Cliffs) Blind Bay is a main residential area. There are no shops.
Click to view Accommodation in Tryphena
Situated on the south west coast of Great Barrier Island, Tryphena harbour is the main population area on the island. There are two beautiful white safe sandy tidal beaches (Gooseberry Flat and Mulberry Grove). These two beaches are great for families with small children. The facilities in the area are excellent with two grocery shops – Stonewall Store and Mulberry Grove Store, post office, gift shop, Wild Rose Cafe, laundromat, hire cars, gas supplies, an Irish pub, Backpackers, Bed and Breakfasts, motel, and self contained accommodation, a pottery studio at Shoal Bay, wood working studio and gallery at Schooner Bay, Barrier Social Club, Tennis court, Hall, and Primary school. The main wharf for the island is situated at the southern end of the harbour and there is safe anchorage at Shoal Bay near the wharf. Petrol can be purchased at the Mulberry Grove Store and liquor can be purchased at both Mulberry Grove and Stonewall Stores.
Click to view Accommodation in North Barrier
Port FitzRoy harbour is a large sheltered harbour popular with boaties. There are a number of large mussel farms and at the wharf water and petrol are available. During the summer there is a local burger bar at the wharf. The Port FitzRoy Store is situated just up the hill from the wharf where you can purchase alcohol, stamps and groceries. There is a travel centre, library and the local health team have a clinic every Wednesday at the nurses cottage. The Port FitzRoy Boating club is further up the hill from the shop and is open for meals. The population is small in this area and many people are very isolated so travel to the wharf by boat for supplies, schooling, etc.
Click to view Accommodation in Claris
Claris is situated in the centre of the Island approx 10 kilometers from the Tryphena wharf and is the main service centre for the island. The Claris airfield is here and the Auckland Council island office can be found near the airport. There is a health centre with doctor and nurses, community worker, museum, art gallery, dentist, chemist, laundromat, petrol, café, bottle shop, tyre bay, garage and grocery shop in this area. The police station is just up the road from the main business centre. There is a social club and a 9 hole golf club on the road to Whangaparapara and the Thai restaurant is on the Port FitzRoy and Awana road (turn left at the “Crossroads”).
Click to view Accommodation in Whangaparapara
Situated in the middle of the island on the west coast of the island Whangaparapara has a very small population and is considered relatively isolated by the locals. There is a lodge with a small shop, wharf and where you can purchase petrol. The harbour is sheltered from most winds and this area is one of the entrances to the Natural Forest area of Hirakimata (Mt. Hobson) and the hot springs. On the road to Whangaparapara you will pass the old stamping battery from the gold mining days, the main entrance to the hot springs and at the top of the road the track to Te Ahumata (White Cliffs). Fishing is good in this harbour.
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