5 Things You Must Do When Visiting Great Barrier Island

Have you ever wanted to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city into a remote natural paradise? Great Barrier Island may only be 90 kilometers from Auckland City, but you would not believe how different the two are. The island is complete with lush forests, waterfalls and white sandy beaches, truly a unique paradise in New Zealand.

With easy access by ferry (4.5 hours) or light aircraft (30 minutes), Great Barrier Island is the perfect getaway destination. There is a huge range of activities to enjoy so you can be sure that your trip will be memorable rain or shine.

Read on to discover 5 of the top activities to get involved with when visiting this beautiful island.

The Ultimate Island Tour

You can’t visit Great Barrier Island without embarking on a boat trip tour.

This trip will take you around the many sights that make this island a natural paradise.  As you navigate around the island’s perimeter, you’ll see the variety of beaches, bays, and sites that really make this region stunning.

You’ll even get a chance to venture through the captivating Man-O-War passage and experience the Broken Islands. Your crew will ensure that you get a full appreciation of the beauty of these sites as you navigate the coastline.

The trip embarks from Whangaparapara Wharf and on the trip, you will travel onboard the Sundance, an 11.2 meter Marlborough 38 design motor launch. With a capacity of around 20 people, it makes it perfect for relaxed and comfortable passenger charters.

Lunch is available onboard and your personal tour guide will offer interesting commentary throughout the trip.

Make sure you look out for dolphins on your journey as well. They can often be spotted around the bow!

Bushwalks and Tramping

If you enjoy walking or tramping, Great Barrier Island is the place for you! There are over 20 tracks and trails meaning you’ll be spoilt for choice.

The 100 kilometers of bushwalks on the island range across an extent of abilities so you can easily pick a walk to suit your needs.

The venture to the top of the Windy Canyon is a popular choice for visitors – it doesn’t take long at all and the views are absolutely stunning. On the other hand, if you’re feeling up for the challenge, the ‘Over The Top’ Mt. Hobson marathon is quite popular. You might want to spare 6 hrs though; it’s the highest mountain in the region!

As you venture throughout the tracks, you’ll experience beautiful natural features from hot springs to waterfalls. There is a huge sense of peace being surrounded by the peaceful tranquility of the forest canopy.

Look out for the track drop-off and pick-up service as well! This conveniently allows you to enjoy the walks without the hassle of having to organize transport.

Fishing and Dive Charters

Great Barrier Island is the ideal location if you’re into fishing/diving. With multiple charter operators on the island, you’ll have the opportunity to venture out with experienced guides.

Whether you’re looking for a whole day activity or a casual half-day trip, there is a range of local operators to best suit your plans. They’ll provide all the equipment and expertise you need and are determined to ensure you have a fantastic trip. Hooked on Barrier is a quality provider of this.

As you cruise around the island’s scouting the best fishing spots, you’ll again be treated with the beautiful scenery of the region.

Horse Trek

A horse trek will offer you a great opportunity to relax and explore the region. No matter your ability – whether you’re an experienced rider or complete beginner – this is the perfect place to engage in a guided trek.

A horse trek on the island will take you across the stunning terrain from beaches to bushes and really give you an appreciation of the beauty of the island.

Kaitoke Hot Springs

Great Barrier Island is blessed with multiple natural hot springs. Kaitoke Hot Springs, in particular, can be accessed with a short walk and is the perfect location to relax and unwind.

The return walk time works out to be around 80 minutes and is suitable for all age groups and a range of fitness abilities. You’ll be treated with mountain views and stunning scenery topped off with the reward of the relaxing hot springs at the end of this journey.


As you can see, Great Barrier Island is an ideal location for a relaxing getaway. The range of activities, from a boat trip to hiking and swimming, meaning you will be treated for choice in what to do. It is no wonder that this location is a top destination for visitors to the Auckland region.

The island can be accessed from Auckland by plane and boat and is a must-do location in most New Zealand Vacations itineraries.

About the Author:

Rachel Pacamara a freelance writer and journalist who specializes in covering travel aspirations and destinations. With a passion for food, travel and Tech, Rach loves to help small exciting technology teams that have a social impact on the world and have something worthy of sharing.


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