Best adventure on Great Barrier Island
Located in the crystal clear waters of the Hauraki Gulf, Great Barrier Island is the ideal getaway from the hustle and bustle of Auckland city. Boasting more than 100km of walking tracks, pristine beaches, incredible scenery and a permanent population of just under 1000 people, this island has plenty of adventure to offer the active explorer. In addition to touring the beaches visitors can hike, dive, surf, fish, mountain bike, kayak, paddleboard and even golf, providing an exceptional natural retreat from busy everyday life. We’ve rounded up five of the best outdoor options for anyone visiting Great Barrier Island and hope you enjoy!
- Take a five day wilderness tour with Auckland Sea Kayaks
For sea kayakers the stunning natural beauty of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park is best preserved on Great Barrier Island. Our tour is designed for kayakers with paddling experience who want to explore the tranquil and well-preserved landscape of the island by travelling the coast in a sea kayak. Sea kayaking around Great Barrier Island is as good as it gets for sea kayakers. The five day trip boasts golden beaches, clear ocean waters and many native forests to be explored with an experienced guide and a fully catered adventure. Auckland Sea Kayaks provides only the highest quality single or double sea kayaks, all made right here in New Zealand. All boat/ferry transfers from Auckland City to the Barrier and return, hotel pickups if required, camping, kayaking equipment, permits and catering (dietary requirements are no problems) are included in the price.
In 2000 the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park, New Zealand’s first national park of the sea, was founded in order to preserve the treasured living space connected people and places, the land and the sea. It covers more than one million hectares of sheltered, sparkling blue waters, dotted with emerald islands such as Great Barrier. We would love to paddle with you in this amazing and unique location and urge you to check out more information regarding our Great Barrier trip here.
- Tramp and walk along the scenic Aotea Track
This 25km track loops through the central mountainous region of the island and can be traversed in three days by hikers with some experience. The track’s two huts allow for well-timed 3 to 4 hour tramps over the course of the three day walk and come equipped with beds and cooking facilities. Campgrounds near the entrances of the track offer a convenient place to stay the night before or after your scenic three day hike, which meanders through a wide variety of landscapes such as streams, wetlands, surviving kauri, rimu and kahikatea forests and coastal views. Experience the Kaitoke Hot Springs, Windy Canyon lookout and the Kaiaraara driving dam along the island’s central ridge.
Just be sure to check the Department of Conservation website for the most up to date information about track conditions, be sure to inform others of your plans before setting out on your trip, reserve campgrounds and hut beds in advance and always practice leave no trace sustainability practices. For more information about the Aotea Track check out this detailed brochure from the Department of Conservation.
- Charter a fishing boat and set sail
The fishing off of Great Barrier Island is like nowhere else; get a piece of the action by hiring a fishing boat and work for your dinner on the open seas. Experience an unforgettable day fishing for the island’s renowned snapper and see the big fish of the Hauraki Gulf like never before. A number of experienced skippers offer services for fishing boat charters as well as diving experiences for those who want to get up close and personal with the fish in their natural habitat. Fishing off of the island is a great experience for large and small groups alike and is sure to be an incredible time for all. So what are you waiting for? Go out and catch a 20 lb snapper for yourself! Below are a list of companies that charter fishing boats from Great Barrier Island. Many also offer diving experiences with trained professional guides for those who want to see the fish rather than catch them.
- Climb the rocks for a spectacular view
Hillary Outdoors Education Center on Great Barrier Island offers a number of incredible outdoor adventure experiences, particularly their half day and full day rock climbing instructional trips which offer valuable rock climbing education and afford incredible views of the bay below. Both experienced and novice climbers alike can enjoy a trip up the rocks to enjoy the lovely view. For those less interested in climbing and more interesting in taking in the sights, Hillary’s Via Ferrata cableway travels over the top of the Three Kings Pinnacles, providing a safe and less strenuous way to access the views from the top of the climb. Bush adventures and steep creeking trips through Hillary are another way to get up close and personal with the scenery on Great Barrier Island and are definitely worth checking out if heights aren’t your thing!
- Go back to school and learn to surf
Get in on the amazing Auckland surfing experience by learning how to surf on the Great Barrier Island coast at Medlands Beach. The experienced guides at the Aotea Surf School have been working for four years to offer a one-of-a-kind surfing experience to Great Barrier Island visitors. Experienced guides offer lessons in surfing for beginners, intermediate and even advanced surfers, making this an activity suited for anyone, regardless of how much time they have spent on the water. After your surfing adventure the view of the sunset is spectacular from the beaches on Great Barrier Island, so just relax and enjoy the view.