For thousands of years it has sheltered the gulf from the relentless swells of the Pacific Ocean, creating a boating paradise.
The eastern shore of Great Barrier Island faces the ocean with high cliffs and long white surf beaches; the western side offers deep sheltered harbours and calm sandy bays.
More than 60 per cent of the island's 285 square kilometres is public land administered by the Department of Conservation. The native forest is laced with beautiful walking tracks, which lead to secluded natural hot springs and an historic Kauri dam. These wilderness areas, foreshores and estuaries are home to several unique plant and bird species. Rising 627 metres above the sea, Hirakimata (Mount Hobson) beckons the hiker with a promise of 360 degree views that will never leave the mind.
Great Barrier Island is a popular destination for diving, fishing, surfing, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking and camping. Accommodation options range from tent sites to luxury eco lodges. The 90 kilometre journey from Auckland city takes about 3.5 hours by fast ferry or you can catch a 30 minute flight.
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