A Travellerspoint blog

Great Barrier Island

sunny 22 °C

We just got back from a short stay on Great Barrier Island. As we only had three days we decided to take the 30 minute flight rather than the 4 ½ hour ferry to get to the island. Our plane was tiny, with just 8 passengers on board! Just 48 hours before we flew, there had been the tail end of a cyclone and all flights had been cancelled due to 140km winds and torrential rain. Fortunately for us Saturday morning was a beautiful, sunny, calm day. We enjoyed the views as we flew over Brown’s Island, Rangitoto and Waiheke.
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Before we knew it we were back on land, we jumped into our hire car and headed a couple of kms down the road to Mount St Paul Estate – our accommodation for the next 2 nights. We were warmly welcomed by the owners, Chris and Teara, and shown to our room with stunning views over the ocean.
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We dumped our bags and hit the road, keen to explore as much of the island as possible. We headed to Tryphena, had a spot of breakfast and then drove to a few look out points in the area.
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With nice full stomachs we decided to head to the north of the island to do a bit of caching. We headed as far north as you can possibly drive to find a cache located at the mass grave site of the shipwreck SS Wairarapa. The beach that we walked along to reach the site was beautiful and very empty! GBI only has a population of 850 which translates to about 3 people per square km. It is very easy to find a bit of peace and quiet on the island.
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Everywhere we drove I kept making Gerald pull over so I could take photos, every turn produced another stunning view!
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Our next stop was for an ice cream at Port Fitzroy Harbour – another very pretty spot.
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Feeling a bit tired after our early morning start we decided to head back. Teara prepared our 3 course meal as we relaxed and watched the sunset.
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Dinner was lamb skewers for entrée, wild boar ragu for our main and then panna cotta for dessert. Delicious!

The next morning, after a full English breakfast, we headed north again, this time to climb to the summit of the island’s tallest peak, Mt Hobson at 2,037 ft above sea level. We set off and followed the track through rainforest and across the ridge of the aptly named Windy Canyon.
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The final ascent to the summit was by a steep wooden staircase built over the nesting grounds of the Black Petrel. We read somewhere that there were well over 1000 steps to reach the summit. We were greeted at the top of the Mount with some amazing views over the island and signed the logbook of another one of the 8 geocaches hidden on the island.
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We had some lunch in Claris and we were going to explore Whangaparapara when the rain arrived so we decided to go back to our accommodation.
Teara spoilt us again at dinner that night with wild boar and apple spring rolls, chicken and bacon risotto and the most divine chocolate brownie I have ever had the pleasure of eating!

Our final day on GBI came around quickly, we got up fairly early and drove to Whangaparapara. We did a short walk to Kauri Falls, a pretty little spot.
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We found a cache nearby the jetty and then we drove to Okupu to Blind Bay.
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The windy road to Blind Bay provided us with lots of stunning views so once again the camera came out!
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We had a quick stop in a reserve to climb an 800 year old pohutukawa tree to find the last cache that we knew was hidden on the island.
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That left just enough time for a nice stroll along Medlands Beach before heading to the airport for our flight home. Another beautiful day for a flight home and we flew pretty much straight over our house!
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As I have been writing this I realised that I have not written a blog for about 3 months! The 11 week school term was a hectic one and I was very ready for the holidays. As usual weekends have been busy – we have had several theatre visits, saw Bruno Mars at Vector Arena, took part in the Mad Max themed Cannonball Run (a great day driving around Auckland trying to complete all the missions!). We went to Elvis in the Gardens with the Hills and then met up with them again recently to see Billy Connolly live. One blissful day was spent at a couples spa retreat and a memorable Saturday afternoon was spent taking part in the Sky Tower’s Skywalk, a great experience.
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That’s a super brief run down!

Posted by bumblebum 16:52 Archived in New Zealand

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