Aotea Great Barrier Island has been awarded International Dark Sky Sanctuary status by the International Dark-Sky Association, making it the first island in the world to achieve this status. Read more here...
Great Barrier Island Locals Slammed By Eco Tourism Operator Read more...

Popular Destinations

View all
  • Favorite


    Great Barrier Island Aotea was (re)discovered by Captain James Cook in 1769 and is 90km NE of Auckland, New Zealand. It was given this name by Cook as it provides a protective barrier for the entrance to the Hauraki Gulf from the South Pacific Ocean. Great Barrier Island is the first island in the wo Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Awana Bay

    Awana is a popular swimming and surfing beach on the east coast of Great Barrier Island. It is an important nesting ground for the endangered Brown Teal and Dotterel. A Department Of Conservation camp ground is situated at the northern end of Awana Bay.

  • Favorite

    Harataonga Bay

    Harataonga Bay on the east coast is one of the most spectacular locations on Great Barrier Island and an ideal spot for camping. Well maintained campgrounds and amenities are provided by The Department of Conservation. The BBC chose Harataonga Bay as the location for the Castaway series.

  • Favorite

    Kaitoke Beach

    Kaitoke Beach is a long sandy bay stretching from the Sugar Loaf headlands at the southern end to the Kaitoke Stream and Swamp in the north. Another popular surf spot with consistent surf all year round. Left and right hand waves, rarely crowded. Beware of rips & sharks. The Aotea Board Riders C Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Katherine Bay

    Katherine Bay has two Māori marae (meeting house) at Kawa and Motairehe. The Marae are surrounded by the last remaining lands of the Ngati Rehua tribe on Aotea Great Barrier Island. It was the Ngati Rehua people that assisted with the rescue of survivors and recovery of bodies when the SS Wairarapa r Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Medlands Beach

    Medlands Beach, Oruawharo Bay is the closest surf beach to Tryphena. It is separated from Kaitoke Beach by the Sugar Loaf headlands at the northern end. It has a fairly exposed beach break and offers reliable surf conditions at almost any time of the year. Good quality left and right hand waves and g Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Palmers Beach

    Palmers Beach is another popular Great Barrier Island east coast surf beach just north of Kaitoke.

  • Favorite

    Port Fitzroy

    Port Fitzroy has long been a favourite destination for yachties as it offers shelter in almost all weather conditions. Kaikoura Island, a nature reserve, guards the entrance to both Port Fitzroy and Port Abercrombie. Aquaculture is prevalent in these sheltered waters and the popular Great Read more [...]

  • Favorite


    Tryphena Bay takes its name from the brig “Tryphena” which made several visits to Great Barrier Island between 1841 and 1845. Before this it was known by the early European settlers as Port Tofino. In earlier times it was the site of a Māori pa (fortified village). Tryphena is one of the Read more [...]

  • Favorite


    Whangaparapara was in industrial centre on Great Barrier Island for mining, timber milling and whaling. Gold and silver were discovered in the late 1800’s. The Oreville stamping (ore crushing) battery is still a prominent landmark on the Whangaparapara Road. The Kauri Timber Company sawmill was Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Whangapoua Beach

    Whangapoua Beach is on the east coast of Great Barrier Island. It is a popular surf spot and also an important conservation area. At the head of the Whangapoua Estuary is the settlement of Okiwi which has a small airfield, from the beach Rakitu Island is clearly visible. A Department Of Conservation Read more [...]

  • Favorite

    Windy Canyon

    Windy Canyon is a volcanic rock formation located in the centre east of the island that offers spectacular views of Okiwi to the north and Awana to the south. The canyon is less than 200 m below the summit of Mount Hobson (Māori: Hirakimata)the highest point of the island at 621m above sea level. Pal Read more [...]