Great Barrier Island is the fourth largest of New Zealand’s islands, and is located a short boat journey from the northern city of Auckland, with only a small population actually living on the island. The island was originally used to mine copper, silver and gold, as well as the extensive logging of the kauri trees that grew on the island, although today the small economy is largely made up of agriculture and tourism. Today the interior of the island is largely preserved as a nature reserve, and many of the visitors come to enjoy the wonderful scenery and wildlife that can be found on the island.
Climb Mount Hobson
The highest point on Great Barrier Island is this mountain which rises to over six hundred meters above sea level at the heart of the island. There are several trails that allow visitors the opportunity to climb to the peak, and because of the rare plant and animal species such as the Black Petrel that breed around the peak of Mount Hobson, many of the trails traverse some areas by boardwalk to help protect these breeding grounds. The shortest route to the peak is through the stunning Windy Canyon, with high forested cliffs rising above both sides of the path, and the two hour walk to Mount Hobson’s peak is rewarded by spectacular panoramic views around the island, and it is also possible to see nearby islands too.
Visit The Glenfern Sanctuary
One of the main reasons that Great Barrier Island is such an important natural site in New Zealand is that it has been kept free of the pest animals such as possums and brown rats, which has allowed the native animals to thrive where they have been reduced in many other parts of the country. The Glenfern Sanctuary is made up of over two hundred and fifty hectares that is protected by an animal proof fence that allows the natural species to thrive. Among the rare species that are protected from predators within the sanctuary include the Brown Teal, the Black Petrel and also the Chevron Skink.
Enjoy The Kaitoke Hot Springs
The Kaitoke Hot Springs are among the most popular places on Great Barrier Island to visit, and can be accessed on foot by a well maintained path from the trail head at Whangaparapara Road. The walk down to the pools is easy through pleasantly forested surroundings, before reaching the series of sulfurous pools that draws so many people to this part of the island. These pools can range in terms of the temperature of the water, and it is always best to dip a toe in before taking the plunge into the island. As with all of New Zealand’s hot springs it is important not to drink any of the water or to dip your head under the water.
Scuba Diving Around The Coast Of The Island
Scuba Diving is another of the most popular activities to enjoy around the coast of the island, and is one of the best places in New Zealand to enjoy the underwater wildlife. The dive sites in the area are suitable for novices as well as for experts, and because it is quite a large island it is possible to explore a variety of different sites. Some of the shallower diving sites have impressive rock and coral formations that attract colorful smaller fish and marine life, while there are also some large drop offs worth diving where it is possible to see some of the sea’s larger predators at fairly close quarters.
As well as diving around the coast of the Great Barrier Island, the diving trips in this area will also often visit the nearby sites at Goat Island and Little Barrier Island.