(15 years and under)
Great Barrier Island Escape Summary
Great Barrier Island (Aotea) is a place of remote beauty and rugged wilderness, with a distinctive Kiwi flavour. With just 900 residents, it is one of the most tranquil and laid-back places you’ll find in the South Pacific. The warm salty breeze mingled with the rich forest air makes every breath a pleasure, while it’s winding trails through volcanic peaks, native forests, golden beaches and crystal-clear waters ensure your daily quota of exercise and adventure. On Great Barrier Island, Nature is King.
- 4 days / 3 nights all-inclusive New Zealand walking holiday
- 4-7 hours hiking each day over varied terrain
- Carry a day pack only
- Includes: meals, snacks and wine; 3.5 star boutique lodge accommodation; all transport on the island; raincoats & day packs; experienced guides
- Join a small group, or have an exclusive trip for your own group
- 30 minute scenic flight from Auckland – we can book flights for you
Great Barrier Island Escape Full Itinerary
Day One: Southern Shores
3-4 hours walking (Lunch, Dinner)
The breathtaking flight over Auckland and the turquoise, island-studded waters of the Hauraki Gulf sets the scene for a remarkable trip! Your friendly Walking Legends guide greets you as you step off the plane – welcome to paradise!
We head west to Whangaparapara and the Te Ahumata Track. Follow an old mining road, marvel at wind shorn bonsai-like plants and try to spot orchids at the summit. It’s all views, views, views from atop the white cliffs.
After lunch we head down to explore the beautiful southern coast. Explore the ‘Whalers Lookout’ track, aptly named for its’ advantageous viewpoints – perfect for spotting Brydes whales.
Settle in to our charming lodge for aperitifs on the deck overlooking the tranquil harbour.
Day Two: Heart & Soul - Mt Hobson
6-7 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Stride through ‘Windy Canyon’ in the central mountainous area of Great Barrier to the summit of Mt Hobson. This challenging track is a combination of easy walking trails, steep climbs, stairways and bridges. Traverse a range of spectacular landscapes… streams lined with beautiful native bush, peaceful wetlands and forests of kauri, rimu, kahikatea and more. Discover the historical remains of the early Kauri industry.
At 621 metres and the highest point of the island, the 360 degree views from the summit of Mt Hobson are worth the climb! Walk through the preciously fragile Kaitoke Wetlands where delicate orchids and sundews sprinkle either side of the track. Listen out for the distinctive “u-tick” call of the rare fernbird or spotless crake, the presence of which indicates high wetland health and abundance of food sources.
Finish off this sensational hike with a rejuvenating soak in a natural hotpool.
Day Three: Northern Shores
5 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Travelling north we start our day driving into the spectacular scenery of Port Fitzroy a stunning combination of crystal clear water and bush covered hills. Enjoy swing bridges and glorious Nikau forests on the half day walk down to Bush’s beach.
Next up, Warren’s creek track, gently climbs to a waterfall. There are deep swimming pools in the stream, surrounded by kauri and nikau forests. After lunch we head to the largest white sand beach on the island, where a spectacular coastal walk reveals fascinating coastal bird life and shipwreck history. Take a dip in the Pacific or stretch out on the sand and soak up the island’s natural beauty.
This evening we might head to the pub to share a beer with some locals, or take a stroll along the harbour waterfront.
Day Four: Left of Centre
3-4 hours walking (Breakfast, Lunch)
Begin your last day on Aotea with a beautiful trail that follows a central ridgeline, offering views of both coasts, while strolling through gorgeous puriri trees and nikau palms. That spectacular white sand beach you saw on your flight in is one of our final destinations, Medlands Beach. Share a moment on Memory Rock, before exploring the rock pools or walking the beautiful white sands.
Depending on how the body is feeling at this point, you can do some more walking along the old tramline track to see the serene Kauri falls or we can leave you to relax in the local art gallery / café to soak up the island atmosphere one last time before your flight home.
Your guide will drop you off at the Great Barrier airport in time for a 5pm flight back to reality / the mainland.
Questions & Answers
The colonial-style Shoal Bay Estate is located in the beautiful and tranquil setting of Shoal Bay, Tryphena with a charming, rustic interior decor and harbour views. There are plenty of sunny, private decks to relax on, plus large pohutukawa trees for shade. Double and Twin rooms with shared bathroom facilities. Single Supplement is available. Dinner and Breakfast are served in the lodge dining room. All meals, snacks and nibbles are included. Complimentary drinks with dinner, additional drinks available for purchase.
For trip dates please see our Walk Calendar.
If none of these dates suit please contact us, we may be able to add more departures, and offer exclusive trips for groups. This trip is also available in winter on demand, please contact us for details.
Do I need to pay a deposit?
Yes! We ask a $300 deposit, per person, per walk at the time of booking. We use this deposit to pay for things like accommodation bookings at peak times and flights. The remaining balance is due 1 month before departure, we'll send you a friendly reminder in advance!
Credit cards and I do not get along. Can I pay by other means?
Absolutely, we also accept payment via online banking. When you book you will receive a booking confirmation email that contains our direct debit information.
Life has other plans for me, can I get my deposit back?
We completely understand that sometimes the best laid plans go to waste. All is not lost! We can simply transfer you to another date of your choosing. There is no expiry date on transferring your deposit - you can use it anytime in the future!
If transferring just isn't going to work for you we'll refund your money. The amount we can refund is determined by when you cancel your booking. Click here for our full terms and conditions, or email email@example.com.
Will I need to bring cash?
It's a matter of personal preference, if you feel better carrying a small amount, then that's totally okay. It's not essential, but it's a good alternative for when the electronic payment (EFTPOS) system we use in New Zealand is not working.
Our tours are all-inclusive and we'll take really good care of you but you may wish to treat yourself to an extra coffee or a real fruit ice cream when the opportunity arises! It's good to have a small amount of cash in your pocket to take care of this.
We offer a glass of wine or beer with dinner. Additional drinks can be purchased on all our tours, with the exception of the Lake Waikaremoana Guided Walk.
Can I bring a suitcase?
Yes, we are suitcase-friendly! On our lodge-based tours (Coromandel Explorer, Great Barrier Island Escape, Tongariro Hiking Tour, Waikaremoana Discovery Tour) we stay in the same lodge each night so there’s no stressful re-packing each morning. All you need is a small backpack while you’re on the trail, so pop one of those in your suitcase and you’ll be all set!
Will I need to hire a car on the island?
No, you won’t need to hire a car. Our tours are fully guided and transport is included. Your guide will collect you from Claris Airport on Great Barrier Island in a comfortable, air-conditioned passenger vehicle and transport everyone to our lodge accommodation. You’ll travel with the group to the start of every trail and be transported back to the lodge at the end of the day. On the final day you will be safely delivered back to the airport for your return journey home.
If you want to stay extra nights either before or after the tour, we can easily arrange a rental car for you at a cost of $65.00 per day, subject to availability. Please let us know in your booking form or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The rental cars are kept at our lodge, so you can start exploring straight after breakfast and they can be deposited back to Claris Airport on your way home.
Can I take the ferry from Auckland to Great Barrier Island?
There is a passenger ferry service that leaves from downtown Auckland and arrives at Tryphena. The journey takes 4 hours and in times of inclement weather the sailing may be cancelled. We recommend that you travel by air instead. If you would like to go by ferry, please ensure your travel insurance provider covers cancelled ferry sailings.
I suffer from terrible car sickness, what are the roads like?
Good question! In general, the roads we travel are well-maintained, bitumen-surfaced single carriageways. Short sections of road on Great Barrier Island can be curvy, but the road surface is smooth and well-maintained.
If you suffer from car sickness, please equip yourself with whatever remedies you prefer to use to alleviate the discomfort. The best time to purchase medicinal supplies is before you arrive at Auckland Airport.
If you prefer to sit in the front seat to help your car sickness, please do tell your guide! We will do whatever we can to make you more comfortable.
I am travelling alone, who will I be sharing a room with?
The accommodation on our tours is based on twin share. If you'd prefer to have your own room, please select the single supplement option in the online booking form. This will ensure you have a room to yourself. If you're happy to share, you will be placed in a twin room with another adventure-buddy of the same gender in separate beds.
Will I need something nice to wear in the evenings?
You’re on holiday after all, so why not!? Our lodge-based tours visit a local restaurant for an evening meal on one of the three nights, so it’s a good idea to have something nice to wear out to dinner. They’re not super formal occasions, so you could say the dress code is smart casual. Gents – no ties or dinner jackets required, but covered shoes are a good idea. Ladies – comfortable footwear and covered shoulders are advisable, but not enforced.
I have a specialty diet - can you cater for me?
Absolutely. We are happy to accommodate guests with specialty diets, we appreciate as much advance notice as possible. If we don't receive adequate advanced notice, we may not be able to fully cater for dietary needs as we sometimes operate in an extremely isolated environment and it is not always possible to access specialty foods. Please ensure you advise us as early as possible if you have dietary requirements.
Can non-walkers join this trip?
If someone in your group is not a keen walker they can still join us! During the day non-walkers can spend time relaxing at the Lodge, maybe take a fishing trip, or relax on a beach and meet up with the rest of your group in the evenings. Please contact us for more details about this option.