Discover our beaches

Our beaches range from sweeping expanses of pristine surf on the east coast to sheltered harbours, sandy shores and secluded coves on the west coast.

Take the 90 minute drive north from the Tryphena ferry terminal and you’ll pass safe, sheltered and gently sloping sandy beaches where small children play, and come across breathtaking views of dramatic surf beaches at Medlands, Awana, and Okiwi.

Leave the main road and drive down an arterial route to the coast and you will discover more beaches, rocky headlands, and harbours at Okupu / Blind Bay, Whangaparapara, Port Fitzroy, Karaka Bay, Port Abercrombie with Nagle’s Cove in the distance. The road to Kawa and Motairahe will take you to Katherine Bay with two marae providing the heart of Aotea’s iwi community: Ngati Rehua / Ngati Wai ki Aotea.

Slip a kayak or small boat into the water and explore secluded coves where no other footprint appears on the sand.

We can help you explore – to make the island yours – click on the chat button to talk to us.

Gooseberry Flat Beach

Gooseberry Flat Beach, Tryphena Harbour, Aotea/Great Barrier Island

If you are driving or walking around Tryphena Harbour you can find the southern wharf which is used by commercial and recreational boats. Around the coastline you will discover a number of sandy beaches with gently shelving sand that are popular with families and small children. There are also general stores and cafes for ice creams and drinks.

Family fun, Aotea/Great Barrier Island. Photo by Reneee Freeland

Family fun, Aotea/Great Barrier Island. Photo by Reneee Freeland

Take the turn towards Puriri Bay and discover sandy coves where pohutukawa overhang the tideline.

Medlands Beach, Aotea/Great Barrier Island

Medlands Beach, Aotea/Great Barrier Island

Medlands Beach is the iconic New Zealaind white sand beach with surf for the enthusiast or body-boarder.

Awana Bay is deep sloping and famous for its surf. Walk along the Awana estuary between the campgrounds and the beach to spot dotterels and wetland birds.

Harataonga Bay has a beautiful campsite, graceful historic trees and a beach that is a favourite for locals and visitors alike.

Harataonga beach as seen from the Harataonga Coastal Walkway

Harataonga beach as seen from the Harataonga Coastal Walkway

Okiwi Bar has the best left hand surf break on the island…maybe in New Zealand. You can get there by wading across the estuary at low tide – watch out for stingrays which bask on the sandy floor of the estuary.

Surfing on Aotea/Great Barrier Island. Photo by Renee Freeland

Surfing on Aotea/Great Barrier Island. Photo by Renee Freeland

Whangapoua Beach is part of the same coastline. You can get there along Mabey Road, it’s well worth the drive because you are likely to find yourself on a pristine white surf beach with not a soul in sight.