We know Aotea/Great Barrier Island is a destination like no other, which often means our visitors have lots of questions when booking their trip over to the island. Check out these frequently asked questions below to see if you can find the answer you are looking for.
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How do I get to Great Barrier Island?
We are located 90km off the coast of Auckland, and 20km off the coast of the Coromandel on the edge of the Hauraki Gulf – next stop Chile!
Check out our Guide to getting here page for information.
Can I catch a bus around the island?
We don’t have a regular bus service all over the island or any other public transport. However, People & Post offer a transport and freight service once a day, 6 days a week from Tryphena in the South, to Port Fitzroy in the North and back again.
How can I get around the island?
We have a few locally owned transport options available, from rental cars, electric Motu Bikes, small group tours and shuttles. Over the summer high season these are booked out well in advance, so best to get in quick to avoid disappointment! Have a look at our Tour and Transport options here.
Alternatively, hitch-hiking is perfectly safe and well used by tourists and locals alike.
Where can you stay on Great Barrier Island?
We have a range of accommodation options, from DoC Huts on multi day hikes, basic campgrounds, backpackers, private villas and lodges, family friendly baches, beachfront and bush cabins and luxury homes. Check out our accommodation page for further information.
Can I bring my own electronics?
Being off the grid means we generate our own power, which is enough for small gadgets like phones, electric razors, small USB charged torches etc. However, hair straighteners, hairdryers, rice cookers, electric kettles, toastie machines, blenders etc draw too much power and will ultimately result in a very hefty bill at the end of your stay! If in doubt please contact your accommodation provider to check what their individual power systems can manage. For more information on our off-grid lifestyle, have a look at our Off Grid Guide here.
Eat & Drink
Do I need to bring food with me?
No, we have plenty of food options for you on island. With stores in Tryphena, Claris and Port Fitzroy to stock you up with snacks and food for self-catering, local eateries for dining out, catering for events and local organic produce delivery services for those longer stays.
If you are arriving on the island late in the evening, it pays to check opening times ahead of your arrival and bring a few things if there is nothing open. Have a look at our Eat & Drink page for details and our Dine Out Guide for up to date opening times .
Where can I buy alcohol?
All of the local stores sell alcohol along with The Rocks bottle shop in Claris. Try our local options which are sustainable, zero waste and off-grid: Island Gin, Aotea Brewing and Great Barrier Brewing.
Will I get mobile reception on Aotea/Great Barrier Island?
There isn’t island wide signal, but you will find that between Spark and Vodafone you’ll get signal around most of the major settlements including Tryphena, Medland’s, Claris, Okupu and Port FitzRoy. If you are walking the tracks it pays to make transport arrangements before you enter the Aotea Conservation Park as there is limited signal through the park.
Is there Wi-fi on the island?
We encourage people to take a digital holiday whilst they are on the island but appreciate that in this modern age there is always a necessity that requires the internet. Many accommodations have free Wi-fi available, check with your host. There is also free public Wi-fi available at the airport in Claris, the council service centre in Claris, the Claris store and Tryphena hall.
Are there pet friendly accommodation options?
Pet friendly accommodation is not advertised as it would be on an enquiry basis only. We recommend getting in touch with the individual accommodation providers to discuss whether they can help.
Can I take my pets on walks with me?
Department of Conservation land dominates over 60% of Great Barrier. Dogs are prohibited on DoC land, including tracks, campgrounds, playgrounds, parks and sports surfaces. There are a few beach areas available for walking your dog controlled and on a leash, but these are limited due to Endangered Seabirds nesting in the sand dunes. You can find more information about pets on Great Barrier on our Dog Information page, along with the Ecology Vision website.
Where can I anchor my boat?
Our prevailing wind is South Westerly, however Port Fitzroy, Whangaparapara, Blind Bay and Shoal Bay on the West Coast and Medlands on the East Coast provide shelter throughout the year. Our local Forecast & Tides page can give you updated information on the weather closer to the time.
Where can I get water and fuel?
Water and fuel is available at both Port Fitzroy and Whangaparapara wharves.
Where do I put my waste?
Aotea/Great Barrier Island is on a zero waste mission. There are no longer any public bins on the island. During peak summer months (19 December 2020 – 6 Feb 2021) there will be pop up rubbish collection on Port FitzRoy Wharf Tuesday to Saturday. Council rubbish bags will be available to purchase using EFTPOS only. Clean and sorted recycling can be disposed of at this point for free. Learn more about how you can dispose of your waste here. If these options don’t work for you, you will need to take your waste home with you.
Where can I launch my boat from land?
There are numerous places throughout the island to launch your boat, depending on its size and what kind of vehicle you have to launch it. You can find those details on our Boaties page.
Where are the best fishing spots?
Now that would be telling! We are one of the many islands of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park and our waters are at risk of overfishing. Know your limits and restrictions by checking out the Recreational Fishing regulations here, and take only what is needed for your dinner that night. There’s always another day for fishing! Help us replenish the breeding stock for future generations. You can learn more about the health of our fisheries on the NZ Geo Website, and the 2020 State of our Gulf report.
DoC, Huts and Campgrounds
Is there a DoC office on Great Barrier Island?
There is, but it is not accessible to the public. Instead the Visitor Information desk at the Claris airport should have the answers to most DoC related questions. The desk is manned everyday of the week and has many DoC resources available including track maps. If you have an urgent and specific DoC related enquiry, visit the Aotea/GBI DoC webpage or call 09 4290 044
Is there gas cooking facilities in the DoC huts on the Aotea Track?
Both Mt Heale and Kaiaraara Hut are remarkably well equipped. Both have multiple gas burners and cooking equipment.
Is there gas cooking facilities in the DoC campgrounds?
No. If you are coming by plane the airlines do not allow you to bring gas canisters on the flight. However, you can pick up camping gas at the Claris store. Other visitors often leave full or half full gas canisters with us at the information centre, please enquire with us at the information desk, we may have one we can pass on.
Is there kauri dieback on Great Barrier Island?
Yes unfortunately. But we have boot cleaning stations located at Claris Airport, Tryphena and Port Fitzroy wharves, and all the entrance points to the Aotea Conservation Park. Please make sure you spray and scrub your boots both when you go in and when you come out. For more information on Kauri Dieback, check out the DoC website.
Can I just turn up and pay at the campgrounds/huts?
Bookings are essential for both the campgrounds and the huts as there are limited spaces available, particularly over Summer. Please book on the DoC website, or contact the Information Centre for help.
Can I use my Backcountry Hut Passes and DOC/NZMA Campsite pass for the Huts/Campgrounds?
Backcountry passes and Hut tickets are not valid for the huts on Great Barrier, you will need to book these through the DoC website. DOC/NZMA campsite passes are valid at all DoC campsites on Great Barrier, except between the dates of 20th December 2020 & 8th February 2021.