Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Great Barrier Island

We spent a week or so at Great Barrier Island. GB is in the upper right corner of the picture, with the city of Auckland about 40 miles away in the lower left. The area in between is the Haurki Gulf. Between dealing with the weather and the fact that it is the “silly season”, we didn’t see as much as we’d like of GB. The silly season is the summer holiday time. Kids are off school and almost every Aucklander takes their boat out on the water.
We did get in some good hikes (tramps in Kiwi talk). Here’s Chris hacking through one of the less used trails.
The winds picked up hard from the southwest so we decided to head to the back side of Great Barrier, aka east side. Great Barrier isn’t built up much, with the east side being even less built up. There were undoubtedly more people on the island when it was a major Kauri tree lumber site. The Kauri’s were used for shipping building and ship masts. The combination of heavy logging and Kauri Dieback Disease pretty much decimated the forestry.
Here we are tucked into Harotaonga Bay. It looks mellow, but in reality it is blowing hard by the small island in the center.
The beach is long and flat here. It’s really nice to have wheels on the dinghy to haul it out of the tidal range.
The beach was pretty lonely place to walk, just us and the birds
There are trails that lead past the sand dunes into Shaun the Sheep country. And stiles to get over the fences.
This is the DOC campground, a quarter mile in from the beach. DOC in the US is Department of Corrections. In Kiwi land it is Department of Conservation.
This spot was notable because as it is the first time we’ve seen hermit crabs in New Zealand. There’s a group of them living in small, efficient homes in this tide pool. All through the South Pacific the widespread hermit crabs have first right of refusal to all the collecting shells.
Caution Electric Fence sign to alert the sheep
These sheep asked us if it was still possible for kiwis to get visas for the US.
An Oyster Catcher among the grasses on the sand dunes teaching her young chic how to look for tasty snacks.
After a late afternoon hike we got back to the dinghy in this upside-down state. The wind was strong enough to get under the dinghy and flip it, engine and all.
We decided to head into the Haruki Gulf after some time on GBI, partly because of an expected NE gale coming. The plan is to come back out to Great Barrier after the kids go back to school and the bays empty out a bit.
(Pretty good, huh! Made it through almost an entire post without political commentary)


  1. Chris and Paul,
    I'm glad to see you're making the most of the NZ Challenge. Dodging gales and crowds and still having a great time-way to go!

  2. we rode out some ferocious blows in our mini van anchored in a Top 10 Holiday Park