Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Great Barrier Island, The Final Frontier

Early in the morning, when the day was dawning... Beckett and I woke up ever so slightly hungover, groggily got our gear together and shuffled into the back of Aida's(My "other mother's") car to be taken to Auckland airport.

In order to beat commuter traffic into the city and get to the airport on time we had to be on the road by about 5 AM.

We arrived at the airport in plenty of time and after saying our thank-yous and goodbyes to Aida and Erica who'd tagged along for the trip, we had a couple of hours to kill before our Barrier flight. We got a quick Mc-breakfast and checked ourselves in at the miniscule check-in desk for FlyMySky airlines, one of two companies that operates flights on and off Great Barrier Island.

The check-in process essentially involved a quick weighing of our stuff to make sure we were within weight limits and paying some excess fees to get some boxes of grocery supplies across to mum. The stores on the island are limited and charge a lot because of the costs involved in getting shipments across, so mum tends to do big shops off island or have people that are coming to visit bring things over.

After a couple of hours we boarded our flight onto a propeller plane with room for about 12 people per flight in seats that resemble bus benches. The flight took the standard 35 minutes because the weather was awesome, and was an absolutely beautiful journey over the Hauraki Gulf.

Upon arrival on The Barrier, mum picked us up from the airport in Claris (one of the several regions of the island) and drove us over to her house in Tryphena (another region of the island) which took about 40 minutes.

I think the most striking thing about the island when you first visit is the massive expanse of untouched land and the lack of people. There's a lot of bush track and beachland that contributes to the 285 square kilometre land area. The official permanent population is listed at just under 1000 people with a boost in numbers over the summer with tourists and holiday home owners coming over.

On our first day, all we really did was catch up with mum, write up a rough draft for the rest of the trip and make a quick visit to Medlands beach for a walk around. Medlands is a massively renowned surfing beach and a lot of people in the summer come over to ride the awesome waves there. It was nice being able to walk along it and experience it in the off season with not so many people around.

I think Beckett was pretty impressed with the sheer natural beauty of The Barrier and of New Zealand in general, I know I definitely was. Before mum moved over there, I had no idea it even existed. I can safely say it's one of the most beautiful parts of New Zealand that I have seen and I've seen most of the country. I highly recommend visiting if you're in New Zealand for any reason at any time. It's well worth working into your trip.

In the next post I'll talk about the rest of our Barrier trip and recommend some of the must-sees and do's of the island because I know you'll be visiting at some point.

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