Sept 2021 – Covid – 19
Great Barrier is currently under level 4. Visitors can travel to and from the island at alert level 2 and below. Masks are required on flights and ferries to and from the island.
Barrier Air has daily flights from Auckland domestic terminal and regular flights from Dairy Flat, North Shore. Flight time is approx 30 minutes, cost $109 to $169 one way.
Sun Air operates from Tauranga, Whitianga and Whangarei.
There are no ATMs on the island so you will need to bring cash. If you have NZ EFTPOS then you can draw cash out at the shops which also accept credit cards if you are travelling from overseas.
Pah Beach & Gooseberry Flat are located on the west side of the island, a 5-10 minute walk from the lodge, and are safe swimming. Fantastic sunsets can be viewed from them in summer.
Medlands is on the east coast, 4kms from the lodge, and is great for swimming and surfing.
There are no life guards patrolling the beaches.
Pah Beach cafe is a 5 minute walk from the lodge and is normally open 8am to 3pm. Claris, 9kms from the lodge, has My Fat Puku (closed weekends and public holidays) and the Swallow (burger bar). The Swallow is a great spot to stop for a burger after a day out walking or sightseeing.
There are various places to dine out in summer and over winter, there is always atleast one place open for evening meals.
Your host will have an up to date list of dining out options.
Diving and Fishing
There are no dive operators on the island. Dive bottle fills are available at Hooked on Barrier, Claris.
There is only one fishing charter currently operating – Hooked on Barrier.
Dogs and other pets
Aotea is free from possums and stoats. Pet owners are encouraged to leave their pets behind. Dogs are not permitted on the walking tracks and some beaches. There are designated areas for dog exercise. More info >
Sealink ferry leaves Auckland (Wynyard Wharf, downtown Auckland) at 8am on Friday, Sunday and Tuesday (additional sailings on Mon, Wed & Thurs over summer). Sailing takes approx 4.5 hours and arrives at Tryphena Wharf (6 kms from the lodge). The return trip departs Tryphena at 3pm.
Aotea Lodge has its own rental cars and can meet you at the wharf with your car when you arrive. Alternatively, we can book a shuttle for you.
Costs – Adult $89-$97, child $65.50-$71.50, Car $272-$290 one way*
* Aotea lodge offers discount ferry and air travel when booking your accommodation.
There are no street lights on the island so remember to bring your torch.
There are no taxis operating at night.
Stargazing – check out Good Heavens for stargazing tours.
Off the Grid
Aotea has no mains power, water or septic.
Each household relies on solar power and is capable of powering lights, phone chargers etc. High wattage appliances, e.g. microwaves, hairdryers, toasters, and kettles use too much power to run off solar. At Aotea Lodge, each unit has a gas stove to make toast and heat the kettle.
Water is a precious commodity and needs to be used sparingly. Rainwater is collected from the roof and stored in water tanks. If water is not conserved and we run out, we have to wait until it rains again. We have been known to go for 4 months without rain over summer.
Each household has its own private septic system. Anything non biodegradable which is flushed down the toilet is likely to block the system. This is not only expensive to rectify but also unpleasant for guests. Please avoid flushing face and hand wipes, dental floss, sanitary towel etc down the toilet.
Aotea Lodge has its own rental cars available for hire and can meet you at the airport or the ferry terminal with the car when you arrive. Ask Fiona to book one for you.
A rental car is the best way to see the island. Aotea is larger than most people think. It takes over an hour to drive from one end to the other!
Driving on the island
You do not need a 4wd to get around. Most roads are sealed and fuel is available at Tryphena and Claris.
Stonewall Store, a 5 minute walk from the lodge, supplies beer, wine, spirits and fresh fruit and vegetables (sometimes these are not readily available if the freight has not made it to the island).
Note: the landfill on Aotea is almost full so please limit non recyclable products.
Recycling – the lodge has designated recycling bins.
Food scraps – we feed these to our pigs and chooks, please refrain from placing them in the waste bin.
What to bring
Torch, sunscreen, mosquitto repellent, beach towels.
Doc have over 100kms of walking tracks