Explore the Barrier
Take a step into the unknown this March with the first walking festival on Great Barrier Island.
A group of 100 walkers will have the chance to take part in a three-day tour of the island with two to six-hour walks showcasing breathtaking views, hot pools and gold mines.
The festival will highlight eight walking tracks, graded from easy to hard including gentle strolls around sheltered bays and steep climbs.
With expert guides on hand to give insights into the history and nature of the island, walkers will get a good taste of what Great Barrier Island has to offer.
The festival may not be a walk in the park for everyone so people must be fit to take on some of the more challenging tracks.
Walkers wandering along Whangaparapara Bay will stumble upon the southern hemisphere’s last whaling station and a cemetery where coffins are transported in on boats.
The bay was once the place on the island where whales were landed, processed and packed off to the world.
Many of the island’s other trails are also steeped in history with old roads and tracks once used for mining and forestry access. A walk among the tree tops of the Kotuku Peninsula Sanctuary will lead walkers through native forest on a swing bridge through the canopy of a 400-year-old kauri tree.
Back at sea level, island locals will regale walkers with the island’s settler history on a 2km walk on Whangapoua Beach.
Take in the sea air, the views of Hirakimata and Rakitu Island and the site of one of the Barrier’s worst shipwrecks.
Auckland walkers can get to the remote island via a 30-minute trip by air or four-hour trip by sea. Bookings should be made early to secure a place in the festival and travel and accommodation. The event runs from April 12 to 14.
Scenic stroll: The Great Barrier Island Walking Festival will take walkers in among the tree tops of the Kotuku Peninsula Sanctuary.
Top track: The remote Great Barrier Island is mountainous in parts, providing walkers with both gentle and steep tracks.