NZ House & Garden

Island life close to home

Get off the beaten track and experience the magic of Great Barrier Island


Aotea/Great Barrier Island is one of New Zealand’s hidden gems. Despite being only a 30 minute scenic flight from Auckland, it’s a place many Kiwis have never visited.

MoaTours Kiwi guide Andrew Wells reckons it’s the ideal place “for people that like to scratch the surface a little bit.” With its laid back pace, lush landscapes and hospitable locals, we think it’s the perfect retreat for these tumultuous times.

A home away from home

When staying on the Barrier, “you’re not a guest at a hotel; you’re staying at someone’s home,” Wells says. MoaTours guests soon become fast friends with their hosts Val and Francis, hanging out in the lounge together and enjoying drinks in the garden, “chatting like they’ve known them for years.”

Restorativ­e nature

Great Barrier Island may be close to our biggest city, but it feels a million miles away. You’ll feel your worries float away as you take a gentle stroll along Medlands Beach or soak in the relaxing Kaitoke Hot Springs. Cruise to the open sanctuary of Kaikoura Island or go dolphin spotting at Blind Bay and you’ll discover just how soothing Aotea’s natural surroundin­gs are for the soul.

Local culture

From sculpture galleries and pottery workshops to the Community Art Gallery & Heritage Village, Aotea has a thriving arts and crafts scene. Indulge your passion for history at the Milk, Honey and Grain Museum or pick up organic farming tips from the owners of Okiwi Passion.

Island time

A holiday on the Barrier is a step away from the stress of everyday life. “[Aotea] feels like the New Zealand of 30 years ago, but all the good bits,” says Wells. “It’s cars with the keys still in them, doors unlocked, people stopping and saying hello at the pub even if they don’t know you.”

“Our Aotea Great Barrier Island Escape tour has been so popular this year so we’ve decided to run one extra autumn trip before we ship our coach off the island, with a special offer for this final departure of the season only.”

MoaTours’ Aotea Great Barrier Island Tour is a five-day small group escape showcasing the best the island has to offer, and comes with an exclusive offer for NZ House and Garden readers. Contact the Moa Tours team at info@ or 0800 662 462 and mention “TNZ Winter Special” to get 10 percent discount off the 21 May 2021 departure (listed price NZD $2990 twin or NZD $3490 single). Valid for new bookings only made directly with MoaTours.

See the website for full terms and conditions.

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