With dark sky sanctuary status, white-sand beaches and native forest Great Barrier Island is a peaceful getaway for star gazing, beach combing and forest walks. Two thirds of the island is covered with bush so it’s a haven for native birds. This list of Eco and Quirky Accommodation Great Barrier Island NZ gives you a great mixture of unique places to stay across the island. See also the list of Things to Do at the end of the post…
Price Ranges: Hostel $ / budget $$ / Mid Range $$$ / Luxury $$$$
Great Barrier Island Travel Tips
- Great Barrier Island is totally off-grid, so your accommodation will usually run on solar, batteries, gas, firewood, and rely on rainwater.
- Travel to the island is by Sealink car ferry or small plane. Sunair fly from Tauranga, Whitianga and Whangarei. Barrier Air fly from Auckland, North Shore, Whitianga, and Kaitaia. Both airlines offer daily specials.
- There are no streetlights, banks, supermarkets or ATMS on the island.
- Bring some cash. Shops, eateries and activities will also take eftpos and credit, but some may only take cash.
- You may be able to take out cash with your eftpos/credit card.
- Book first when eating out.
- Internet is slow and phone coverage patchy (you’re getting away from it all!)
- There’s no public transport so book a rental car early in case you miss out.
Whaler’s Cottage $$$
Harpoon Hill. 2-bedroom homely cottage on two levels with views. Hidden in native bush with birdsong. Free WIFI, lounge and fireplace, dining, kitchen, TV, deck, BBQ. Sleeps 6. Book at booking.com
Sandhills Beach Hut $
Medlands Beach. Cool little sleep out 1 minute walk to beach. Kitchenette, fridge, bathroom, deck with outdoor furniture. Double bed and bunks. Sleeps 4. Book at bookabach/VRBO
Aotea Eco Bungalows $$
Tranquility in paradise with woods, creek, pond, and native birds. Solar and gas power. Kitchen, BBQ. 1km to Medlands Beach. Starry nights. King-size bed and king single for up to 3 guests. Book at booking.com
Fun and Funky Caravan $$
Fully restored 1940’s handmade caravan. Stylish and luxury glamping. Off-grid, kitchenette, bikes, kayaks. Hot shower. Deck and views. Near store and pub. Queen bed for 2 guests. Book at Bookabach/VRBO
Koru Bach Medlands Beach $$
Stunning designer bach with views over the bay, indoor and outdoor shower, fireplace, native birds – kaka, ruru, kingfisher. Solar power. Walk over bridge and up steep drive from carpark. 3 beds for 4 guests. Book at Bookabach/VRBO
Sunbeam Sanctuary Dome Cabin $
Sunny, rustic, simple and peaceful. Natural Health Retreat. Solar and hydro power. Beds in cabin, geodesic dome is lounge. Linen extra cost. Shared kitchen. Organic veggie garden. Need a car. Up to 10 guests. Book at Bookabach/VRBO
Xspot Cliff-Top Eco Apartment $$$
Award-winning and contemporary with 270° degree views. Chef’s kitchen, spacious lounge, master bedroom with en-suite. Stargazing. Shared summer swimming pool. 4WD access only. 2 guests. Book at Bookabach/VRBO
Le Cabanon – Aotea Eco Luxury $$
Tryphena. Designer forest chalet with Bose sound system. Deck with giant bean bags, BBQ and views, kitchen. Steep drive. Near shops. King-size bed for 2 guests. Book at Bookabach/VRBO
Borneo Bungalow $$$
Tryphena. Secluded Bush Chalet. Carvings and art from Borneo create a jungle experience. Kitchen, gas heater, double glazed, views. Bike and kayak hire. Steep drive. 2 guests. Book at Bookabach/VRBO
Things to Do on Great Barrier Island:
- Soak in the natural Kaitoke Hot Springs.
- Kauri Falls – waterfall and swimming hole.
- There’s 100kms of walking tracks managed by the Department of Conservation. The most popular ones are Windy Canyon and Kaitoke Hot Springs.
- DOC Walking tracks see here: https://www.greatbarrier.co.nz/our-great-walks/ and here: https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/places-to-go/auckland/places/great-barrier-island-aotea/things-to-do/tracks/aotea-track/
- Historic whaling station and saw mill.
- Puriri Bay for kayaking and snorkelling.
- Medlands Beach for surfing.
- Okupu, Harataonga, and Tryphena for swimming.
- Watch out for dolphins and whales.
- Mountain biking, kayaks (hire at the wharf).
- Cafes, Swallow Burger, Irish Pub, bakery, three social clubs for wining and dining, Great Barrier Lodge, Island Gin Distillery.
- For eating out book first – most restaurants are in Tryphena.
- Art – Community Art Gallery and an Arts and Heritage Trail.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this eclectic list of Eco and Quirky Accommodation Great Barrier Island NZ…