Great Barrier Island is less than an hour from New Zealand's biggest city, Auckland. But when you get there it is a different world altogether. I went there for work last week and the journey there just blew me away and when I got there, I just couldn't believe that this was so near to civilisation.
The island had a population of about 700 people and has no reticulated electricity. So you need to have your own generator for your power. The island is sparsely populated and DOC manages close to 70% of the island.
Getting there was half the fun. The plane I took from Auckland was an 8 seater which I shared with a dog, several crates of food and chilly bins filled with frozen meat. Reminds me of the small aircraft I took flying to the interiors of Sarawak in Malaysia. There was nothing between Auckland and the Island but the aircraft had no life jackets and nothing on the safety booklets that talked about water landing. On the way there we saw several pods of dolphins on the water and even a whale. That was how low we were flying.
I stayed at one of DOC's lodges and just outside my balcony, there were heaps of native birds that one would have to search for elsewhere. They were every where to extent after the 2nd day I stopped taking photos of them. There were Tui, Kereru, Banded Rail, Kingfishers, Oyster Catchers, Brown Teals and many more I could not identify.
Here is the plane that took us there and brought us back in one piece.
Inflight magazine. Which other airlines will give you this???
DOC Ranger showing some of the work we do with the Brown Teal.
Banded Rail right outside my back door.
A pair of Oyster Catchers and their chicks.
Kereru or the New Zealand Wood Pigeon.
Kingfisher with a worm in his mouth.
A Brown Teal crossing my path to the river.
If you get a chance get to the Great Barrier Island. It is absolutely beautiful and well worth the visit. Perfect get away to just get away from it all!