Great Barrier Island has over 20 tracks and trails making up more than 100 kilometres of bushwalking paradise. From the 10-minute scramble to the top of the Windy Canyon to the popular ‘Over The Top’ Mt. Hobson marathon of 6 hrs there really is something for everyone.
You’ll find incredible Kauri dams, natural hot springs, waterfalls and swimming holes all surrounded by beautiful regenerating forest.
If you intend exploring unguided be sure to let someone know of your intended route, destination and anticipated completion time before setting off.
A track drop-off and pick-up service is available and makes it possible to enjoy the walks without having to retrieve cars etc.

The Department of Conservation have put together a great trampers map/booklet that contains relevant information for each walk, it is a must for anyone about to hit the trails. The booklets are available at the Claris Airport I-site, at the Conservation Dept: office in Port Fitzroy, as a downloadable pdf. (click image at left)
Remember to take water and clothing suitable for the terrain and weather conditions and do stick to the tracks.

We've put together some great all inclusive tramping packages for your convenience, take a look at our very popular Aotea Walk Package and Hikers Delight Package for groups of 4 or more.

If you'd rather make your own arrangements and itinerary, here is a brief rundown on the most popular tracks on Great Barrier Island.

Kaitoke Hot Springs

If you're looking for a great activity that will only take a couple of hours out of your day, see you venturing through some incredible Nikau glades, over bridges and boardwalks with great wetland and mountain views... You won't do better than this. And to top it all off, you get to soak up the atmosphere in the beautifully undeveloped natural hot springs.
With a return walk time of around 80 minutes this beautifully maintained mainly level walking track is suitable for all age groups with reasonable fitness.

The Windy Canyon

At the top of the Okiwi Hill on Aotea Road you'll find the Windy Canyon car park. The canyon is a mere 10 minutes walk along the Palmers Track and the views are amazing. There's around 100 or so big steps and minimal hand rail with some tricky smaller steps and platforms as well so you do have to take care.
Of course if you're well enough equipped and want to keep going, you'll  eventually find yourself at the summit of our highest mountain - Hirakimata (Mt Hobson) approximately 1.5 hours further along the Palmers Track.

Mount Hobson (Hirakimata)

There are three routes to get to Hirakimata, from the northeast, the west or the south.
Closer to the summit all three tracks lead into mature forest where logging was too difficult and fires on the lower slopes did not reach. Remnants of an ancient and precious conifer forest—Rimu, Kirk’s Pine, Pink Pine and Kauri can all be seen here.

The Summit via the Hot Springs & Peach Tree Track (3.5 to 4 hrs -7.9 kms)

Starting from Whangaparapara Road, the journey to the top begins flat and easy—very friendly for push-chairs. The path follows an ancient shoreline traversing the Kaitoke wetlands and regenerating kānuka forest. You may hear the call of a fernbird or spotless crake. Orchids and sundews flower close to the track. Forty-five minutes later at the hot pools, dammed at a fork in Kaitoke Creek and surrounded by the delicate umbrella fern, the track changes. After a brief, steep climb and descent to join Tramline Track, with reminders of loggers’ toil and journeys of 80 years ago, Peach Tree Track soon appears on the left and the climb begins through regenerating forest. Thirty minutes from the summit, the track passes Mt Heale and the new 20-bed hut. Wake up to wide views from the northwest through to the south.

Tip: Enjoy the hot pools but take care—they might be too hot in places. Do not put your head under the water.

The Summit via Kaiaraara (3 hrs - 5.6 kms)

Kaiaraara Track is currently closed due to damage sustained in Cyclone Gabrielle.
Aotea Track hikers are offered South Fork Track as an alternative route between Kaiaraara Hut and Mt Heale Hut.

From the Forest Road, the track rises steadily to Cooper’s Castle Track junction, crossing the stream in several places using a series of suspension and wooden bridges. A short distance from this junction is a side-track to the remains of the Lower Kauri Dam.

What remains of the Lower Kauri Dam (1 hr 30 min from Kaiaraara Hut) was built in the 1920s, along with six smaller dams higher up. Logs estimated to contain seven million feet of timber were slid into the dams. Once loaded, the dams were tripped one after the other so a full blast hit the lower dam, propelling the logs into Kaiaraara Bay. The Lower Dam was washed away in a storm in 2014 and only the base can be seen in the stream. The track above the dam area winds through semi-mature forest with good examples of tōwai and large kohekohe. From here, the track climbs steeply via wooden steps that protect black petrel nesting grounds and sensitive ecosystems to the summit.

The Summit via Windy Canyon and Palmers Track (2 to 2.5 hrs - 3.3kms)

This is the shortest and easiest of the three paths to the summit. The track begins at the top of Whangapoua Hill on Aotea Road and climbs numerous steps through the sheer rock faces of Windy Canyon (10 minutes from the road). There are splendid views of Okiwi Basin and Whangapoua Beach and estuary to the north, and Kaitoke and Medlands beaches to the east. The track follows the ridge offering constantly changing vistas in every direction before climbing steeply to the summit, traversing steep inclines via an impressive system of steps and stairways. Healthy examples of the endemic plant prostrate kanuka can be seen among regenerating forest.

The Summit via South Fork Track (3 hrs - 1 way)

The South Fork track begins approximately 1 km south of the Kaiaraara Hut on the Forest Road and leads to the Hirakimata summit via the Mt Heale Hut. After two stream crossings it follows an old bridle track that was used by gum diggers and forestry workers. After another stream crossing, there is  a long steady climb up a central ridge where it levels out at Peach Tree Track junction. Mt Heale Hut is a little further along. From here the track to Hirakimata (Mt Hobson) is steep and a bit tricky - allow 35 minutes  or so to reach the summit.

Okiwi -Harataonga Coastal walkway (4.5hrs)

This easy walk does not have the steep grades of many of the island’s other tracks. It winds through regenerating forest and was once the road linking the island’s south and north. From Okiwi (Aotea Road), the track heads up to a fantastic viewpoint above the Okiwi estuary outlet before following a coastline of magnificent views. The track ends at the Harataonga campground and spectacular beach.

Forest Road (5 hrs)

Thirteen kilometres in length and once criss-crossed with forestry tracks, Forest Road is a popular trek for both trampers and mountain bikers, providing a wide array of beautiful bush and mountain views. It begins near the Kaiaraara trampers hut and runs through some stunning regenerating Kauri and Rimu forest. Many trampers exit via the bottom of the Tramline Track to Whangaparapara, to access either 'The Green', a Dept of Conservation campsite or Great Barrier Lodge on the shores of the harbour.

Go Great Barrier Island

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Hi, just wanted to let you know we had a truly wonderful time on GBI. The house was perfect, dry comfortable and we loved the quirky decor. We couldn’t have asked for better. What a beautiful place this Island is. We’ve all fallen in love with it. I was so lucky to discover it.
Thank you for everything.
Julianne, Pedro and Charlie
March 2024

We’re at the airport in Claris, very reluctantly preparing to leave.
Just want to say a huge thanks for getting everything so perfectly right. That accommodation was just stunning – views, sunlight, bird life, ripe figs, proximity to store and Gooseberry Flat swimming, really well stocked kitchen. Absolutely gorgeous in good weather and bad.
This place is magic!
February 2024

Kia Ora team,

Just a quick email to say thank you for all your assistance in organising our recent trip to Great Barrier Island.
Our group had a fantastic time – visiting various places around the island, and walking the Aotea track.
We had an amazing few days at Pitokuku House – what a fantastic place – with some of the team looking to come back and visit again with their families in the future.
We are also keen to come again and perhaps do some of the other walks, and do the Dark Sky experience (although we had some nice evenings just lying out looking up at the stars anyway).
Norm and Fleur were great – and it was fun to be able to give them some Róse which they really appreciated. We were able to communicate with them, and drop off and pick up was seamless…

So again, thank you for all your help and for making a very memorable week away.
Ngā mihi,
Louise Morgan
February 2024

I really want to thank you for all your help with our bookings!
We had a fabulous time, and your advice re. accommodation nights, car rental, and the Aotea track was spot on. Being able to run ideas past you was really much appreciated. Great Barrier Island is so amazing – I didn’t want to leave.
Many thanks,
Michelle Ashbury
July 2023

Just wanted to say thank you for organizing my trip to Great Barrier. I loved everything about the place – the flights, the people, the landscape, the peace and quiet, the fresh air, the amazing scenery, the welcome, the quirky business and the talented artists. What a brilliant trip. I’d like to come again, in winter, and perhaps stay up at Port Fitzroy. Will be in touch. Thanks again, all the best,
Julie Macdonald
May 2023

My daughter and I had a lovely time at Great Barrier over Easter – thanks for organizing everything for us.  Pigeons Lodge was really nice, the Rav 4 was great and we even had dolphins escorting the boat which was lovely.  The cafe’s and restaurant’s we visted provided excellent food and the beaches were gorgeous.  So all in all an awesome weekend.
Thanks again
Kind regards
Averil Naumai
April 2023

Good afternoon Go Great Barrier Island Team,
Sincere thanks for the four night holiday package you arranged for us for last week.  All the bookings you put in place for us were exactly what we needed and flowed seamlessly together.  The location of the accommodation was perfect and the Sundancer cruise (which was awesome!  Thank you Chris) was easily rescheduled when the weather demanded a change.  Everyone we met on Great Barrier Island was so friendly and helpful and we would dearly love to return again sometime soon.
Thank you again.
Kind regards
Hilary McNaughten
December 2022

Just wanted to say thank you so much for your very good service helping us arrange (with some rearrangements) our great visit to the Island last week. Everything went perfectly, flights, car, and we just loved the Beach House. Could you please pass on our very sincere thanks to the owners and property manager – the house was in perfect condition and we would have loved to have stayed with the kaka and the swimming for much longer. We enjoyed the local cafes and pub (including a memorable Thursday night there !), and had a wonderful time exploring all over the island.
Keep up the good work.  We’ll certainly recommend your organisation to others.
Best wishes
Sally Marx
November 2022

Go Great Barrier performs a very valuable service for visitors looking to travel to Great Barrier Island and connect with suppliers of accommodation and travel services.

Initially I was unsure about how to make and coordinate direct bookings but after contacting GGBI they were handled quickly and the outcomes were just what we were looking for, so thank you, Laura and Steve.

We did not expect to alter the bookings made but when we asked to stay another night and fly back to Auckland, Steve arranged these quickly along with transport connections to cover for having no rental car on the final day. Thank you, Steve.

With thanks and kind regards
John Bedkober
October 2022

We just wanted to take a moment to say a massive thank you for the most unforgettable holiday we’ve just had on the Barrier.

It wasn’t the holiday we originally booked, this one was a thousand times better. We saw the whole island spent a lot of time at Medlands, loved the Good Heavens star experience, Sunshine Cottage was off the hook, what amazing views and the attention to detail throughout the cottage was mind blowing and all just added to the holiday. We walked some of the tramway track, saw the art gallery and bought home a very cool painting, walked to the hot pools, and generally enjoyed ourselves the rest of the time. We will be recommending your holidays to everyone we meet.

Again thank you so much for against all odds putting together the perfect holiday for us.

Sarah & Tim
March 2022

Just wanted to say a big thank you for sorting out our weekend.
I can honestly say we had a blast, the island is absolutely stunning, the people were so nice and friendly we really loved everyone we met.
The Irish pub was awesome. We were lucky enough to be there for Thursday night open mike, and we took full advantage of the fun. We met Pete and Terry who so kindly took us out on their fishing boat, we loved it.
We couldn’t believe how amazing the food was. The whole experience is going to be a huge talking point for us all for a long time.
Thank you once again for everything.
Cheers Nicki

Just to let you know that we had an absolutely wonderful stay. Everything went well – like clockwork.
The rental we had was wonderful and Muriwai was just beautiful – we’re so pleased we stayed there.
We ate at Tipi & Bobs and the Irish Pub – both wonderful evening meals. We visited the Social Club at Tryphena and watched the Super Rugby game.
Lunched at My Pat Puku, visited the crafts and gallery places (the little Museum is wonderful – so much history and displays). We went right to the top of the island by road, and the bottom and to the hot pools.
The signposts and the great well maintained walks and information posts were just superb. The people are so friendly – everyone waves!
Thanks again
Well done Great Barrier Island!
Jenny & Ces Horan

I just wanted to say thank you for the package you put together for us to visit Great Barrier Island.
We had a fabulous time and really enjoyed exploring your stunning island.
You made it so easy, taking care of all the bookings and putting together the things that we wanted to do.
We were met off the plane and handed the keys to our rental car. Norm at the information desk at the airport gave me great maps and recommended some good day walks for us to do (we did most of the day trips he recommended too).
Angeline was at the Great Barrier Lodge when we called in to drop off our bags.
Amongst other things we enjoyed the kauri bridge at Glenfern and the view of Port Fitzroy from Sunset Rock.
We walked to Windy Canyon and beyond into the Pinnacles area for a few hours before walking back out the same way – this was so visually stunning and a real highlight for me.
Hilde was fabulous when we did the Good Heavens Experience.
We thoroughly enjoyed our day on the Sundancer with Chris. We felt very privileged as he still took us out even though we were the only ones.
Our accommodation was just right for us and it was so lovely to spend each evening out on the deck admiring the Whangaparapara Harbour. We ate dinner at the Great Barrier Lodge restaurant each night because it was so good (and we could have a drink and not worry about driving).|
The info sheet you sent through beforehand was useful and the list of places to eat was also helpful – especially for breakfast and lunches.
Thank you again for putting this all together for us – flights, accommodation, rental car & activities.
We had a fabulous trip and really enjoyed exploring the island.
Deborah Malcolm

We would like to thank you for the wonderful holiday we had on the Barrier.
We absolutely loved The Bach, and felt we were in paradise being so close to such a beautiful beach!
We made the most of having some lovely meals out, and all within walking distance.
The swims in the bay were so lovely.
It created a wonderful memory for my husband and I for out 30th Wedding Anniversary. Just perfect!
It was great flying over from Dairy Flat, and we were impressed with the service we received.
Thanks again, we would love to return sometime.
Kerry and Janice Sinclair

We’re back home now and I wanted to say we all had the most fabulous time on Great Barrier Island. Thanks for organising the trip for us, everything was perfect (even the weather!). We went star gazing, did an early morning Astro photography workshop, fishing charter and walked up and over Mt Hobson via the hot pools. We packed all we could into and 5 days and we all hope to return for more exploring.
Helen McMahon

My partner and I just wanted to thank you for booking such an easy holiday for us. The flights were hassle free, along with the accommodation and at the airport the car rental was an easy process. (I loved the sign with my name on it). Also, a special mention to Steve and his trike ride. Steve was such a great host, he picked us up on time, gave us a lovely island tour and even welcomed us back to his house to use his kayak’s anytime. The entire trip was such an easy experience and I highly recommend your service. Thanks again for such an amazing weekend away.

We will definitely be back!

We are here and enjoying this beautiful island of yours. It is truly spectacular!
I only have one gripe.. You must add a suggestion in all your bookings that a 2 night stay is not enough – a minimum stay of at least a week should be recommended as once you are here, you never want to leave.
Thank you so much for your help, I’m already dreading tomorrow when we leave 🙁

Just wanted to say thank you very much for your help and advice when organising our recent visit to the Barrier. While the weather wasn’t always perfect, it didn’t stop my sister and I doing anything or from having the best time, including doing some of your fabulous walks. We needed more time to fit more of them in!
The accommodation was really comfortable and perfect for our needs; we were met by a charming young woman from the car rental company and the X-Trail was just the ticket for us to explore the length and breadth of the island (which we did), and we simply loved chatting with locals and restaurant owners while dining out. Your advice and wonderful service were just the icing on the cake, so thank you very much.
You live in a magical place and we’ll be back!

We all just wanted to say thank you so much for organising a great Christmas holiday for us on Great Barrier Island! We had a very special time and made wonderful family memories after being apart in different countries for years. Thank you for all your help and advice, we have recommended you highly to everyone we know.
Thanks again,

I just wanted to thank you for organising everything for us for our weekend. We had a fabulous time! Everything was great – we loved staying at Tipi and Bobs and Marjorie made us very welcome, the units were great, lovely views and the food was fantastic! The cakes were wonderful, Phaedra had done a great job. It’s amazing how much we managed to pack into such a short time, the first time I’ve been there but will certainly come back for a longer stay next time. Once again, thanks for a wonderful job.