How to get to Great Barrier Island
Good Heavens operate on remote Great Barrier Island. This beautiful island is also known as Aotea. Because it's and island, it can be reached by a plane or ferry from Auckland, New Zealand. It's location, at a distance of 88km northeast of Auckland means that getting here is part of the adventure! To enjoy a Dark Sky Experience, you need to stay overnight on the island. We recommend you stay here for at least 2 nights. But the longer you can stay, the better. This gives you more chance of a clear night. And we need a clear sky to see the stars.
If you think two nights is too long, think again. If you like nature, this is the place for you. There is so much exploring to do here, on Aotea - Great Barrier Island. This is because half the island is a conservation park. But in addition there are many stunning beaches to explore.
The Sealink ferry sails 3 times a week in winter. But fortunately, it sails 5-7 times a week the middle of summer. Sealink is the main ferry operator and a ferry crossing takes around 4.5 hours. The sailing through the Hauraki Gulf is beautiful and allows you to truly unwind. However, when it’s windy, it can be like a roller coaster ride. Another great thing about this sailing is that there is a good chance that you will see dolphins. Or whales!
The fastest way to get to Aotea is to fly. And flights to Great Barrier Island leave from Auckland Domestic Airport. Conveniently, this is within walking distance or a short shuttle ride from Auckland International Airport. These scenic flights over the Hauraki Gulf take around half an hour. In short, these 15 seater planes provide an excellent jet experience on your way to your stargazing tour. Barrier Air also have charter flight options available.
Transport on Great Barrier Island
Good Heavens do not provide transport to our stargazing experiences.
There is no public transport on the island either. But there is a postbus service once a day. It runs from the south to the north of the island and back. This service operates during the day. It is therefore not suitable to get to your Dark Sky Experience. But there are other options to get to your stargazing experience at Medlands Beach.
Firstly, we recommend you rent a car, so that you can explore more of the island. Secondly, it may also possible to book a night time shuttle, check with us. The third option is to book accommodation at Medlands beach, see options below. And the last but not least option is to rent a Motu bike. This would mean you'd come to look at the stars on a bike charged by the sun!
It is also possible to book a Private Dark Sky Experience. If you do this, we will come to you, either at your accommodation, or a suitable place close by. The added bonus is that you will have us to yourself.
Consider renting a car with one of our local companies. In a 4WD care you can travel down gravel roads. We therefore recommend this if you want to explore the island.
Motu bikes rents out ebikes, charged by the sun. What a great way to get to your stargazing adventure!
Where to stay on Great Barrier Island for a group experience
There are many different types of accommodation on our island. Our group experience is normally on Medlands Beach. So for this experience, this is recommended accommodation close-by:
Medlands Beach Backpackers & Villas
Great value and friendly accommodation. It's recommended for backpackers, independent travellers, couples, families and groups.
Where to stay on Great Barrier Island for a private experience
If you choose a Heavens Above Private Dark Sky Experience, we come to you. Or we may find a location close to your accommodation if possible. If there is no suitable location close to your accommodation, we will usually ask you to come to Medlands Beach with your group.
The following places have great views of the sky and/or great viewing decks. They are suitable for private experiences:
Super comfortable self-contained apartment XSPOT is a great choice for just the two of you. Its because it's stunningly located for view over the Hauraki Gulf and the stars. Note that in winter, it offers private stargazing experiences at a reduced rate. For this, please enquire with the owner, via the website.
WaiOra Beach Retreat
WaiOra Beach Retreat offers homely comfort. It is located in the sand dunes of Medlands beach and has a peaceful rural outlook and attractive gardens. In addition, it offers various types of accommodation: Homestay style B&B, Holiday home or a self-contained Garden Chalet.
Situated in Medlands Beach, Aotea, 175° East has three luxury rural beach houses for short term holiday stay. The houses are spread out over 14 acres of north-facing land with pockets of native bush at your door step. You can drive to the house of your choice and enjoy a sustainable stay with solar as our main energy source. Bob and Lyn are your welcoming hosts.
Group and private locations along Medlands Beach
Good Heavens are one of very few companies in the world to offer a stargazing experience by the sea. Most Good Heavens' Experiences take place along Medlands Beach, so you'll usually be within a 10 min. walk of our main group location at Twin Pines when staying at Medlands. Private experiences need accommodation with a clear view of the sky, or we can meet your group somewhere along the beach.
Other activities on Great Barrier Island
If you like nature there is so much to do on Great Barrier Island. The island has a varied landscape. Therefor your options are virtually endless. Below are a few examples. Also check our destination website for more ideas.
Make the journey part of the adventure. If you want to make the most of exploring one of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes in Aotearoa... Another great way to get to your stargazing adventure on Great Barrier Island.