How to get to Great Barrier Island
Good Heavens operate on the beautiful and remote Great Barrier Island, and amazing destination, accessible by a plane or ferry from Auckland, New Zealand. Lying 88km northeast of Auckland, getting here is part of the adventure! And sometimes getting back is, too. Allow plenty of connection time to your international flight.
Once you have landed, to enjoy a Dark Sky Experience, you will want (and need) to stay overnight. In fact, we recommend you stay at least 2 nights, to have more chance of a clear night and a successful experience. But you needn’t worry about getting bored as there is plenty of exploring to do on Great Barrier Island.
FlyMySky have flights to Great Barrier Island from Auckland Domestic Airport, which is within walking distance or a short shuttle ride from Auckland International Airport. Their scenic flights over the Hauraki Gulf in 8-seater planes take around half an hour. FMS fly to Great Barrier Island and back seven days a week, which means you can get to this island paradise whenever YOU want to go.
There are flights to Great Barrier Island from Auckland Domestic Airport, which is within walking distance or a short shuttle ride from Auckland International Airport. Their scenic flights over the Hauraki Gulf in 8 or 15 seater planes take around half an hour. Barrier Air also have charter flight options available and offer flights to/from Kaitaia and the North Shore Aerodrome.
The ferry sails 3 times a week in winter and 6 times a week in 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, especially when the sea is calm and sun is shining. On this sailing there is a good chance that you will see dolphins.
Transport on Great Barrier Island
There is one bus service a day, from the south to the north of the island and back. This service operates during the day and is not suitable for our Dark Sky Experiences. If you are coming on a Look Up and Get Lost Experience at Medlands beach, we recommend that you either rent a car, or book accommodation at Medlands beach.
The alternative is to book a Heavens Above Private Dark Sky Experience where we will come to you, either at your accommodation, or a suitable Llocation close by. The added bonus is that you will have us to yourself.
Great Barrier Buses and Aotea rentals, as part of their service offer the only regular island wide daily bus run leaving Tryphena at 9.45 and returning leaving Port Fitzroy at 11am. This service also transports the Fitzroy mail, papers and small freight.
Where to stay on Great Barrier Island for a group experience
There are many different types of accommodation on Great Barrier Island. Our Look Up and Get Lost Group Experience typically operates from Medlands Beach. So if this is your preferred experience, here are some recommended accommodation options in the neighbourhood:
Medlands Beach Lodge
Premium New Zealand bed and breakfast on Great Barrier Island, footsteps from the sand.
Medlands Beach Backpackers
Great value accommodation for backpackers, independent travellers, couples, families, small and large groups.
Where to stay on Great Barrier Island for a private experience
If you choose a Heavens Above Private Dark Sky Experience, the following places have great views of the sky and/or have great viewing decks:
Modern, light and self-contained XSPOT offers Heavens Above Experiences at a reduced rate to guests in our NZ winter.
Come and enjoy solitude and amazing views. Fully unwind. Stay a weekend or a week.
WaiOra Beach Retreat
Right on the beachfront, WaiOra Beach Retreat offers homely comfort, with a peaceful rural outlook and attractive gardens. Choose from Homestay style B&B, Holiday home or Self-contained Garden Chalet.
Other activities on Great Barrier Island
Great Barrier Island is a very natural environment. Many activities are nature based. There are fantastic walks over well maintained tracks from fifteen minutes to three days in duration, and through wildly varying landscapes. Some with sea views, some with bush views, so with both. Walks to water falls and walks to hot pools. There are also many lonely beaches to explore, all around the island. We wonder what you favourite beach will be...
The thermal hot pools are also a favourite destination. A 45 minute almost level walk through lush bush will get you there. If you like shopping, there is a thriving artist community here, too, and quite a few funky galleries dotted around Tryphena, and the largest one in the centre of the island, in Claris. We've highlighted a few more activities below. Also have a look at the official Great Barrier website.