Saturday, April 16, 2011

Great Barrier Island

Just a few weeks ago I retuned to the New Zealand mainland from Great Barrier Island after almost a month and a half, and what an unbelievable experience it was, it was the most beautiful and isolated place i've ever been.  The entire island is "off the grid" so everyone who lives there uses some combination of solar panels, windmills, hydroelectric dams, solar hot water heaters, and generators to power their homes and small number of shops and restaurants.  This among other factors give the island a simplicity and laid-backness.  Tim and I spent most of our time there surfing the most epic spot called Okiwi, they say that the waves are "world class" and they definitely are. We had many days of perfectly clean overhead barrels, it was unreal.  We also did loads of fishing and speardiving, catching our food for the night and continuing to live the simplest life possible just getting down with nature.  Did lots of kayaking and hiking as well, which was amazing, very beautiful, meditative, and awakening walks through native forests and epic and relaxing paddles as well.  So many of these places we went to were so insanely beautiful that they suck you in and captivate you like an energy vortex, it is so amazing. It was really a trip filled with beauty, nature, great waves, catching food, and simple living. So Great!  I took so many pictures that I have to break them up by region of the island.  The first, Haratonga, was where we spent our first night on the island and returned again to experience the natural and beautiful setting of the campground and the unbelievable hiking trails along the coast.  This is also from where we launched our kayak to paddle nearly 20km around Arid island (Rakitu) and the eastern coastline.  Views of Arid island are also included, the island has a U-shape in the middle, and there are three families that live there permanently.

The second, Awana, was another amazing campground, where we stayed.  There were many breathtaking views here making it one of the many unbelievable GBI Vortexes.  

Next, is all the photos from the many hikes we did up and around Mt Hobson (Hirakimata) as well as to waterfalls and hot springs.  

All of the Nature and Wildlife shots are next.  Each plant and remarkable view I saw, seemed to have a character and spirit of its own..

Okiwi is where we spent most of our time on The Barrier.  The campsite is surrounded by Whangapoua estuary and on the other side is the beach and surf break.  Offshore you can see the rocky point where the waves break, and beyond that the side of Arid Island, looking so majestic in the distance.  Towards the end of the slideshow are pictures from our hikes just north of Okiwi where we walked through farmland trying to discover some new beaches and interesting places, I think we found some pretty good ones!  And of course the many amazing sunsets, full moons, and sunrises,  that we experienced there.  

 Next, is Port Fitzroy, where we did most of our fishing and diving.  We also got to travel by boat to one of the "Broken Islands" where we helped place and set rat traps to help in their eradication from the island in hopes of one day being able to have native birds return there.

Lastly, are all the other amazing beaches and bays where we went to camp, go fishing, and hang out and enjoy the spectacular views! What an amazingly beautiful place GBI is!

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