Aboard the 9-passenger Cessna Grand Caravan we had a scenic ride with views of the islands dotting the Hauraki Gulf. After thirty minutes we swooped over the sandy shoreline and landed on a grass runway. Welcome to Claris!
We quickly dropped our luggage at Medlands Beach Backpackers and walked down the hill to Medlands Beach. The ocean was chilly but enticing. Minutes later we were swimming among the stingrays and pink jellyfish.
On Saturday we drove to Tryphena for their weekly market which consisted of a few stalls set up outside the general store and cafe. Over the next two days we drove around Great Barrier Island, stopping for bush walks, a picnic on the beach, a swim in a waterfall and a tramp to natural hot pools. Exploring the isle on foot is the best way to experience the vistas, flora and fauna (mostly birds), and for me is preferable to driving along winding, often unpaved, roads.
Great Barrier Island is off the grid. Water in the taps is collected rainfall, electricity is solar powered & wind generated, and internet signals are a rare find. It is the perfect spot for stargazing and waking up to noisy roosters. Before I knew it, we were flying back to the Big Smoke. We were blessed with smooth scenic flights in both direction, but I imagine it is a white-knuckle trip in the wind and rain.
Dates: 16-18 December 2016
Travel with: Allen & the Marshalls
Weather: beautiful, sunny 60s with breezes
Accommodation: Medlands Beach Backpackers
- swimming with stingrays & jellyfish at Medlands Beach
- Harataonga Loop Track (1 hr) and picnic on the beach. Saw wood pigeon & brown teal/pateke.
- Warrens Track & swim in the waterfall (45 minute loop)
- Tramline Track and waterfall with mozzies (1 hr return)
- Hot pools walk (2 hours return)
Food & Drink:
- Stonewall (general) Store, Tryphena sells anything you forgot to bring at a premium.
- Wild Rose Cafe, Tryphena
- My Fat Puku, Claris
- Port Fitzroy General Store
- BYO meals from home
Transportation: 30-minute flight in Cessna Grand Caravan (C208) with Barrier Air; Medlands Rental Cars