Things to see & do on Great Barrier

Destinations > Discover Great Barrier > Things to see & do


There are three main surf beaches on the East coast of Great Barrier – Medlands, Whangapoua and Awana.

Medlands Beach is an exposed beach break close to Tryphena, that has reliable surf at any time of the year. The best wind direction is from the southwest with a northeast swell. At the southern end, there is a popular right hand break called ‘shark alley’. Even when there are waves it’s not likely to be crowded here.

Awana Bay is a beach break on a sandy beach ideal for intermediate to expert surfers.  At the northern end, at the river mouth there is a good left hander.  If you prefer a good right hander you will find one at the southern end of the beach.

Whangapoua is located near the Okiwi airstrip and offers both right and left handers up the beach. The main break is the right hander on the river mouth at the southern end of the beach. The waves are punchy and hollow, with barrels on offer.

Surfers heading out for a surf

Auckland Sea Kayaks

Sea kayaking around Great Barrier Island is as good as it gets for sea kayakers. It's home to natural rugged beauty and untouched wilderness. Great Barrier Island is one of the most tranquil and unspoiled places you’ll ever find. On this trip you will discover the island’s golden beaches, crystal-clear waters and vast native forests – on Great Barrier Island, nature is king.

Kayaks on beach

The Currach Irish Pub 

Iconic pub/restaurant. Great atmosphere, great food and great fun. Rated by Trip Advisor as the best place to eat on the Barrier. Craft beers.  Live music & musicians welcomed.

Currach Irish Pub

Go Great Barrier Island - Tours

With over 27 years experience on this unique island paradise we really know our way around!…. And providing quality island tours and excursions for couples, families and larger travel groups is definitely our passion and our pleasure. We specialise in customising tours to suit the interests and fitness levels of our clients. All our tours come with a friendly and informative commentary that will give you a great insight into the Barrier lifestyle both past and present. Take advantage of our local knowledge and let us show you the very best of Great Barrier Island.

Go Great Barrier Island Tours

Good Heavens - Dark Sky Experiences

Good Heavens is a group of trained Dark Sky Ambassadors, ready to guide you through the stars and planets on Great Barrier Island. Great Barrier Island is one of five Dark Sky Sanctuaries in the world, and one of only two island sanctuaries, in the world. Away from the lights of the big city and as an off-the-grid island, our light pollution is minimal. Our dark skies are superb.

Hear the sea whisper in the back ground, look up at the stars and let a passionate Good Heavens guide illuminate you on some of the magical things visible in the beautiful night sky of this Dark Sky Sanctuary.

Check out the great packages to fulfill your starry dream.

Good heavens Dark sky night photo by Mark Russell

Not sure where to stay on Great Barrier Island? Check out the best places to relax and unwind on the Barrier here.