The island’s green and sustainability movement is well established. Locals have to produce their own energy, clean water and deal with any waste. Solar panels provide the electricity. At my accommodation, Bob and Tipi’s Waterfront Lodge, they turn off the wall sockets at certain times of the day and overnight. If you visit, you’ll need to plan ahead for charging your electronic devices.
Maire Burns and Phil Judd
“Luckily I had the right accent so we decided to open an Irish pub.” It’s friendly, has a very traditional feel with regular music and events. When I visited they had a party, watching the Eurovision Song Contest on satellite TV! The bar food is superb – go for the seafood chowder with homemade rye bread. “We grow all our own herbs and we’re lucky to get lots of fresh seafood here,” said Maire, as she gave me a tour of her impressive pub garden.
Things grow well in this climate. I went to watch olives being harvested on the steep hillside at Earthsong Lodge. Owner Trevor Rendell was a chief purser for Air New Zealand and now runs the small and exclusive, luxury three-suite lodge, where well-heeled guests fly in by helicopter from Auckland.
Olive picking at Earthsong Lodge
Great Barrier Island will give you a very different view of New Zealand. The scenery is amazing, the peace and quiet is refreshing and it’s the perfect place to come for a few days if you want to get away from it all. It’s not a high-end luxury island (apart from Earthsong Lodge) – the accommodation is basic but comfortable. It’s the perfect place to bring kids if you want a safe ‘Swallows and Amazons’ style activity holiday, based around hiking, beaches or the water.
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