To arrive on Great Barrier is like stepping back in time. Although the main roads from Claris to Tryphena are now paved, there isn't any mains power, or piped water. Residents either have solar panels and/or generators or do without. There are some private dams, but the majority of people collect rainwater and store it in tanks.
For these reasons Great Barrier Island is the place to go when you want to slow down and enjoy life.
There are a few things to remember:
- Back in time, cash was the way to go and there are no banks on the island. However, transactions can also be done through online banking. Or if you have an NZ bank account, some places accept EFTPOS. A very few places accept credit cards, but only Visa or MasterCard.
- It's great to get away from ringing phones, but, if you do need to stay in touch, remember that there is very little coverage for cell phones. Only Spark is available at Manuka Lodge, but Vodafone/2° are available a short drive away.
- Because everything must be transported to the island, food and drink is expensive. If you are coming to stay for any length of time, it is best to bring what you can with you. However, on flights your luggage (total checked and cabin) is restricted to 15kg.
- You can bring your vehicle over by ferry but, depending on your length of stay, it may work out cheaper to hire a car. There are plenty available, but it's best to pre-book. Both diesel and 91 octane are available.
- Get into the spirit of the island by not bringing any power hungry devices such as hair dryers/straighteners or coffee machines.