Great Barrier Island (often colloquially just The Barrier) is a large island off New Zealand, situated 100 km to the north-east of central Auckland in the outer Hauraki Gulf.
With an area of 285 km² it is the fourth-largest island of New Zealand's main chain of islands, with its highest point, Mount Hobson, rising 621 m.
With a maximum length (north-south) of some 43 km, it (and the Coromandel Peninsula directly to its south) protect the gulf from the storms of the Pacific Ocean to the east with highly contrasting coastal environments.
The eastern coast comprises long, clear beaches, windswept sand-dunes, and heavy surf.
While the western coast, sheltered and calm, is home to hundreds of tiny, secluded bays which offer some of the best diving and boating in the country.
The inland holds several large and biologically diverse wetlands as well as rugged and hillcountry (bush or heath in the more exposed heights) as well as various second and old-growth kauri forests.
Great Barrier Island in 2006 had a permanent population of around 850, primarily in coastal settlements such as Tryphena, the largest settlement in Tryphena Harbour at the southern end of the island.
Other communities are Okupu, Whangaparapara, Port Fitzroy, Claris and Kaitoke.
There is no central power on the island, and houses require their own generators.
There is also extensive use of solar water heating, solar panels for electricity and wind-powered generators on the island.
From the end of February 2007, the island was seen around the world as the setting for the BBC One reality show, Castaway, which was filmed there for three months.
For more information about Great Barrier Island see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This page was retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Barrier_Island) see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, December 2008.
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).
This information was correct in December 2008. E. & O.E.
Hui Chin and I spent a few days on Great Barrier Island a few weeks before Christmas in 2008, driving around exploring the beauty of the place and getting to know some of it's very friendly residents.
The whole island is very much a conservationist paradise, bar a couple of very noticeable problems, the natural kauri forest was almost all got chopped down and shipped to the mainland, the other one is the many abandoned car wrecks littering the otherwise beautiful natural scenery.
Hui Chin and I have really enjoyed the island's natural beauty and the local people's friendliness and hospitality.
Thank you very much, you nice people, God Bless you all.
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