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Little Barrier Island, (Te Hauturu-o-Toi), the resting place of the wind – is the gold standard for predator free New Zealand and our jewel in the crown for conservation.
Situated off the north eastern coast of New Zealand's North Island & located 80 kilometres to the north of Auckland, the island is separated from the mainland to the west by Jellicoe Channel, and from the larger Great Barrier Island to the east by Cradock Channel. The two aptly named islands shelter the Hauraki Gulf from many of the storms of the Pacific Ocean.
The island is now a nature sanctuary created in 1897 which has been described by the MBIE as "the most intact [native] ecosystem in New Zealand". Breeding programs for many endangered native species, including the New Zealand storm petrel are in operation on the island.
Looking as if this was from the movie set from Jurassic Park, the island is an extinct andesitic volcanic cone, roughly circular in shape, about 6 km across, with an area of 28 km2. Its earliest volcanic activity is estimated to have occurred 3 million years ago and the latest 1.2 million years ago. The volcano is most closely related to two volcanoes over 120 km northwest, near Whangarei. The island is steeply sloping, and deeply dissected by ravines radiating from a central range that peaks at Mount Hauturu whose altitude is 722 m.
The diving here is vast and spectacular comprising of walls that surround a plateau, huge pinnacles and boulder reefs to drop offs and sheltered bays that create suntraps.
Bryde's whales, Orcas and Bottlenose dolphins live in the waters around the island. Blue and Southern Right whales rest in this area during migration. In 2012, there were reports that a Southern Right whale may have calved near the island. The area is also frequented by migrating Hammerhead sharks in the summer season that come here to feed and bask in the calm water. In 2016 saw Manta rays swimming and feeding in the Jellicoe channel just alongside the island.
There is pretty much something for all levels of divers and the marine ecosystem is very healthy presenting a vast array of fish species. Blue Mau Mau shoal in large numbers and Kingfish are always nearby.
If you are into diving & love the diversity of marine life then Little Barrier should be high on your list.
To get to Little Barrier involves a simple journey by boat straight out from Omaha for 40min.
There is no access to the island so all food & water needs to be taken with you. Even for non-divers, the ambience of the island is breath taking.
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