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30 minutes from paradise: Great Barrier Island

Around mid-November/early December every year, the New Zealand temperature starts to rise to a point where there is no need for jumpers or jeans but sarongs and sun block.

We live for this time of year, those endless days of sunshine and long summer nights.

Every year around Christmas my family, friends and I immigrate to Great Barrier Island for the summer. We spend our summer in our baches dotted along the narrow gravel road that hugs the horse shoe shape of our magical bay.

We take a 30-minute flight out to Barrier on a small 10-seater plane. You get this sense of relaxation when the Island comes into sight, that feeling of being home. Flying over Matt and I are checking the surf to see which banks are working so we know where to head once we land. The anticipation that we will soon be running along our track and into the water is hard to control.

The plane descends over that tropical blue water where on a clear day you can spot the school sharks sun bathing in the shallows. Crossing over the white sand dunes and onto the runway where the touch of the wheels on the tarmac jolts you away from your thoughts. 

One thing that draws us to spend our summer on this island is the simplistic way of life you adapt when out here. You have no other place to be but living in each and every moment you get. The Barrier allows you to put your phone of flight mode and throw it in the draw. Time is no issue out here, unless you need to catch the tide for the surf. 

Lazy afternoons are spent roaming the beach hanging out with friends having post-surf debriefs on who got the best wave or landed the new manoeuvre.

Our days consist of roaming the beach, surf checks, surfing and laughter.

Out here, the smaller bach and the older your car, the more you are going to fit. The types of people barrier attract are the ones that want to escape that competition of comparing what you have to everyone else. Baches are small as they are purely for shelter when it rains. Out here, having an indoor toilet is a luxury and an outdoor shower is customary.

Spending a summer out on Barrier truly cleanses your mind from all things … you don’t over think things, and you just go with what is happening. Life is slow on the island; everybody arrives a bit fresh and it can take time, but you learn to go at the pace. There are no traffic lights or round-a-bouts and everyone waves when passing each other on the roads. There is no place quite like it. 

It is during special moments and the simplistic way of life out on Barrier that allow you to be able to stop and appreciate the smaller things in life that we often overlook and take for granted. I am very fortune to only live a 30-minute plan ride away from my idea of paradise.

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