Island Life…What it’s Like Living on a Remote Island

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Great Barrier Island Centre Manager, Gemma Parkin (pictured left) gives us some insight into life on the gorgeous Great Barrier Island…

You live on Great Barrier Island! Really? All the time?

People are often surprised that the Hillary Outdoor crew live ON Great Barrier Island permanently, which also prompts lots of questions about Island life. Here are a few of the common questions and our usual answers?…

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A fun event with the Hillary Outdoors Team

What do you do for fun?

The island is an amazing playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Hillary Outdoors staff spend their weekends surfing, kayaking, diving, running, fishing and biking, just to name a few options. Most weekends we struggle to decide from all the great options.

Where do you get your groceries from?

Countdown online shopping, the same as folks in Auckland might. The only difference is our deliveries are every week in summer and every two weeks in winter and groceries arrive by boat. Most people grow their own fruit and veggies, (the climate is ideal for a thriving garden), or purchase them from the on-island organic grower. Delivery fees are a bit more expensive!

Is there a petrol station?

Yes, 4 in fact. A litre of 91 will set you back about $2.60

So it’s expensive to live on the island?

No not at all, because shops are less accessible people do much less impulse buying. And yes petrol costs more but you never drive very far.

Does it ever get lonely?

No, Great Barrier is a really friendly place with a great community feel. It’s awesome to live in a place where you know your neighbours (and most of the other people in the community). There’s always a gathering, BBQ or game of volleyball happening somewhere to get involved in.

Is there anything challenging about living on Great Barrier?

Sometimes, especially during the winter months, the weather gets a little too rough for the ferry to come and we get cut off for a while. Occasionally its 4 weeks between groceries and other supplies arriving, but people are prepared for this and accept it’s part of living in a remote place.

What’s different about living on Great Barrier?

It’s total off the grid living, there is no mains power, water or sewage. On the plus side we don’t get power cuts!