Great Barrier Island is reputed for its white sandy beaches but the island has many other assets. The mountain there offers hikers many hours of nature walks. Great Barrier Forest is an 80,000 ha natural reserve, criss-crossed by panoramic paths, where you can see hot water springs and forests. But for surfing fans, the East coast is the ideal place. This island will be a delight to anyone seeking peace and quiet as it only holds non-tarmacked roads and a few shops. It is at a 2 hour ferry ride from Auckland.