Three Years In!

Well! The last blog – amazingly enough was published in October 2017. What’s amazing about that? The fact that more than three years has passed since we set about this enormous undertaking!

Those previously mentioned amazing locals – we actually know them now, have formed some incredible relationships, had some amazing experiences, seen some blinding fortitude, strength, generosity and the kind of genuineness that can only be found in a small community. And even experienced the pain of losing a couple of those people.

Having a proper hectic start to any new situation is often referred to as a ‘baptism of fire’. And let me tell you why that particular phrase really resonates with the family who operate Great Barrier Wheels. One year, and 1 day after embarking on this journey, our home, also our place of work burnt down – not quite to the ground mind, just enough to force us out of both. Problem number 1 – where to live? Problem number 2 – where to operate from? Answer – we took up residence in a yurt, our fleet repositioned, and our guests met at the airport. Two years later, we’re still working on the medium to long term solution! But we’re here – literally, there, and everywhere!

In advance I want to raise a glass to 2021 in the hopes we can coerce it to complete itself without any disaster, natural or unnatural.

One of my favourite things about Aotea.. not the beauty – that’s visible, not the pace – cos it’s not as slow as you might think! Not being off-the-grid (although it has the power to make you feel superhuman when you think you’ve conquered it, only to size you appropriately down again when the next challenge presents!). Is it’s eclectic nature, and equally eclectic people. There’s a saying on the island (I may have had a hand in it’s creation), and that is ‘perhaps the island’s just not for you’.

With this in mind, this is an off-the-grid destination, accept it for not being as convenient, not flooded with cell coverage, less readily available wi-fi connectivity, and less immediate resources. Trust that 9 out of 10 locals, accommodation providers, car rental operators and shuttle drivers will do everything they can to make this transition as easy as possible for you. Couple this with breathtaking beauty, the most incredible view of the heavens, nature at your finger tips, and your expectations will met met. Let’s be honest… all the above are contributing factors of life less complicated, which presumably, you’re looking for in a holiday – no?

Let me ask this – never mind the meaning of the universe, but how do you make the sun shine, and the rain pour at the same time? To power and to supply precious water… yaaaaa don’t. And that, is the challenge of living off-the-grid. We do it every day, by choice and grow as individuals from doing so. The invitation is there for you too, to visit and enjoy, come with expectations that can be met – and your time here will warm the cockles of your soul. (Yes, I know it’s heart, but that’s a bit mushy!)

Welcome to Our Blog

It’s pretty simple on the island – figuratively, and literally speaking!
Amazing people, experienced and eclectic in their mix. Who loves a good yarn, give you a wave every time you pass on narrow roads that add an element of excitement to every day.
Amenities… forget the convenience of your local metropolitan area – this is a plan in advance world. Aotea is off the grid – and wildly proud of it! Every residence is (leagues ahead of city dwelling grid power – it’s amazing what necessity will force people to get used to), equipped with solar panels, and a line of batteries, just in case.
Despite this off the grid status, it’s amazing what you will actually find, especially during the Summer season. Gourmet burgers, milkshake bars, fishing and tackle – of course, fishing charters, fine dining, bars, off-licences, tours, one of the most beautiful night skies the world over, the single most important (we think so anyway), as there’s no public transport at all, so we provide an invaluable service for the Island, and it’s visitors – Rental cars!!!! And a shuttle service… until you’re familiar with it, Great Barrier can be a little hard to get around.
Very soon you’ll feel at home, the locals will yarn, the friendly ‘driving waves’ will happen, the long stretches of beaches will speak to your soul, and you’ll be planning your next visit even before you leave! When you do dear reader, we look forward to meeting you at Great Barrier Wheels, cars, pickups, drop offs, relocation, meet and greets at the Claris airport or Tryphena wharf.
‘Just turn left out of the airport’… it’s a tagline to remember!! Because just 100m from the airport door your chariot awaits!