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Imagine pristine white-sand beaches empty of people, lush mountains, and a vast network of walking tracks. Add rare birds and plant life, a permanent population of less than 1,000, and a seductive, laid-back lifestyle, and you have New Zealand's fourth-largest landmass, Great Barrier Island. The Department of Conservation administers over 70% of the island, and locals like to say that there are more conservationists per square inch than anywhere else in New Zealand.

This seductive paradise is the place if you're looking for a unique New Zealand wilderness experience. It's New Zealand as it used to be - all 285 sq. km (111 sq. miles) of it. It's isolated, yet it's only a 35-minute plane ride from our biggest city. It's a place the locals call "the Barrier" and I call "heaven." Get yourself there and you'll remember it forever.