First Impressions 1.1

The paper work has all been completed a couple of weeks ago but it wasn’t until now that I had the appropriate time to go to Great Barrier Island, and to take on first impressions of the beautiful piece of land that is partly mine. I tell you now, I am starting to feel the adventurous journey that lies ahead of me and it will take some time until I get to know the land well. I took the Sealink ferry over and stayed at friends for 3 nights. We sailed past Channel Island, a tiny island in the middle of the channel between Great Barrier Island and Cape Colville at the tip of the Coromandel Peninsular.

Channel Island

The day was overcast and quite warm for late May and I only managed to take an unspectacular picture of the approach to Tryphena Harbour at the southern end of Great Barrier Island. Tryphena is the largest settlement on the island but more about that in future blogs. This one is about the two days I spent hiking and exploring the land, taking pictures, familiarizing myself with the cardinal points and taking GPS markers and routes.

On the way to Tryphena Harbour

After a 30 to 40 minute walk from my friends place in Mullbery Grove I arrived on the designated house site of the land. Wow, I have been here several times before for inspection, this time however it is different. There is a greater sense of belonging and happiness for my part; I sat down and enjoyed the views for a long time, on several occasions. Seaviews to the South and West, and views of Tea tree and scrub covered hills to the West and North. The following 4 pictures show southern, western, nothern and eastern vistas.


The property used to be farmed in the days and as such still shows partial fencing. I followed the entire stretch of wire fencing uphill from the Southern to the Northern boundary peg, crossing a creek at about 80 meters in. It has a steady flow of good quality water and one of my next missions will be finding the source of it, which should be on the Eastern sides of the hills.

Thirsty anyone?

The fence line and former paths were quite overgrown and it proved exhausting at stages to move ahead on steep gradients through the dense bush. I finally reached the Northern boundary peg, which is on the ridge of the hill ranges at around 250 meters, 100 meters higher than the house site. I inspected this peg on a previous trip together with my neighbor, this time, however, I found a spot from which I could see the windmill. The views – reaching to Square Top Island, Fletcher’s Bay, Port Jackson and Channel Island, – together with the feeling of seclusion were just spectacular. The wind pressed against the canopy of Tea trees and circulated in the hill ranges. I spent around an hour here, taking in the moment and some lunch.

The yellow dot marks the house site.

Being on the ridge I tried to follow it to the Eastern boundary peg. The area was quite overgrown and it was difficult at times to stay on a bearing without ending up in steep and dense bush area. There were a few paths, paved in by wild pigs that were also covered with fresh excrement and sleeping holes. Pig hunting with a knife and dog is a sport in New Zealand and I am looking forward to this experience.

Quite fresh pig shit.

I followed the pig paths until it got quite steep and the fence line disappeared. There was a feeling of suspense in the air, because I couldn’t see any horizon through the bush and finding paths became more a guess work than anything else. After hearing pigs grunting I decided to turn back and follow the same route I came.

Would you stay calm if a wild bore charged you here?

I spent some time measuring up the abandoned, small A-Frame building and observing tree lines, the drive way and scanning the house site, which appears to have a lot of history, with old retaining walls, overgrown pathways and terraces made of stones that are abundantly present.

Plenty of them...

There are remainders of orchards and gardens; I definitely need to get me a good weed-eater and chain saw to get the house site back into order.

The scheduled sailing from Tryphena to Auckland on Friday was canceled due to bad weather and I decided to fly back. Flying to Great Barrier Island is an experience like sailing in itself and we reached North Shore Airfield in a record time of 25 minutes with 30-40 knots of tail wind. The trip was emotional and informative, I had the chance to introduce myself to a couple of the islanders and am looking forward to shifting over permanently to Great Barrier Island in a few weeks.

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