Island Paradise – Live For Free On Great Barrier

Ever dreamt of living on an Island far away for more than a mere holiday? Taking it easy on a secluded, beautiful, golden beach, reconnecting with nature, enjoying and acknowledging the moment, and finding the right time, space and surroundings to plan your next move in life.

In A Nutshell

I thought I start off with the most important information. Hopefully you read the rest…

  • You Must Be Honest, Easygoing, Reliable & Responsible
  • Free Accommodation In Your Own Small House
  • Free Meals Every Day (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner) & Drinking Water
  • Free Pick Up/Drop Off (Tryphena Wharf or Claris Airport)
  • Work Less Than 4 Hours per Day In Return
  • Work Less If You Buy Own Food
  • Flexible Working Times / You Can Take Days Off To Explore
  • There Are NO ATMS on GBI
  • Minimum Stay Is 7 Days / You Can Stay Much Longer
  • Any Questions? Ask Me

Free Meals & Accommodation

Great Barrier Island (Motu Aotea) is one of the largest islands of New Zealand, totally off grid, undoubtedly an Island Paradise at the edge of the Hauraki Gulf, with a population density of less than 3 per square kilometre..

BENIsLAND offers a peculiar opportunity for independent people who can make their way to Grear Barrier Island and are keen to experience living on a remote, rugged, beautiful and off grid Island first hand:

Yes, get out of your routine, change your surrounding and experience something new. Learn new skills, learn about yourself and make a tangible difference in someone elseโ€™s life.

What you’ll get

The opportunity to live out that aforementioned dream without the usual financial strings attached, and learn from a person courageous and fortunate enough to make such a dream reality.

Free accommodation on BENIsLAND, an 80 acre bush block in the hills of Tryphena, be it in a historic and run-down A-Frame building and/or camping with style in total privacy. My place is modest, the A-Frame is dry, has 12 V lighting, a wood burner for heating and drinking water. The bedroom is upstairs. You’ll have the A-Frame to yourself. I provide three simple meals per day, not simpler than the food I eat myself though and can pick you up from the wharf (Tryphena) or airport (Claris).

The property has permanent streams, a rich and diverse flora and fauna, offers superb bush hiking on uncut paths and scenic viewpoints, is very private, but only 2 km from the main centre in Tryphena. Here, you’ll find people, a cafe, pub, shop, post shop and beaches. Further, Tryphena is the biggest settlement on the Island and the ideal area to get a lift to anywhere on the Island.

What you’ll do

In exchange for free accommodation and meals, you’ll ‘work’ less than four hours per day. Such an arrangement is often referred to as WWOOFING, i.e. willing workers on organic farms. The work is unpaid and you won’t require a work visa/permit. What you’ll do depends on your skills, motivation and what you’re willing to do. Basically, I need you to help me out with regular tasks like:

organic gardening, composting, landscaping, cooking, cleaning, property maintenance, building, track and fire wood cutting, feeding and looking after animals, pruning and feeding fruit trees, etc.. I am easy going though, so feel free to surprise me. For instance, I certainly wouldn’t mind having a wood carving or other pieces of art produced by you.

There are also various projects in the areas of alternative power, outdoor cooking and bathing areas, natural shelters, building a dam, a dwelling from rocks and conservation in general.

As long as what you do either reduces my daily work load and/or creates a lasting and useful addition to my property, I’m happy.

Who you are

One or two independent people who are fit enough to walk 2 km uphill. This is important as access to and from BENIsLAND is mainly on foot. By independent I mean that you know how to spend your free time. Further, you need to be honest, reliable and easygoing.

What you have to know

Feel free to ask me anything you want about BENIsLAND and I will answer honestly.ย  I stress again, that you must be independent, honest, reliable and easygoing. I’ve written some generic information about Aotea which you should read as well.

BENIsLAND is not a resort, the grounds are not manicured, the tracks get muddy when it rains and if you just wander into the bush you will get lost. Moreover, the sun doesn’t always shine in paradise. It can get ugly and at times isolated here, rainy days, storms, sometimes bad enough so that the ferry can’t come in.

You will find life on BENIsLAND simpler and more modest than what you are accustomed to. In general, this is good, as you will both appreciate those things that you take for granted and learn that you do not need much to be happy.

How long can you stay?

Well, that’s a tricky one. I would like for you to stay at least a week, but you can stay longer. Further, I am happy to arrange a contact with other local Islanders who offer free accommodation and meals.

Since it is you who is coming over, you need to ask the right questions, to avoid disappointment. I will not put up with anyone who is useless or does not have the characteristics I mentioned.

About Me

3 4 years ago, I purchased a big block of land on Great Barrier Island and have been living here ever since. I blog on about my life and my land, have a professional background in science and teaching, and live out a dream that I always had. I speak Farsi, German and English.

Would you like to know more, read this (About) and/or contact me.


You may contact me via the contact form on this web page. Please tell me about yourself (yourselves), who you are, when you could come over, how long you intend to stay, provide an email address and ask questions.

Cheers, Ben

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