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“Off the grid and disappointing”

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Great Barrier Lodge
GreenLeadersBronze level
Reviewed 9 February 2014

Truly off the grid. No cell phone, no internet, no paved road, no food alternatives. This is a bach with a bar. There is little provision for guests. The restaurant is open for only a few days a week and when closed there are no alternatives. While other parts of the island have cell coverage this place does not. I found it quite below par.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank waiake1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ian and Erica A, Manager at Great Barrier Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 11 February 2014

Hi AppleJuice12,
Thank you for taking the time to review us here at Great Barrier Lodge. We all are very disappointed that we did not meet your expectations. I would like however to clarify a few things.
1.Our Restaurant is open 7 days from mid December to the end of January and then it is open Tuesday to Saturday, 5 days. This is clearly mentioned on our website and all staff are trained to advise you on check in of this fact.
2. On both Sunday and Monday night there are alternatives for dining, the Golf Club a short drive away does awesome fish and chips on Sunday, and the Currach Irish Pub is also open, on Mondays you can dine at the Social Clubs movie night, or as all of our rooms have self catering facilities you can purchase supplies form our shop or the other stores and cook for yourself.
3 We have satellite internet and is available to guests/visitors at a small cost.
4 Mobile phone coverage is available here at Whangaparapara if you have a Vodafone phone, the coverage is limited in the Lodge, however full coverage is available at the Wharf a short walk away.
5 Off the Grid, we are extremely proud of the fact that we are off the grid,and are striving towards environmental sustainability.To enable this we have made a considerable investment to ensure we always have power for our guest's, we also collect our own water, process our waste water on site and recycle the greater percentage of our rubbish/waste.
6 What sets our island apart is it's unspoiled natural beauty, abundant wildlife(including rare and endangered species), fabulous fishing,diving and beaches.

Again thanks for taking the time to review us, enjoy your future travels !

Cheers Archie

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44 - 50 of 80 reviews

Reviewed 23 January 2014

We visited the lodge for lunch and dinner only, we were staying else where. The food and hospitality was wonderful. There are lovely sea veiws, the building is well maintained and clean. The hosts are very friendly. The food was nicely presened, simple but tasty. .

Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
2  Thank shirley h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ian and Erica A, Manager at Great Barrier Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 11 February 2014

Hi Shirley,
Thank you very much for taking the time to review us here at Great Barrier Lodge. Glad to hear you enjoyed our meals and the fantastic views. Hopefully next time you choose to stay with us and you then can enjoy the view and location all the time :)
Cheers Archie

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Reviewed 6 January 2014

An idyllic spot to escape the pressures of work for our management team to get together. Archie & Erica and the team were brilliant and went out of their way to ensure our conference ran smoothly without any interruptions. The meals were delicious and everyone was well catered for. We booked out the entire lodge for our group to ensure total privacy. The location and view speaks for itself. Mountain biking and kayaking is available. The fishing was also fantastic... True paradise. Will hopefully return one day and try out some of the dive spots?

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled on business
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Thank Tania_Jackson2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ian and Erica A, Manager at Great Barrier Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 8 January 2014

Hi Tania, Thank you very much for your review of us :) We really enjoyed your group and so glad to hear that you enjoyed your stay with us. Hopefully next time you visit you will have more time enjoy the Island and relax a bit more. Please pass our regards on to the rest of your team !
Cheers Archie

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Reviewed 28 December 2013

My family and I spent the Christmas Holidays here at Great Barrier Lodge in 2013. We rented 2 studio units side by side which faced the Harbour. My mother in law organised everything so it was a lovely surprise as we didn’t quite know what to expect.

Overall it was a really great place, that hit much more than it missed, but a few things could be modified to improve the comfort of this place and take it to another level.

Pluses:
- Staff/ the family that run the place were very accommodating and super nice and great to deal with. They really went out of their way to make sure we were happy and enjoyed our stay here.
- You could park in front of your rooms (we were rooms 1 & 2) which made moving things to and from your car easier
- They are owned by SeaLink a ferry operator that can take you to and from Auckland, they can also book the your return ferry for you if you wish, that is how we did it, and it simplified things.
- Beds are Big and comfortable ensuring a good nights sleep - that's a biggie!
- You have access to picnic tables at the front (they will provide you with an umbrella for shade if you ask) as well as at the back (the area at the back is where the bbq's are, and when it rained it was nice that this area was undercover so we could be outside and protected from the winds and weather. We weren't sure what the set up was like so were delighted when we realised this was the case. The BBQ's were good and easy to use.
-They have Sky TV in the main area as there are no tv's in the room, but their philosophy is that you don't need one and when you are there, I agree.
- They had an off license/bar/shop full of basic items that you could start a tab for the week and square up at the end, which was very convenient.
- Food was great one night and just okay on the next, the restaurant is definitely worth a try, You let them know in advance if you are dining with the so they can prepare and everyone eats the same thing. An interesting concept but it worked well for us.
- Kayaks on the property are there to take out for free, they were nice for an hour out on the harbour
- There is a jetty just across the harbour you can walk to. We did and jumped off it several times into the water, it was nice to feel like kids again despite the fact we definitely are in are early 30's :)
- Such a peaceful spot overlooking a quiet harbour and where sunsets could be enjoyed :) Serenity was great
- Location wise, you are also close to to some good walking tracks - where we ran and exercised on our stay. You are not far to a very nice waterfall/pool - you can walk to and a quick drive and some walking to the hot pools everyone likes to check out when visiting here.

Areas to be improved:
The resort has done a lot to improve this place recently and I would have no doubts that these items may already be on their agenda, but just so you know:
- Given the location in a quiet, leafy location there are bound to be mosquitoes. This is fair enough, however, there are not screens on the front or back doors of the rooms, nor are there fans. Making the room quite warm quickly at night time without a means for ventilation without getting eaten alive. Screens or fans need to get added - definitely.
- Bathrooms were fine, practical for our needs but the mirrors above the sink were chest height and below so unless you are pretty short or like to bend down alot, they were difficult to use.
- There are 2 extra power points to use if you aren't using the fridge. We only discovered an extra one on the last day, above the shelves on the wall, where a TV could go if needed. So really we only had 1 the entire time, and given our phones, cameras, etc, it wasn't enough to charge everything. But if you are tall and can make use of the 2nd one noted, you should be alright :)
- We brought a lot of things to cook for our stay, which was great and the BBQ was good. However, there were only 2 of everything in each room. No sharp knives for cutting. Given that you often need to serve up food on plates, cut things to prepare food, there was always a shortage of these. It may be good to bring a few extra items with you when you come.

If you ask me if I'd stay here again, I definitely would. The only major gripe would be the no fan/screen doors. Other than this place is a true gem where I can only see things improving! Enjoy your holidays

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with family
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Thank KirstinDenae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ian and Erica A, Manager at Great Barrier Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 4 January 2014

Thank you Kirstin for taking the time to review us, we really appreciate the effort of such a detailed review :) We like this as it points out the areas were we can improve what we offer.
You are right in mentioning the mozzie screens ! They were on our "wish list" to be done before xmas but we simply ran out of time, I can assure you we will be having them done in the very near future. Sorry to hear that the lack of power points affected your ability to charge phones/cameras etc., as we run on solar power we have deliberately restricted the amount of sockets in the rooms so we can manage the power usage. This ensures that all essential equipment runs through the night when we are on battery power. We do have extra power points in the main Lodge and are always happy to charge items for our guests and visitors.
Again it was so nice having you stay with us and you review and comments are greatly appreciated. Cheers Archie

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Reviewed 26 December 2013

What wonderful hosts. Erica and Archie went out of their way to ensure pour group of seniors were well looked after. The meals were delicious, the rooms have all been updated and the location and views magnificent. We will certainly be bringing more groups to stay at the Lodge.,

Room Tip: A room with a view of the harbour
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank 221Barbara
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ian and Erica A, Manager at Great Barrier Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 4 January 2014

Thank You Barbara for taking the time to review us, we really enjoyed having you stay with us, your group's are always a great bunch of people. We are always trying to improve so that next time you stay it will be an even better experience. Cheers Archie & Erica and Team.

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Reviewed 11 November 2013

We stayed in the lodge for 3 days labour weekend. We arrived there about 10pm, Archie was still expecting us and friendly show us around the room, gave us extra blankets and the local maps. Very warm welcome! Also one of our friends lost her luggage on the ferry. Erica gave as much help as possible, even lent her some cloths. Great hosts! The Lodge is located right next to Whangaparapara Harbour, stunning view. It also provides free kayaks, nice! Our room was very clean and cosy. I'm a picky person, one of the wine glass was not clean, but other than that my friends and I enjoyed the stay.

Tips for statying on the island: On the island is very safe, becuase everyone knows everyone. Feels like a big family. but before all the resturants open for the season, I recommand take food for your stay as limited general stores and buy food is costly. Also bring a torch, the island is very nature, no street lights. I like it. Have fun!

Room Tip: The Colonial Cottage that we stayed in is the closest room to the beach. Gorgeous View!
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  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Ben Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ian and Erica A, Manager at Great Barrier Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 19 November 2013

Hello Ben Y,

Thank you very much for your review of us ! Look forward to your next stay and no problem if you forget your bags, we'll be able to sort something :)
cheers Archie

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Reviewed 11 November 2013

We stayed at Great Barrier Lodge last weekend for our granddaughter's wedding. The setting for the ceremony on the lawn, with the beautiful harbour as a backdrop, was perfect. In fact the whole weekend experience was perfect. We left Auckland at 0800 hours Friday on the Sealink ferry for a pleasant 4.5 hour trip, and 20 of us (the other 20 had their own cars on the boat) were picked up at Tryphena in a shuttle bus. Driver Steve gave us an interesting insight into island life over the PA during the 50 minutes scenic drive to the Lodge. At the Lodge we were warmly welcomed and our room was clean and comfortable with a view over the harbour and a BBQ on our verandah. Archie and Erica are excellent hosts, as are Marama and the rest of the team, providing delicious meals and always with a smile. Some of our party borrowed kayaks to catch snapper for breakfast, after which we watched the All Blacks (just) beat France 26-19. When we left the Lodge on Sunday it was with a farewell hug rather then a handshake. It's that sort of place. We are now back home in Queensland, but, like Arnie, we'll be back!

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with family
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Thank AlanPhyll
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ian and Erica A, Manager at Great Barrier Lodge, responded to this reviewResponded 19 November 2013

Gidday Alan,

Thank you so much for your review of us, we really enjoyed the wedding weekend and we are so happy that all went well including the All Blacks beating France ! Lets hope the Wallabies do better next year :)
Look forward to have you stay with us again in the future, when your next in Kin Kin remember to have a cold beer at The Country Life Hotel for me.
Cheers Archie

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Additional Information about Great Barrier Lodge

Address: 735 Whangaparapara Road | RD 1, Whangapara, Auckland, Great Barrier Island 0991, New Zealand
Region: New Zealand > North Island > Auckland > Great Barrier Island > Whangapara
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Speciality Lodging in Whangapara
Hotel Class:3 star — Great Barrier Lodge 3*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Great Barrier Lodge sits amongst the trees on the waters edge of Whangaparapara Harbour - Great Barrier Island, just 30 minutes flight away from Auckland. Surrounded by natural beauty, the lodge caters to travelers seeking rest and relaxation on the pristine beaches or thrill seekers looking to traverse the islands many walking/mountain bike treks. Whatever your preference, our friendly staff will ensure you enjoy your stay in this natural paradise. ... more   less 

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