Great Barrier Island

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“The sun sets on our camp, alone by a beach… a million miles from anywhere, with nothing on [our] minds except connecting with the spirit of adventure, cracking a beer and sharing a story, the stress of modern life long forgotten.”

A group of buddies with a simple plan: ditch the city lights of Auckland, load sea kayaks with a ton of food and beer, and cross the Hauraki Gulf to explore the coastline of Aotea. Also known as Great Barrier Island, Aotea is New Zealand’s fourth-largest landmass. And with only 1,000 year-round residents, this 245 square-kilometer island was the perfect choice for an off-grid adventure.

For New Zealand kayaker Mike Dawson and his crew of fellow Kiwis, this backyard adventure delivered it all: wildlife encounters, epic hiking, secluded beach campsites and meals cooked over an open fire.

Read more about Mike Dawson’s adventure.