Photo / Mark Russell

Barrier Crowned New Zealand’s Best Island on Google Maps

Great Barrier Island has been crowned New Zealand’s best island according to Google Maps. The motu has received a whopping 4.9-star rating from 141 reviews, beating out other popular destinations like Waiheke Island (4.7 stars with 440 votes) and Stewart Island (4.6 stars with 77 reviews).

The results show reviewers praising Aotea’s stunning scenery, relaxed atmosphere, and abundance of outdoor activities.

One reviewer, quoted in the poll, called Great Barrier Island “one of the most amazing places in the world” and said they were “very lucky” to experience the island’s “true dark skies.”

Another reviewer said the island was a “fabulous place for a laid-back relaxing holiday,” highlighting the “wonderful food” at My Fat Puku, the “amazing” thermal pools, and the great walking, swimming, and fishing opportunities.

Great Barrier Island is not the only island with a unique Google Maps rating. The Auckland Islands, a remote archipelago south of New Zealand, received a 4.4-star rating from 124 reviews. However, the reviews for the Auckland Islands were more comedic than helpful, with some reviewers joking about the island’s inhospitable conditions and lack of amenities, which saw settlers scupper just years after arriving in the 1800s, and even Māori and Moriori deciding it wasn’t exactly the ‘it’ place of all the Aucklands.

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“got lost here 15 years ago, had to eat tree mushrooms to survive. Met a colony of troll fairies Who taught me their ways. my life has never been the same” one wrote.

“Only suburb in Auckland I can afford a roof” another quipped.

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“Low traffic.” one jibed.

Today, of course the Auckland Islands, while unoccupied by humans, are a sanctuary for wildlife including seabirds, penguins, and other rare endemic species.

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The Chatham Islands earned a respectable 4.5-star rating with praise for its unique wildlife, while the main islands, North and South Island, secured ratings of 4.7 and 4.8 stars respectively.

Meanwhile, some confusion arose with reviews for other more inaccessible outlier islands like South Island (a less famous namesake of its southern cousin, within the Hauraki Gulf, south of Rakino). Despite a perfect 5-star rating from four reviews, it featured snowy ski field imagery, so it seems reviewers might have been geographically challenged about exactly which Island they were rating.

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