Five ways to get off the grid in New Zealand

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To travel

Escape to a place with sketchy Wi-Fi for digital detox, like Great Barrier Island. Photo / Supplied

The Christmas shopping craze is upon us, reaching even more frantic proportions by Black Friday and then, after a supposed two-day reprieve, Cyber ​​Monday. If you feel like your inbox is about to self-combust with promotional spam (with your mind, maybe?), Here are five off-grid breakouts for November – or for whenever your local travel restrictions are lifted.

Multi-day hikes with llamas

Join Hanmer Llamas on a 3 to 5 day trek with fully catered llamas, venturing well into the wilderness of North Canterbury. With your llama on the side (no piggyback here), stroll languidly through secluded alpine landscapes, stop to catch wild trout for dinner, and set up camp under a starry sky.

The Great Whanganui River Walk

Contrary to its misleading name, this 3-5 day adventure takes place on a river, in a Canadian canoe. Even in the height of summer, a self-directed drift downstream results in long periods of solitude, with the exception of wildlife. Pack devices at your own risk: Frequent immersion in water is not always optional. That said, there’s no better way to escape the scrolling screen than a waterlogged phone.

Contrary to its misleading name, the Whanganui River Great Walk takes place across the river in a Canadian canoe.  Photo / Getty
Contrary to its misleading name, the Whanganui River Great Walk takes place across the river in a Canadian canoe. Photo / Getty

Great Barrier Island of Aotea

Say hurray because your phone signal can be patchy over this great expanse of paradise. Located 115 km offshore from Auckland, catch a flight or ferry here in 40 minutes or 4.5 hours respectively. There are around 1,000 permanent residents, but if you’re looking for a complete retreat from the modern world, a number of DoC campsites lick idyllic beaches, offering little more than intense beauty and outdoor showers.

The Great Barrier Island and its idyllic beaches is located 115 km off Auckland.  Photo / Auckland unlimited
The Great Barrier Island and its idyllic beaches is located 115 km off Auckland. Photo / Auckland unlimited

Escape to the countryside

Erewhon Station in Ashburton is a huge 14,000 hectare property where agricultural vehicles are abandoned in favor of traditional Clydesdale horses. Guests can venture high into the mountains aboard a horse-drawn wagon, stopping three hours later at Clyde Hut, reminiscent of an old gathering hut. Live the slum lifestyle with the open fire cooking and alfresco baths, plus plenty of tea and beer.

Gems of the Secret City

Not many people know that you can spend the night on Rangitoto Island, but if you book well in advance, Bach 78 at Islington Bay offers a lovely 1920s vacation home with two bedrooms and basic amenities, mainly solar powered. A 90-minute walk from where the Auckland ferry drops off day visitors at Rangitoto Wharf, there is a quiet hideaway located directly on the water. Better yet, Rangitoto Island is also home to Bach 114 and Bach 52 – see

for more details.

Not many people know that you can spend the night on Rangitoto Island.  Photo / Getty
Not many people know that you can spend the night on Rangitoto Island. Photo / Getty

Check alert level restrictions, vaccine requirements, and Department of Health advice before traveling. covid19.govt.nz

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