Frequently Asked Questions

Accomodation

There are no prerequisites for being a guest or visitor here. All are welcome. We have chosen a christian, community-based way of living with a disposition to love and provide generous hospitality.

We won’t push our faith on you but we are always happy to share it over a cuppa. So if you’re seeking direction and would like to talk or pray with someone about your own faith journey please talk to someone at reception.

If you would like to stay and join in community life for a while you can apply to be a volunteer.

Living on an island with limited power means when the lights go off at 1030pm, it gets dark really quick! A torch is a must here (with spare batteries) along with bug spray & sunscreen in the summer, good walking shoes (oysters can be nasty when exploring the coastline) & anything you need for outdoor activities (Fishing gear, surfboards, snorkels etc)

Our self contained units have heating units, & our self-contained Lodge rooms have portable LPG heaters.

All other rooms do not have any heating devices. Hot water bottles are recommended in winter and one should be located in your room – if not you can request one from housekeeping.

There is a large Fireplace in the Lodge Lounge & Wilberforce Conference Room.

Activities

There’s plenty to do here at Orama and in the bay. Sports and volley ball on the front lawn, exploring the foreshore, fishing, diving, snorkelling, walking & bird watching are all popular activities right from Orama’s property. Groups may also book an adventure with Hillary Outdoors.

You can read more on activities here >>

At present we do not offer gym facilities. A recommended alternative is to try the various walks on the property or to jog up Karaka Bay Rd and back. We do also have a hall with a marked basketball half court & plenty of space outside for exercise.

There are many walking tracks from right at Orama – most need a medium level of fitness. 
There are beaches, lookouts & bush walks to do from our bay. See reception for more details.

You can get to the Kotuku Peninsula sanctuary from the Orama side by following the farm road from the Orama car park up the hill and through the pine trees behind the Shady Heights cabins. You will eventually reach the top of the hill and see the predator proof fence. The fence runs all the way down to Port Fitzroy and is designed to protect the sea birds nesting in the Kotuku Peninsula from rats and cats. You may enter sanctuary through the door in the fence.  Please remember to close the door after you. Once through the door you can walk down the farm road into Arthur’s Bay and beyond via the network of tracks. These tracks are currently used for rat trapping and are not well formed walking tracks – so please be careful as they are very steep in some places.

Please respect the boundaries to other people’s property when walking along the peninsula. In addition to land owned by DOC, the peninsula is owned by four main land-owners. In particular if  you want to venture into the Glenfern Sanctuary you must let the sanctuary managers know in advance. We are happy to do this on your behalf. Just come into reception and let us know when you’re going.

We do not hire out bikes at this time. eBikes and scooters can be hired from Paddles and Saddles down the island in Claris.

If you’re up for a walk with the reward of a stunning white sandy beach, then head over the ridge from Orama to Onehwhero Bay.  The walk takes about 60 minutes from Orama and is suitable for adults and children with a medium level of fitness. 
Alternatively, just 20mins over the hill our around the rocks is BBQ bay, another sandy bay just a walk away.

With access to a car, 20 minutes drive from Orama is Whangapoua Beach (Maybey’s). Turn left at the Okiwi School onto Mabey’s Rd and drive to the end. A short walk through the trees gets you to one of Barrier’s most beautiful white beaches.

For more information on beaches, head down to reception.

Karaka Bay has a number of smaller bays and reefs that are great for snorkelling. Green island at the northern end of Port Abercrombie is also a favourite spot if you have access to a boat or kayak.

 

It depends who you ask this question to. We will say though, that there is a very well known right-hand point break about 15mins from us at Orama. If you’ve never been, you may want to take a local with you to show you the ropes. A 30min drive further south will take you to Awana & then over to Kaitoke & Medlands.

No at this stage, Orama does not hire out any gear. You are best to bring your own.

Boating

We have one mooring in the bay that can be booked subject to availability. If you would like to use the mooring please contact us well in advance of your visit.
There is also plenty of room to anchor up in the bay, or temporarily (for pick up / drop off only unless prior arranged) you may tie up at the Orama wharf / pontoon.

Yes – we have a good concrete boat ramp suitable for launching trailer boats. You can launch at most times except when the tide is dead low. Please make arrangements with us in advance about where to park your trailer before and after launching.

No. At this time we can not hire Kayaks out to our guests.

If you would like to organise something for your group (of 10 or more) you can however contact Hillary Outdoors who are located at Orama & do group Kayak adventures. You will need to book this kind of rental well in advance as their equipment is often in use by their school programs. Please contact the centre manager for more details on 09 4290 762.

At dead low tide there can be as little as 0.5m under the pontoon through to about 2.5m at high tide (and closer to 3m during a high king tide).

We have a wharf with a floating pontoon and a mooring available for guest use. The pontoon is not big enough to have boats tied up to it for long periods – so use of the pontoon is limited to pick-up and drop-off only.

Options for longer term parking of your boat include re-trailering your boat, using the mooring, anchoring in the bay or tying up at the back (north end) of the pontoon (subject to availability). You will need to get permission to tie up at the pontoon for longer than the pickup/drop-off period of 20 minutes.

Drinkable water is also available on the wharf via a fire hose. Please ensure the hose is left coiled up on the deck of the wharf and out of the way so no one trips on it.

Click here for more info on our facilities >>

Please arrange parking for your trailer in advance at time of booking or by contacting us directly.
Space is limited around the boat ramp area so please do not park your trailer there otherwise it leaves little space for others to launch and pickup. 

Communications

We have a telephone booth for guest use located outside the Orama shop – just inside the main entrance to the lodge. Calls to land-lines within New Zealand are free, however international and mobile calls are treated as toll calls and you will need a phone card to make these calls. Phone cards are available from the Orama shop.

Orama has patchy mobile coverage for Vodafone & 2 Degrees networks only.
The same cell site from Kaikoura provides coverage for the Port Fitzroy and Port Abercrombie areas and its signal is repeated over the hill to the Okiwi township. There is no access to the Spark network in our bay. One or two bars of signal can be found on the Orama foreshore, and much stronger signal is possible as you walk up the track to the lookout above Orama or up Karaka Bay Rd toward Aotea Rd. Typically there is no coverage inside any of the Orama buildings.

We have a wifi network covering the majority of the buildings and adjacent grounds. This network is connected to the internet via a 4G rural broadband connection. Guest access to the network is available through a wifi hotspot and the use of vouchers which are sold at the Orama shop. Vouchers are priced on a per MB basis in increments of 100MB, 250MB, 500MB, 750MB and 1000MB.

Please note that internet performance is not guaranteed and is very variable due to our remote location and contention for cell tower use by other users such as boaties and the Port Fitzroy and Okiwi townships. At peak holiday periods with the influx of boaties and visitors, internet speed is much reduced and patience is required!

Wifi terms and conditions must be accepted before you connect to the wifi hotspot. A link to these terms and conditions is provided on the hotspot landing page when you connect to the Orama Guest network.

There is a mailbox for outgoing mail outside the Orama shop door. The mailbox is usually cleared each day and mail taken to the post office facility at Port Fitzroy Store. Incoming mail is also collected from the Port Fitzroy Store, sorted alphabetically and put in one of the A-Z pigeon holes outside our shop. Larger items and parcels are placed on the floor underneath the pigeon holes. Postage stamps can be purchased at the shop.

Entertainment

In general no. Over the summer there is a total fire ban until mid April. From then, fires are still restricted and require a permit from the local council. If you particularly want a fire for a specific event during the restricted season please contact us and we’ll attempt to organise a permit for you.

Orama does not have any public TV’s on site. We do however have a projector for DVD’s that can be organised for groups in our lounge rooms.

There is an activities room with a table tennis table and an adjacent hall with a marked basketball half court. Boardgames can also be found in the lodge lounge.

Your best bet for watching live sport is over the hill at the Port Fitzroy Boat Club. You can get there by car or boat.

If you have a specific event that can be organised in advance, contact us and we might be able to sort WIFI & a projector.

Fishing

Yes. Orama’s fish smoker is located by the fish cleaning station at the Orama wharf. However, the smoker cannot be used during the summer until mid-April when there is a fire ban in place. Please contact us if you would like to use the smoker so we can confirm that it can be used.

No, at this stage we do not hire out fishing gear – it’s best to bring your own.

We do however, sell a small amount of fishing tackle (hooks, sinkers & Hand lines) & Bait (pilchards and squid) at the shop.

Both squid and pilchard bait can be purchased from the Orama shop.

Many fish are caught in and around Karaka Bay – sometimes off the Orama wharf and off the rocks close by.

If you have access to a boat,  you can catch fish just about anywhere in the bay and a little further out into Port Abercrombie. Some favourite spots include; the mussel farm on the way to Port Fitzroy, close in to Green Island, over the top of Green Reef, the western side of Nagles Cove and just off Bradshaw Cove. If you want more info, you’re best bet is to make friends with a local and swear to secrecy.

Fish frames and guts should be disposed off at sea – at least 1km from the Orama wharf to prevent attracting sharks and sting rays. Our wharf and pontoon are a popular children’s swimming spot so PLEASE DO NOT throw them off our Wharf.

Any questions or help with this, please see us at reception.

There is a fish processing bench with running water down by the wharf. After using this area please make sure it is left clean and tidy. Make sure you remove all fish frames, scales and guts and dump these out at sea at least 1km away from Orama. Please do not put fish frames and guts in with Orama rubbish, or throw them off the wharf or pontoon – doing so will attract sharks and sting rays and put at risk the kids who swim in this area.

If you do not have access to a boat, talk with an Orama staff member for help.

Facilities

Orama has a commercial laundry facility located on the ground floor. The laundry has token-operated commercial washing machines and dryers for your use. Tokens can be purchased from the Orama shop.

Orama is a paradise for children. In addition to the expansive lawn for running around on there is a professionally built children’s playground, a trampoline, a rope swing, a volley-ball net (in the summer) and a table-tennis table in the break-out room. For the under 5’s there is also a playroom kitted out with toys and activities. The older kids will love to fish, swim and jump off the pontoon; and the smaller ones will enjoy swimming from the boat ramp or the sandy spots on the foreshore. For those who like basket ball and volley ball the hall has a marked court for both and a basket ball hoop at one end.

For more info on our facilities see here >>

Orama maintains recycling bins along the north side of the lodge past the main kitchen. Please put your rubbish into the appropriate bins. Labelled bins are available for: Paper, Plastic, Aluminium cans, Tin Cans and Glass. All other rubbish should go into the bins marked landfill.  Fish frames and guts must not be thrown in the rubbish and should be dumped at sea at least 1km away from the Orama wharf.

Food & Beverage

Yes. Meals available include a continental breakfast (Served in your room or unit), lunch, and dinner (Served in the main dining room). Meals can be ordered online when you book accomodation, or by arrangement from the Orama shop.

Yes.
Please let us know upon booking any dietary requirements you have. We can cater for most dietary needs.

Yes, all our water is fed from the stream and treated at our water-treatment station where it is both filtered and sterilised (with UV). Normally the water is crystal clear however it can get a little discoloured during periods of heavy rain when the stream gets silty.

If you’re in anyway worried about drinking the water then you can buy bottled water from the Orama shop or boil tap water before you drink.

We have a large BBQ available for general guest use located outside Rose Cottage (Our campers Kitchen).
Our two Seaview units also each have their own BBQ’s located on the veranda outside each unit.

No, we do not have a license to sell alcohol.

A limited selection of beer, wines and spirits can be purchased from the store at Port Fitzroy or at the Rocks in Claris.

Alcohol consumption is not permitted in public areas at Orama.

Shared guest cooking facilities are available in the Guest Kitchen upstairs in the lodge and in the Rose Cottage camp kitchen adjacent to the lodge’s courtyard. All self-contained rooms and units have their own kitchens.

There are storage shelves available for food in the Rose Cottage camp kitchen. There are also fridges available in Rose Cottage and upstairs in the lodge guest kitchen. Since these are shared spaces please make sure it is appropriately contained/sealed and labelled with your name.

It’s slim pickings up our end of the island.

Over summer, the burger bar in Port Fitzroy does a good coffee.

There is My Fat Puku cafe in Claris (Although not open in weekends). 

Pa Beach Cafe in Tryphena is also worth a stop in if you’re down that way.

Alternatively, make friends with an Orama staff member, they’re more than likely to get you sorted. 

Policies

A child is considered to be aged from 2 to 14 years old. This means adult prices apply to persons 15 years and older.

Alcohol may be consumed inside your room or on the deck outside your room but not in public or shared-use areas which include front and back lawn, community dining room, upstairs lounge, guest kitchen and the camp kitchen. Excessive consumption of alcohol is not permitted on our premises.

Smoking is not permitted in and around any of the Orama buildings.
Smoking areas are on the foreshore or in the public carpark. Please use the sand-filled tins provided for cigarette butts rather than throwing them on the ground.

Our standard checkin time is between 2pm – 7pm.
Check-out is by 10am.

Please let our team know what time you plan to arrive as we do not have a 24/7 service here.

Later check-in & Check-out times maybe arranged at time of booking & may incur a service fee. 

Services

Yes – the Orama shop has EFTPOS and credit card facilities for paying your bill and purchasing items from the shop.

We do not sell ice but you can buy bags of ice at the Port Fitzroy Store, 15 minutes drive from Orama.

We do not sell LPG however you can get refills at the Port Fitzroy Store, 15 minutes drive from Orama.

Orama is totally off-the-grid which means we generate all our own electricity. We use a mixture of solar and generator-based power. Solar is used to charge batteries that supply critical equipment around the site 7 x 24 and the generator is used to power everything else – including lights and all high-power appliances (clothes driers, vacuum cleaners etc). The generator comes on automatically between 7:00am to 10:30am and 4:30pm to 10:30pm. This means you will need to ensure any power requirements you have fall within these times.

There are a limited number of battery-based inverter power outlets available around the lodge for those that need to charge low-power electronics e.g. computers, phones, tablets, speakers, CPAP machines etc. Please ask at the Orama shop for the location of inverter power outlets. These outlets must not  be used for high-power appliances such as hair driers, vacuum cleaners, microwaves, electric blankets etc as this will result in blowing a circuit breaker and the disabling of other important equipment.

If you need power during the night for a CPAP machine please also discuss this with us in advance of your stay.

The nearest pharmacy is Barrier Pharmacy in Claris, 117 Hector Sanderson Rd, phone 09 4290 006.
There are 2 doctors on the island in Claris.
There is also a nurses cottage in Port Fitzroy.

For Medical emergencies, a helicopter is your way off the island.
Please Dial ‘0’ on any phone for Orama staff assistance.

The nearest petrol station is Port Fitzroy Fuel and Marine Supplies on the wharf at Port Fitzroy. Both 91 octane petrol and diesel are sold there 6 days until mid day.

 

Orama has a shop just inside the main entrance to the lodge. The shop sells a limited range of confectionery, chips, biscuits, soft drinks, water, toiletries, fishing tackle, batteries etc. The shop is typically open during business hours (9am to 5pm) and by request on the weekend.

A wider selection of groceries is available at the Port Fitzroy Store just 15 minutes drive from Orama. The store can be contacted on 09 4290 056.

Transport

No, Orama does not hire out vans or cars for guest use. Your best bet is to use one of the local hire car operators down in Claris.

Please let reception know if you would like help organising any transport.

 

Once you arrive on Great Barrier Island either by Boat or Plane, unless you are boating straight into our bay, you will need to sort a ride up the island to our place. Contact us if you would like us to organise this for you.
Orama does offer airport transfers.

You can also see more here

There is no regular service or taxi service per se – but there are various shuttle services available on the island. People & Post do a shuttle & freight run once a day – 6 days a week from Tryphena to Port Fitzroy and back.
Here in the north you can contact Mike Newman on 021 876 296 or 09 4290 052. Orama is also able to provide transport for airport transfer and some activities. Please contact us in advance with your requirements or ask at the Orama shop if you’re already on site. Other shuttle services located further down the island include:

AA Tryphena Shuttles – 027 282 2733
Explore Great Barrier – 09 4290 897 or 021 636 398
GBI Shuttle & Transfers – 09 4290 062
Go Great Barrier Island – 09 4290 222 or  email info@gogreatbarrierisland.co.nz
Great Barrier Travel – 09 4290 474 – 0800 426 832
Tryphena Shuttles – 027 282 2733

Airport pickup and drop-off by an Orama van can be arranged at time of booking or through the Orama shop. Please contact us in advance with your requirements or ask at the Orama shop if you’re already on site. Other shuttle services on the island include:

AA Tryphena Shuttles – 027 282 2733
Explore Great Barrier – 09 4290 897 or 021 636 398
GBI Shuttle & Transfers – 09 4290 062
Go Great Barrier Island – 09 4290 222 or  email info@gogreatbarrierisland.co.nz
Great Barrier Travel – 09 4290 474 – 0800 426 832
Mike Newman on 021 876 296 or 09 4290 052 (located at Port Fitzroy)
Tryphena Shuttles – 027 282 2733

Guest parking is available in the public carpark outside the main Orama entrance and on the side of the road along the foreshore. Parking is not permitted on the lawn or by the wharf without prior arrangement.

Our Community

We typically gather for worship and teaching on Sunday mornings. Guests and neighbours are welcome to join us. If you are travelling any distance it would pay to contact us the week before to check this is on as it does not happen every week. All are welcome to attend.

Worship and teaching is often shared among the Orama Staff.

For any other Questions, please contact us below.

Customer Hours:
Monday – Friday 9am – 6pm

Phone: (09) 4290 0632
Email: info@orama.org.nz

Address: 300 Karaka Bay Road, Aotea, Great Barrier Island, NZ