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One of the best things about Auckland is its proximity to beautiful islands, all accessible by ferry. Great Barrier Island is the largest, about four hours away by ferry, and has enormous beaches and sand dunes. Visitors often spend a few days at Great Barrier, which is known for surfing and diving. The much-closer Waiheke Island is a popular day trip for Aucklanders, who travel there to enjoy with eight scenic beaches and long bike trails along the coast. Nature enthusiasts should take a day trip or overnight camping excursion to Tiritiri Matangi Island, a protected wildlife sanctuary in the Hauraki Gulf that's home to highly endangered takahē bird, kiwi and other New Zealand birds.