Slipper Island, New Zealand

Photo: Slipper Island Resort

The water taxi is starting to push away from the dock—without you. You stand on the wooden boards, which begin to slightly sway, and watch it go. The boat bobbles at first. Then it glides across the turquoise water, leaving a trail of white waves, as it gains momentum. Pretty soon, it’s just a speck on the horizon. You’re all alone on a deserted island.

Okay, you’re not quite alone. The island isn’t actually deserted. But it kind of feels that way. You’re on Slipper Island, a 550-acre island that sits off the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula. Māoris first arrived on Whakahau (the Windy Place) in the early 14th century. They used it as a canoe stop as they traveled along the coast of the North Island. In the mid-19th century, the island became a farm. Sheep, alpacas, and peacocks still live here. A little bit of land (about five percent) around South Bay has been subdivided for private homes. But the rest of the island belongs to Slipper Island Resort.

Slipper Island Resort isn’t big. It features two glamping tents, four chalets, and two dorm rooms. It isn’t glitzy either. The off-the-grid resort relies on rainwater and solar power. The kitchen is communal. And don’t forget the dorm rooms. But by giving up a lot of modern comforts and taking a digital detox, you have a beautiful, largely undisturbed island practically to yourself.

Photo: Slipper Island Resort

Slipper Island was formed by a series of volcanic eruptions. The old volcanic cone is visible around Crater Bay along the north end of the island. Steep cliffs now line both the north and east coasts. A little white lighthouse sits on the eastern point. The solar-powered light has a great view of the Alderman Islands. To the west and the south, the island looks much different, though. As the hills level out, the volcanic rocks are replaced with hidden coves and white-sand beaches. It’s just you, gentle waves, and curious seagulls over here. And Peppa.

You can’t miss Peppa. She’s a small kunekune pig who likes to walk the beach and wallow in the sand. She’ll watch you chase a soccer ball, build a sandcastle, and poorly cast a fly rod into the clear water. She’ll curl up to cuddle when you’re both ready for a beach nap. Then, when you head back to your tent, she’ll return to the farm. Peppa is one of the best parts of the island. She’ll make sure you don’t feel deserted.


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