Rambling on Rangitoto

New city, new country. There’s nothing quite like that feeling of excitement as you’re suddenly surrounded by ‘The New’. New roads, new buildings, new landscapes. So many adventures to plan.

Weekend number one and with no car sorted yet we thought we’d look at what city day trip options were available to us. Auckland is surrounded by a large number of islands some of which can be easily reached by ferry. Rangitoto is one of the closest, ideal for a weekend day trip and offers a good full day of walking or a shorter stroll if you fancy just popping over for a half day….

Welcome to the regions youngest volcano, erupting from the depths of the sea just around 600 years ago rising to 259 metres above sea level.It is surreal to walk across the paths of lava rock. We had a fantastic full 6 hour day of walking and exploring here and would hugely recommend it to all.



  1. You could swim…but Ferrys take 25 minutes and leave from the Auckland Ferry Terminal – Have a look at the timetable and plan your timings – check the final ferry back at the end of they day! It could be a lonely night out there on the island.
  2. Keep it clean. Be prepared to scrub that dirt off muddy boots and trainers. As a protected area it needs to be kept pest-free to maintain the balance of plant and bird life.
  3. Water, water every where but not a drop to drink. Take water with you. The island doesn’t have a drinking water supply so make sure you don’t go thirsty.
  4. What to Wear: trainers or boots (I wore trainers and was fine) and comfortable trousers, and layered tops. ‘Four seasons in one day’ saw us in T-shirts under the warm winter sun, waterproofs and then layers in the torrential rain storm as the temperature suddenly fell. If you fancy a dip, take your swimmers – Mckenzie Bay is a sandy beach ideal for swimming and picnicking.
  5. Which routes? There are a number of tracks to take all with estimated walking times. If you’re fit and keep up a fairly good pace you’ll find they take about 20 minutes less than suggested. So as long as you’re not strapped for time, enjoy all the different routes. The most popular is the straight summit walk however I can highly recommend going anti-clockwise around the island, coming back toward the summit after a few hours….
  6. Go back in time. Do take take time to read about the history of the island, once a common holiday destination in the 1920s and 30s for the city folk it was scattered with numerous clusters of Bachs. Some are still standing and others have plaques standing on the plot detailing the story of who lived there and for how long; tales of accessing the island only by rowing boat and having no electricity, food of water sources.
  7. Island neighbours – Don’t forget that Rangitoto is also connected to Motutapu, another island. In contrast Montutapu is 178 million years old and the difference in its flora and fauna is quite distinct. The land masses were linked in the second World War but have kept their very separate characters. I didn’t walk around Motutapu this time so can not comment as yet, however I do know there is one camping site for the adventurous as heart. As happy campers we have added this to our list for the summer months
  8. Lava Caves along the route approaching the summit, you will see the sign towards the lava caves. There shallow tunnels were formed by the flow of lava are are worth a look. Remember to take a torch or a use a good light on your phone as they are pretty dark
  9. If walking is not your thing, or perhaps you have children in toe, there is the Rangitoto Explorer Tour 4WD drive that will take you around the island with a detailed commentary.
  10. Now off you trot… enjoy!