During my second time in Auckland with Lu, we had a few unexpected extra days to spend due to flight changes back home. Since this was the end of our 2 months long trip in the South Pacific I really felt like it´s time to splurge and celebrate so we also wanted to squeeze in a day trip to one of the islands in the bay. We have already been to Waiheke before and absolutely loved it – I was really eager to go back there and have some tasty wine, but decided to check out some place new in the end. Rangitoto island it was. The trip to this amazing volcanic island turned out to be a good decision, we both loved it. More about Rangitoto and what you get to see and do there in this new post.
ABOUT RANGITOTO ISLAND | volcanic island protected as a recreational reserve
Did you know there are 48 VOLCANOES in Auckland area? Rangitoto is an ICONIC VOLCANIC ISLAND, a true landmark in the area and it´s actually the youngest of these 48, counting around 600 years. It is only about 5,5km wide, the highest point is 260 HIGH – there are great views towards Auckland from the top, but you also see the typically shaped volcanic island from many points in Auckland.
Due to its SPECIFIC ENVIRONMENT the whole island is now proclaimed to be a RECREATIONAL RESERVE by the Department of Conservation and there are certain rules you need to stick to while visiting. There are over 200 SPECIES OF FLORA AND FAUNA and we also find the LARGEST POHUTUKAWA FOREST IN THE WORLD here. In case you didn´t know, these trees are in bloom from Nov – Jan and they are really crazy beautiful. During your day trip on Rangitoto, there are different HIKING TRAILS you can take and explore the island – the most popular seems to be THE SUMMIT TRACK, ending on the top of the island on a wooden OBSERVATION DECK, which offers great views on Auckland (hint: bring something to eat and make a picnic here).
HOW TO GET TO RANGITOTO AND AROUND | day trip from Auckland including a guided tour or exploring on your own
Getting to Rangitoto is fairly easy and there are many different FERRY CONNECTIONS from downtown AUCKLAND or DAVENPORT. We went with FULLERS from Auckland since we were very spontaneous with buying the tickets at the peer just minutes before departure and there was still space for us. You can of course book your tickets online.
The ride takes around half an hour and you get to see this amazing SKYLINE OF AUCKLAND as well. Now, you can BOOK A GUIDED TOUR of the island together with the boat tickets or you just take the boat and explore on your own. Since we didn´t have much time to plan and think and I wasn´t sure how difficult is the hike to the top (Lu was 6 at the time and we were jetlagged) we decided to go for the organised thingy (it was around 40$NZ for adults). We usually don´t do that but after weeks of independent travelling and hopping South Pacific islands as a single mom with Lu I admit it felt good not to think about things for a change.
WHAT TO SEE & DO ON RANGITOTO | hiking trails, observation deck, volcanic stones and more
Our tour included a bit of DRIVING with a kind of tractor train while listening to interesting facts and explanation about the island and a bit of WALKING – to the top observation deck at THE SUMMIT (but the hike was much shorter in comparison to the hike starting at the boat peer. The hiking path was done individually and we were free to enjoy it on our own which was also nice.
The first minutes on the island are already great because the landscape is just really unique and the contrast between the black volcanic rocks and that green (I call it the New Zealand green) colour of the trees is unforgettable. Everywhere you turn, the views are great, especially after we disembarked our convenient train and started the hike up to the summit.
THE HIKING PART here is very easy and you don´t need to be fit for it. Lots of families on the way as well, running up and down these wooden pathways was fun for Lu too. Must be even more beautiful when the trees are blooming though.
Since it was a weekend day, it was quite busy up on the OBSERVATION DECK, but we found a spot to enjoy the view and eat our PICNIC LUNCH. This seemed like a popular spot to bring the whole family, do a little bit of recreational hiking first, followed by a picnic on the top, so do bring something to eat (there are not much options on the island anyway).
Driving back down the other way we got to stop at one of the LAVA FIELDS and walk around for a while – this was awesome for Lu since it looked like a giant natural playground for him.
A few more quick stops on the way back to the port and we were off back to Auckland. This turned out to be a great day and Rangitoto is really worth visiting if you like such natural unspoilt, almost wild places. Despite the crowds on the top (I´m assuming a weekday is better) we could feel the peaceful vibes of this interesting piece of land in Auckland bay.
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