Rangitoto Island is a volcanic island in the Hauraki Gulf, just off the North Island of New Zealand. It is 40 minutes by ferry from Auckland and is a popular destination for a halfday hike with a great view and tunnel-like caves formed by lava.
Rangitoto was formed by a series of eruptions commencing at least 6,000 years ago. The most recent eruptions occurred between 550 and 600 years ago and are recorded in Maori oral history. The name Rangitoto means "red sky".
- 1 Fullers Passenger Ferries, Ferry Terminal, 99 Quay Street, Auckland, ☏ . There is one outbound ferry per day (10:00AM on weekdays, 9:15AM weekends and public holidays) to Rangitoto Island and 3 ferries back to Auckland (12:20PM, 2:20PM, and 3:30PM weekdays; 12:20PM, 2:20PM, and 4:00PM weekends). This is the only way on and off the island and there is only booked overnight stays, so everyone must leave on one of the outbound ferries, however there is no outbound ferry that you are required to depart on. There are very occasional ferries to Motutapu. The ferry to Rangitoto takes about 30–45 minutes each way, and it stops in Devonport on the way. Book tickets in advance as they do sell out. $43 return.
Don't miss the last ferry back. If you do, it's $500 for a water taxi to come pick you up.
- The Summit Track is the most popular trail on Rangitoto. This trail leads you though lava fields and native forests all the way to the summit. There a signs posted about 3/4 of the way up to turn off to the see the lava caves.
- There are trails that go due east to the neighboring island of Motutapu.
- Use the Rangitoto Trail Map to make sure you don't get lost.
- A guided tour of the island via road that takes you to a 300-m-long boardwalk to the summit.
- There are several viewpoints of Auckland on the way up the summit climb.
- Walk around the 1 Crater Rim Track when you get to the summit.
- Many species of birds and plants.
- There are 2 lava caves about 3/4 of the way up. There are signs indicating where to go. The lava caves are a must see. Bring a torch (the one on a smartphone will do).
- A 360 degree view around the island at the summit.
- 3 Motutapu Island (3 hour walk from Rangitoto Home Bay). Island connected by causeway, which has the Reid Homestead Visitor Centre, which is open every second Sunday and some Saturdays. There are remains of American military facilities which were built in 1942. The island is used for farming and is being restored by the Motutapu Restoration Trust.
Eat and drink
There is no place to get food or water on Rangitoto Island so make sure you pack what you need. The ferry has a small cafe with hot meals, snacks, and drinks, so if you haven't packed enough you can buy something on the way. The cafe has one or two vegetarian options but not much in the way of vegan options.
Accommodation is only available on Rangitoto if you book a bach months in advance, and it is possible to stay on Motutapu Island which is connected to Rangitoto by causeway.
- 1 Rangitoto bachs. There are 3 bachs (huts) that can be booked, 2 are near the Motutapu causeway at Islington Bay and one is near the ferry pier. The bachs have gas cookers and chemical toilets. from $132.
- 2 Home Bay Campsite, Motutapu Island. DoC campsite with 142 non-powered tent sites. Advance booking required. Adult $10.
- 3 Motutapu Outdoor Education Camp. Has three buildings to rent, sleeping between 10 and 184.
Mobile phone reception on the island is decent.