Explore Rangitoto Island

Emerging from the sea just 600 years ago in the Hauraki Gulf, Rangitoto Island is New Zealand’s youngest volcano and one of Auckland’s most treasured icons.

A popular day trip from downtown Auckland with a multitude of hiking trails and 360 degree views, there is no shortage of things to do on this stunning scenic reserve.


Taking approximately 200 years for the island to form its current conical shape, Rangitoto Island was never lived on due to its rocky and rugged terrain. Local Māori from nearby Motutapu used the island’s summit as a lookout over the Hauraki Gulf in times of war, as well as using it as a parrot reserve/haui-kaka. There are also ancient burial graves on the island where bones were brought over from Motutapu.

In 1854, the Crown bought Rangitoto from its Māori owners for £15, and in time, the island became a public domain and a popular destination for picnickers and boat day trippers from the mainland.

During the 1920s and 1930s, prisoners built 19km of handpacked roads and trails. While some of these are used as walkways on the island today, they also constructed stone walls (from discharged volcanic lava) around the landings at Rangitoto and Islington Bay wharves, creating the well-known landings for boaties that are still used today.

Things to do

There are a number of activities to do on Rangitoto Island depending on your preference.

Take a guided sea kayaking day trip out to Rangitoto, or opt for an evening tour and watch the sunset from the summit before paddling back towards the city lights under the night stars.

Take a 4WD road-train tour and learn about the history of the island on your way to the summit while passing through lava fields and native bush, or choose to walk there yourself with panoramic views across the Hauraki Gulf

Visit the restored Museum Bach at Rangitoto Wharf and explore the history and design of what the bach would have been like in the early 1900’s, or explore the island’s lava caves on your way to the summit.


The only way to Rangitoto Island using public transport is by taking the Fullers360 ferry. Make sure that you check the timetable here before you go though - it’s a long swim back to the mainland!

Alternatively, you can also get there by private boat, if you know someone who has one.

Download the AT Mobile app on Google Play or via the App Store for a full journey planner.

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