Rangitoto Island Walk

  • Rangitoto Island Walk
  • Rangitoto Island Walk
  • Rangitoto Island Walk
  • Rangitoto Island Walk
  • Rangitoto Island Walk

Downtown Auckland via Devonport. This is a dormant volcano, which last erupted 600 years ago.

Location: Auckland
Nearest Town: Auckland
Nearest City: Auckland
Length of Walk: 11.70kms
Time Needed: 4 Hours
Difficulty: Easy
Wheelchair Access: No
Route: Round Trip
Elevation: 260m
Wet Feet: No
Toilets: Yes
Dogs: No
Cellphone: Yes
Date last walked: July, 2007
Track quality: 

Three quarters of the tramp is on volcanic rock road and tracks.  In some places the track is very rocky and hard to walk on.   Good strong sole shoes will be a lot more comfortable on the feet.    

Shops/restaurants nearby: 

Click here to see a huge list of great Auckland restaurants >> www.auckland-restaurants.co.nz

Petrol station: 

No

Hazards: 

The track in places is a little rocky,  don’t be in a hurry

Transport: 

Ferry and private boat is the only access to the Island.

Water: 

No. Take your own water.

Driving Instructions: 

Head for the bottom end of Queen St and Quay St.  The Harbour end of Queen St. Auckland city’s main shopping St.  In front of you, is the Old ferry Building, cross Quay St at the pedestrian crossing. In front of you is the arch way to the ferries.  We brought a return ticket for the grand sum of $19 each.  (Prices subject to change without notice.) As they always say

Camping on track: 

No

Area & Track History: 

The Island of Rangitoto, situated in Auckland's Hauraki golf is any easy 20 minute boat ride from downtown Auckland via Devonport. This is a dormant volcano, which last erupted 600 years ago. In 1854 the Crown purchased Rangitoto Island  for £15.  The island was designated a public domain in 1890, and became a popular destination for picnickers and  trampers.  During the 1920 and 1930 prisoners built 19 kilometres of hand built roads and trials, bach sites were leased out to help the islands development.  During world war two Rangitoto was a prohibited area and the summit was used as a base for harbour defence, fire control and a radar station.  In Islington Bay a base was set up for storing mines during the second world war, you can see the remains of the minefield storage area when you walk along the coastal track to Islington Bay

Vegetation

Rangitoto Island hosts over 250 species of native trees and flowering plants and more than 40 kinds of fern and several species of orchids. Mosses and lichens were the first plants to colonize and grow on the bare lava rock. Pohutukawa trees are the dominant trees on the island.

Rangitoto Island Walk - Start

Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Start
Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Start
Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Start

Rangitoto wharf to Mackenzie Bay 1.30 hours.  It is an easy walk along a flat gravel road.  Starting the walk from the very end of the wharf, 50m past the shelter and toilets on your left hand side is the track that runs off to Mackenzie Bay.  So long as you keep as close to the water edge you can’t go wrong. 

Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 2

Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 2
Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 2
Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 2

For the next 20 minutes, you will see the original old baches concealed in the trees.   Tracks also lead out to other old baches and private bays, but most of the baches have now been removed.  All that remains of the holiday bachs are the concrete foundation and steps leading to the front door and the odd piece of rubbish.  You can catch a glimpse of Auckland city 3 kms to the west which makes a change from looking at the long black volcanic rock road.

Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 3

Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 3
Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 3
Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 3

There are a number of tracks running off to the left. A couple will be footpaths leading to removed baches and the other half will lead you to small bays.  Most of the beaches will be made of volcanic rock, with small patches of grass.

Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 4

Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 4
Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 4
Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 4

Five minutes before Mackenzie Bay on your right is the turnoff to the summit.  Mackenzie Bay is a great place to stop for a picnic and to use the toilets.  From the bay looking east, you can just see the north shore town of Takapuna 5 ks away.  On a fine day, the brave people in their sea kayaks will paddle over to Mackenzie Bay for a quick lunch then paddle back for a coffee at one of the many cafes on Takapuna beach. We had the beach to ourselves.  The billy was on the boil, the sun was out, who needs Takapuna beach!   

Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 5

Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 5
Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 5
Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 5

1 hour 20 minute to the top.  From the beach, back track to the turn off you past 10 minutes before reaching Mackenzie Bay, turn to the left and a walk up to the next junction.  There is not a lot to see till you reach the turn off, just rocks and more rocks.   At the turn off there is a toilet there for you to use. You will be returning to this turnoff on the way back to the wharf.   Take the road to the right, which runs up hill all the way to the very top of Rangitoto.  Or take the step aerobics to the top.  The steps will give you greater views of Motutapu Island and the greater Hauraki Gulf, plus it is a lot easier on the legs. 

Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 6

Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 6
Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 6
Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 6

At the top, take a seat and enjoy the view of Auckland city 10.7 ks to the southwest and 11.1 ks east out to Waiheke Island.   Don’t worry if Auckland shows you its true colours and rains, there is a WW2 shelter close by to run too.  After the rain, take a short 700m walk around the crater before the downhill run to the wharf.

Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 7

Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 7
Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 7
Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 7

35 minutes to the caves. If you are running out of time, take the track from the look out at the top straight down to the wharf, about 1 hour. For this tramp, we will double back to the turn off in section 5. At the turn off, turn to the right and walk down hill for 15 minutes. On a left hand corner, look for the sign to the caves on the right. 25 minutes to the caves. This section of the walk is very refreshing. A sudden change form the volcanic rock roads to green native coastal bush. The track to the caves is easy to follow, it winds its way over small rocky ridges and gullies. In some places the rocks are quite tricky to walk over, so take it easy on your ankles. The entrance to the main caves is just large enough to let a small child crawl though; I was left with the small rift over to the right. These tunnels were very short, so I had no need for a torch, just watch out for the low hanging rocks they have very sharp edges, I have the scar to prove it.

Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 8

Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 8
Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 8
Photo of Rangitoto Island Walk - Point 8

40 minutes back to the wharf.  When you have finished looking at the caves, just keep walking along the track to the next junction.  There are signs there to help you out.  Turn left and walk down hill to the wharf.  The last 20 minutes of the walk is back on volcanic rock.