Overview

The volcanic Rangitoto Island is one of the most iconic landmarks in Auckland's city skyline. Sitting majestically off the coast, Rangitoto’s distinctive symmetrical cone rises 260 metres over the Hauraki Gulf. Climb to the summit or take a 4WD road-train to the top for epic views.

Rangitoto erupted from the sea 600 years ago in a series of dramatic explosions. Two episodes 10 to 50 years apart are thought to have lasted for several years each. This makes Rangitoto the youngest island in the Hauraki Gulf – the last and largest volcano to be formed in the Auckland volcanic field. Exploring Rangitoto is a ‘must do’ day out for locals and tourists alike. A gentle climb through lava fields will lead you to the summit in approximately one hour. Allow extra time to explore the lava caves on the way back, or see the historic bach community near the wharf. 

Where is it?

Rangitoto is situated about 8 km northeast of Auckland, a 25-minute cruise from the downtown ferry terminal, with some sailings travelling via Devonport. Rangitoto is connected to Motutapu Island by a causeway, so it's possible to walk between the two.

What can I do?

  • Summit Climb - The Summit Track is the most popular walk on Rangitoto, winding through lava fields and native forest to the peak. At the top, take in panoramic views of the Hauraki Gulf across to Auckland. The track features a gentle incline, and takes about an hour to reach the top. There are informative signage displays along the way, explaining the island's past volcanic activity, and significant human history. For example, the Summit Track and island roads were built by prison labour between 1925 and 1936.
  • 4WD road-train - Combine your ferry trip to Rangitoto with a guided tour of the island on our 4WD road-train up to the base of the summit. From there, climb the 300 boardwalk steps for an epic view from the top. Enjoy commentary about the history and geology of the island on your way through the volcanic terrain.
  • Lava Caves - Explore the island’s lava caves, about 45 minutes into your Summit Track journey. Located 200 metres from the summit on the eastern side, these lava tubes were left behind after the passage of liquid lava. The short diversion leads you to the Rangitoto lava tunnels, about 15 minutes each way. Remember your torch if you would like to explore the caves fully, as it is quite dark.

Download Rangitoto Island Map

What do I need?

  • Plenty of water, snacks and lunch, as there are no food outlets on the island.
  • Good walking shoes, sun block and a sun hat.
  • Swimming gear and a towel in the warmer months.
  • A light rain jacket, and warm layers. Temperatures can change quickly, regardless of the season.
  • There are no rubbish bins on pest-free islands. Please remember to take all your rubbish, including leftover food, off the island with you.

How long should I stay?

You'll need at least half a day (4-5 hours) to visit Rangitoto Island.

DON’T GET STRANDED: It's a long swim home!

Please check the time of the last ferry at the start of your trip – a clock on the wharf will indicate the last departure each day.

From time to time, adverse weather conditions require us to sail into Islington Bay Wharf instead of Rangitoto Wharf. This means there are some changes to your walking time on the island.

It may take up to an extra hour to walk to and from the summit from Islington Bay, and the track is shared by vehicles including our 4WD road train. We recommend you plan your walk accordingly and note the time of the last ferry off the island.

If you are unsure of which wharf we will be sailing to, please call our customer service team on 09 367 9111 on the morning of your departure.

Important pest-free island info

  • Please check your bags for stowaways, such as mice, rats, Argentine ants and Rainbow Skinks to name a few.
  • Ensure your footwear, clothing and bags are clean and free of soil and seeds.
  • Your lunch must be packed in a rodent-proof/ sealed container e.g. hard plastic.
  • No open bags or boxes will be allowed on-board. Everything you bring must be sealed or zipped closed.

Read more before you visit a pest-free island here.

What you need to know FAQ's

  • How far in advance do I need to arrive for my ferry?

    Bookings are recommended for the Rangitioto service so you can guarantee you get on your preferred sailings. 

    For all ferry services, we recommend arriving at the ferry terminal at least 30 minutes prior to ferry departure.

     

  • How long should I stay on the island?

    Ferries travel to Rangitoto Island frequently throughout the day so you have the choice of staying there for a morning, an afternoon or the whole day.

  • Is there a cafe on the island?

    There are no food outlets on the island so please bring your own food and water. There are cafés on board most of our ferries, so you can purchase food before you get off, but all food must be packed in a rodent-proof, sealed container (e.g. hard plastic).

  • What do I need to bring?

    • Good walking shoes, sun block and a sun hat. The heat reflecting off the volcanic rock can be intense.
    • Swimming gear and a towel during summer.
    • Plenty of water, snacks and lunch in sealed, rodent-proof containers. There is no food for sale on the island! If staying overnight it is wise to bring enough food for an extra day in case the boat is cancelled due to bad weather.
    • A rain jacket, depending on the time of year and conditions.

    There are no rubbish bins on pest-free islands. Please remember to take all your rubbish, including leftover food, off the island with you. Read more about visiting a pest-free island here.

  • What do I need to do when visiting a pest free island?

    • Please check your bags for stowaways, such as mice, rats, Argentine Ants and Rainbow Skinks to name a few.
    • Ensure your footwear, clothing and bags are clean and free of soil and seeds.
    • Your lunch must be packed in a rodent-proof, sealed container (e.g. hard plastic).
    • No open bags or boxes will be allowed on-board. Everything you bring must be sealed or zipped closed.

    There are no rubbish bins on pest-free islands. Please remember to take all your rubbish, including leftover food, off the island with you. Read more about visiting a pest-free island here.

  • Is this destination suitable for children?

    Yes, Rangitoto Island is great for children 5 years and over, as there are lava caves, native bush and beaches to explore. If the kids aren’t up for the full 3.1km walk to the summit, we offer a 4WD road-train tour to the base of the summit. More information about the tour is available here.

  • Can I bring a children's stroller?

    We don’t recommend you take strollers or push chairs to the island. If you have small children and want to walk to the summit, we recommend you use a baby carrier/backpack instead.

  • Is the island wheelchair friendly?

    Unfortunately both Rangitoto Wharf and Islington Bay Wharf are not wheelchair accessible.

  • Can I bring a bicycle, scooter, and skateboard to the island?

    No. These items aren’t permitted on the island.

  • Can I take my dog to the island?

    Dogs are not permitted on Rangitoto Island. You can take a disability assist dog into controlled dog areas without the need for a permit if it is kept under control at all times.

     

  • Are there toilets on the island?

    Yes, toilets are located at the information area at Rangitoto Wharf, at Islington Bay and McKenzie Bay. There are no toilets available at the summit.

  • Is there cellphone coverage on the island?

    Yes, mobile coverage is available on Rangitoto Island.

  • Is my ticket valid for future dates, or only the day/time specified on the ticket?

    Bookings are recommended for all departures to Rangitoto Island. Coming off the island you have a choice of time as you don't have to book the return time, but tickets are same day return only.

  • Can I stay on the island overnight?

    There is no accommodation on Rangitoto Island, and camping is not permitted on the island. However you can camp on neighbouring Motutapu, which is connected to Rangitoto Island by a causeway. To find out more about staying on Motutapu Island click here.

  • Is the ferry to Rangitoto Island a direct service?

    Select sailings may travel via Devonport to pick up or drop off customers.

  • What time is the last ferry of the island?

    Don’t get stranded! Make sure you check the time of the last ferry at the start of your trip. There is a clock on the wharf when you arrive on the island which will show the last departure each day – and there is no accommodation on the island. If you do get stranded or lost please call Fullers on 0800 385 5377 or the Rangitoto DOC Field Officer on 0272 974 868. Costs will be incurred for a pick up outside our scheduled services. In case of extreme emergency, please call 111.

  • What happens in the event of bad weather, or when the ferry is unable to run due to sea conditions?

    From time to time, adverse weather conditions require us to sail into Islington Bay Wharf instead of Rangitoto Wharf. This means there are some changes to your walking time on the island. It may take up to an extra hour to walk to and from the summit from Islington Bay, and the track is shared by vehicles including our 4WD road train. We recommend you plan your walk accordingly and note the time of the last ferry off the island. If you are unsure of which wharf we will be sailing to, please check the website for any travel alerts, or call our customer service team on 09 367 9111 on the morning of your departure.

discover Tiritiri Matangi Island

Tiri Destination Landing.jpg
cancel