Rangitoto Island summit
Image: Fraser Clements ©

Introduction

An easy climb through pōhutukawa forest and lava fields gives way to panoramic views of Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf from the summit of this volcanic island. This is one of our best shorts.

Highlights

  • Well-formed paths through lava fields
  • World's largest pōhutukawa forest

 


 

  • Fitness required: Moderate fitness
  • Gradient: Gradual incline

Track overview

7 km

Walking and tramping

2 hr return Easy: Walking track

Dog access

No dogs

  • Pest free
    Protect our wildlife
    • Check - your gear for pests, eg. rodents, insects, skinks
    • Clean - footwear and gear, removing soil and seeds
    • Seal - ensure your gear is zipped up (no open bags)

    See island biosecurity requirements.

About this track

Description

Rangitoto Summit Track

Walk on well-formed paths through ancient lava fields that now support the largest pōhutukawa forest in the world and provide a home to dozens of shore, sea and forest birds.

At the summit another track circles the rim of the crater.

Side trip: Lava Caves Track

Time: 15 min one way from Summit Track; 1 hr one way from Rangitoto Wharf; 1 hr 45 min one way from Rangitoto Wharf to lava caves to summit

This short diversion off the Summit Track leads to lava tunnels and caves. If you want to explore the tunnels and caves, bring a torch. Return to the Summit Track or Summit Road via the sign posted track. 

Wilson Park Track

Time: 1 hr 45 min from Rangitoto Wharf; 45 min from Summit Track turnoff to summit

This alternative route to the summit branches off the Summit Track before the Lava Caves Track turnoff.

Sections of this track are over broken lava fields - it is rough and uneven underfoot. Good foot wear is essential.   

Getting there

Your trip begins at the Rangitoto Wharf, a 25-minute ferry ride from Queens Wharf. 

Alternatively, it's a 2-hour kayak to the wharf from Devonport or Takapuna Beach.

Nature and conservation

Rangitoto emerged from the sea approximately 600 years ago in a series of fiery volcanic explosions. It is the youngest volcano in Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau and sits right next to the oldest island, Motutapu, which is estimated to be more than 160 million years old.

Thanks to the world’s largest on-island pest-eradication programme, in 2011 Rangitoto was declared pest-free of the seven mammalian pests that had caused damage to the plants, trees and native animals.

Its pest-free status has seen native forest birds such as bellbird/korimako, New Zealand pigeon/kererū, tūī, fantail/pīwakawaka, grey warbler/riroriro, whitehead/pōpokotea and New Zealand parakeet/kākāriki flock back to survive and thrive.

The Hauraki Gulf is a global seabird hotspot with 27 species calling it home. Many visit the pest-free haven of Rangitoto along with shore birds such as New Zealand dotterel/tūturiwhatu and variable oystercatcher/tōrea.

History and culture

Rangitoto baches

Around 30 classic holiday homes remain today, largely unchanged since the 1930s. Bach 38, adjacent to the Rangitoto Wharf, has been restored and turned into a museum run by volunteers from the Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust. The museum is open on some weekends and by appointment - email info@rangitoto.org

The Rangitoto bach settlements are irreplaceable artefacts of New Zealand's architectural and social history and therefore are of national significance.

Know before you go

What to expect
  • Track surface: Rough and uneven ground – the track crosses lava fields
  • Elevation change: +/- 217 m
Hazards
  • Rapidly changing weather conditions.
Amenities
  • There are no rubbish bins on the island – take your rubbish back with you.
Be prepared

Ensure you take:

  • food and drinking water – there is none available on the island
  • good sturdy footwear.

In the area

For information on transport, accommodation, activities, and attractions in the Auckland region, refer to www.aucklandnz.com.

Contacts

Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 9 3796476
Email:   aucklandvc@doc.govt.nz
Address:   Shed 19
137 Princes Wharf
Auckland 1010
Full office details
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