Located in the Auckland region
IntroductionEmerging from the sea just 600 years ago, pest-free Rangitoto Island is the youngest volcano in New Zealand. An Auckland icon and deeply enriched with history, it's long been a favourite day trip for walkers, and a much loved boating destination.
Find things to do and places to stay Rangitoto Island
Look out for saddleback/tieke, whitehead/popokatea, kaka, NZ parakeet/kakariki, tui, bellbird/korimako and tomtit/miromiro in the forest around the cone and crater on Rangitoto.
Flax Point, a 30 minute walk from Rangitoto Wharf, is a good place for spotting NZ dotterels/tuturiwhatu and gulls. You may also see native skinks basking on the rocks.
Rangitoto is a popular destination for boaties. Boats can be landed at the Rangitoto or Islington Bay wharves. Small boats can also be landed at the beach at Islington Bay (on Motutapu Island - walk across the causeway to Rangitoto), and this bay also provides a sheltered anchorage.
Wreck Bay on Rangitoto’s northern coast is a good spot for diving or snorkelling. It was once used as a “ship graveyard”, a dumping ground for obsolete ships - at least 13 ships were dumped in and around Wreck Bay between 1887 and 1947. Some of the wreckage is just offshore and attracts a variety of marine life.
To get to Wreck Bay take the Wreck Bay Track from Islington Bay Road.
You can fish off the rocks anywhere round the island’s rugged coastline.
Rangitoto is accessible to experienced kayakers. It takes about 2 hours to kayak to Rangitoto Wharf from the mainland. You can also kayak to Rangitoto from the nearby islands of Motutapu or Motuihe, or as part of a tour of the islands of the Hauraki Gulf.
There are commercial operators that offer guided kayak tours and kayak rentals for Rangitoto.
See the classic kiwi holiday baches (around 30) that remain on Rangitoto Island today, largely unchanged since the 1930s. Many of the baches can be seen by taking the track from Rangitoto Wharf to Flax Point. Bach 38, adjacent to Rangitoto Wharf, has been turned into a museum about the history of this unique piece of kiwiana. Find out more about Rangitoto Island bachs and the Bach 38 museum on the Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust's website.
Rangitoto Island is in the Hauraki Gulf close to Auckland city.
There are two wharves – Rangitoto Wharf, serviced by public ferries; and Islington Bay Wharf, a popular anchorage for private boats. Private boats may use the wharves for loading and unloading passengers only.
You can take a public passenger ferry or charter.
Find authorised transport operators to this island.
Rangitoto is also accessible to experienced kayakers. It takes around two hours to kayak to Rangitoto Wharf from the Auckland's North Shore.
Be prepared when visiting Rangitoto Island
- Bring your own food and water. There are no shops on the island.
- Wear sturdy walking shoes that can cope with the rugged lava surfaces.
- Wear sunscreen and a hat. The heat reflecting off the ground can be intense.
Wasp presence increases over the warmer months. If you have an allergy to wasp stings make sure you have appropriate medications to deal with any reactions.
There is a total fire ban on Rangitoto Island.
All access to the controlled mine base is not allowed until further notice. This is because there's asbestos at the site.
Take care not to miss your ferry. There is no overnight accommodation and alternative transport back to the mainland is expensive.
Rules for the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park
- Fires and portable barbeques are not allowed except on the permanent barbeque provided onsite.
- Take your rubbish with you – there are no rubbish bins.
- Some activities such as weddings need a permit.
- No camping unless at a designated campsite.
These are part of the Hauraki Gulf Maritime Park by-laws. Read the full by-laws.
Rangitoto Island is known for its contrasting rugged lava terrain and abundant native plant life. It has the largest pōhutukawa forest in the world, and is a safe haven for endangered native birds. Read about nature and conservation on Rangitoto Island.
Rangitoto Island is one of the youngest land masses in the Hauraki Gulf/Tīkapa Moana, but it has a long human history. Read the Māori and European history of Rangitoto Island.
From 1935-1957, it was also considered a prime location for military operations as it sits between both channel approaches to Auckland Harbour. Read about the military defences on Rangitoto Island