When you are visiting Auckland –the city of sails- there are not only typical City activities like shopping and going to the museum. Auckland is located at the Huraki golf close to many small islands. The youngest of the islands and probably the most spectacular one of them is Rangitoto island- an island that was created about 600 years ago by the eruption of a volcano. So basically the whole island is a volcano.
I recently took a closer look at this interesting piece of nature, that I had seen from distance so many times. (You can see it from Auckland city centre).
After a 20 minute ride on the passenger Ferry from the CBD I arrived at the wharf in Rangitoto.
The ferry ride itself is already an exciting adventure, going through Auckland harbour towards the little islands in the Huraki golf. Rangitoto Island is a small island, and only about 5 km wide and is not inhabited.
As I wanted to see the whole island in one day I had booked the Volcanic Explorer Tour. On that tour you are taken around the island on a 4wd Road Train. The whole trip takes about 3 hrs. Walking the island completely is also an option, but you are not able to see as much of it in the same amount of time.
So once on board of the Road train the guide gave us some information about the island. I immediately regretted not doing this trip earlier in the summer, as the island is covered with Pohutukawa tree. Those trees are red in the early summer. It made me wonder if the trees also had something to do with the naming of the island. As Rangitoto translates into: “Bloody Sky”
The Road train took us right to the path that leads up to the summit of the Volcano. Luckily the department of conservation has created some wooden steps that make it very easy to climb the summit. It takes about 20 minutes to get up to the top, where the first thing you see is the massive volcano crater. Nowadays the volcano is not active anymore, so the crater is covered in forest. It is still impressive to imagine that the crater was spying lava not too long ago.
Another thing that is impressive is the view from up there. I reckon it is the best view on Auckland that you can have. Unfortunately I went on a day, where a big clouds were hanging above the city. So my pictures are not as spectacular as the view in real life.
After a quick lunch on the summit, (you need to bring your own food, as there is no food supply on the island), we climbed back down. The “road train” was already waiting for us and took us round the coast of the island. Anywhere on the island it’s quite obvious that you are on a volcano as you see lava stones everywhere. It is quite surprising that there were some Maori tribes living on this island, between all those lava rocks.
After the round trip had finished, we arrived back in the wharf. We were just in time to catch our ferry back to the city. There is no accommodation on the island, (other than a basic campsite) so if you are planning on going make sure you either bring a tent or you are well aware of the departure time of the last ferry. I really liked that there is so much pure nature so close to the city, so I will definitely will go back and do some hiking or bring my kayak 🙂
In my opinion Rangitoto is an absolute ‘must-do” for all New Zealand visitors.