Time: 4-8 Hours
What to bring: 20-30$ (Ferry), Water, Food, Sunscreen, Walking shoes
Rangitoto is a small island located directly across from the Auckland Harbor. This island is an active volcano and erupted only about four hundred years ago. This has caused the formation of the volcanic rocks that line the pathways on the sea level nature walks. Along with the walks, there are also some more challenging hikes. The most popular is a one-hour journey that will take you straight to the summit. Here you have an iconic view of the Auckland skyline and window into how scientists monitor the volcanic activities. We enjoyed trails alongside the water and explored the full five-and-a-half kilometers of the island. This walk is about an hour and a half to the first destination and has plenty of cool stops along the way. The sides of the path are covered with volcanic rock, making for a distinct and crunchy landscape. Side paths lead to abandoned buildings, wharfs, and plants that I had never even heard of. We discovered an abandoned groundskeeper’s house built thirty years ago. I am sure there are plenty of other hidden treasures if you are willing to look.
One trail led to lowland bush with unique wildlife including New Zealand's famous ferns. This bush is also the only canopy cover you will have on this path, so look forward to the shade. After you pass through this brief section, the walk will eventually lead you to a hidden beach with a secluded swimming area. Beware of the crabs, as they will clamp your toes given the chance. The water was great for swimming. Luke was the first one in while I turned on some Grateful Dead and hung out in the sun.
This entire walk took our group about four hours from start to finish. The ferry to Rangitoto leaves before noon and the soonest return trip is 2:30 PM. I advise bringing your lunch and water, as neither is available on the island. As there is little canopy cover, sunscreen is essential as well. Rangitoto makes for a nice day trip and a great workout. You leave tired, but not exhausted, and it's fun to explore the wild side of New Zealand so close to home.