Grade: Easy to moderate walking with a gradual incline. Reasonable level of fitness required.
How to get there: Ferry from the Downtown Ferry Terminal Pier 4, downtown Auckland to Rangitoto Wharf at 9.15a.m., 10.30a.m, or 12.15p.m. Extra sailings Saturdays and Sundays at 7.30a.m. Twenty-five minute journey. Alternatively, Auckland Sea Shuttles offer chartered water taxi services.
Options for guided tour: Te Haerenga operate a fully guided day tour which includes the ferry, lunch and gear. This is a Māori tourism business owned by Auckland Iwi Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, you'll learn about their history and stories of their ancestors on Rangitoto and neighbouring Motutapu Island.
Options for independent: Easily walked independently, make sure you bring your own lunch and plenty of water.
Length: 8 - 15 kilometres/4.3 - 9.3 miles, depending on which tracks you walk.
Walking Options: Include the Lava Caves Track, 15 minutes one way off the Summit Track. It’s around one hour to the lava caves from Rangitoto Wharf. Take a torch for exploring.
Walk the Wilson Park Track to the summit, 1 hour 45 minutes one way. This track branches off the Summit Track before the Lava Caves Track. Some of it is over uneven lava fields.
For a longer walk, take the gravelled road, (50 metres from the wharf, pass the shelter, keeping the toilets on your left) to Mackenzie Bay. The road follows the water’s edge and takes around 1.5 hours. About ten minutes before Mackenzie Bay is the Summit turnoff. From there, it’s an hour, fifteen minute walk to the summit.
Visit the iconic 1930’s baches not far from the wharf. One is now a museum – open Sundays in summer or by appointment.
Walking Time: 2 hours return on Summit Track, 5 - 6 hours via Mackenzie Bay to Summit and back down to the ferry
Elevation: 260 metres/850 feet.
Facilities: Toilets at Rangitoto Wharf, Mackenzie Bay, Islington Bay Wharf. Shelter and emergency telephone at Rangitoto Wharf. No food or water available on the island, make sure you take everything you need.
Wildlife: Shore birds including New Zealand dotterel and variable oystercatcher. Native forest birds such as New Zealand pigeon, parakeet and morepork (owl), fantail, whitehead bellbird, grey warbler and saddleback. Neighbouring Motutapu has a population of our rarest birds, the Takahe and Kiwi, and sometimes they wander over the causeway on to Rangitoto. Sea birds. Copper, suter and moko skinks. Common and Pacific geckos.
Flora: Largest pohutukawa forest in the world. Two hundred species of native trees and flowering plants. Ferns, orchids, mangroves.
Walking Tips: Take food and water – nothing available on the island. No rubbish bins – take your rubbish back with you. Wear good sturdy footwear. Heading for McKenzie Bay? Take swimming gear. Wasps are around over the summer. Rangitoto is a smoke free island, including vaping.
More Info: Visit the Rangitoto Island Page on the DOC website
See our tours which include walking in Auckland
Four of our small group tours start in Auckland and lots of our guests arrive a few days early to explore the city and of course the beautiful harbour. A day walk out on Rangitoto Island is a great way to acclimatize yourself to New Zealand and get the best views of Auckland too. Here are some of our tours which start in Auckland which you can easily add a day walk to Rangitoto into:
Kakapo 21 Day North & South Island Tour
Kaka 17 Day North & South Island Tour