Rangitoto is difficult to miss. Auckland’s youngest and largest volcano rises 260m out of the Hauraki Gulf and is visible across the city.

It is impressive from a distance, but even more spectacular up close.

Because it’s in our backyard, we’re lucky enough to be able to easily visit and experience the history, nature and views that Rangitoto offers, all in a day.

Here are five reasons to visit Rangitoto:

  1. The history

    The name Rangitoto means “The day the blood of Tamatekapua was shed”. This refers to a Māori battle in nearby Islington Bay around 1350.

    From the time Rangitoto emerged 700 years ago it has become an iconic part of Auckland’s history.

    The walk around the island and up to its summit is dotted with historical information. You can take a look inside the restored Bach 38 which contains irreplaceable artefacts of New Zealand's architectural and social history.

  2. The location

    Rangitoto is only a 30-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland. Ferries depart regularly throughout the day, making planning easy and flexible.

    If you’re more adventurous, you can take a Kayak tour to the island. The trip across takes around 75 minutes and your guide will take you on a tour to the summit.

    Whichever way you choose to travel, Rangitoto’s location means it’s perfect for a day-trip.

  3. The views

    From the moment you board the ferry and travel out into the Hauraki Gulf, you are treated to a unique and spectacular view of Auckland city.

    As the city fades into the distance and Rangitoto nears, you’ll start to appreciate the vastness of the island and imagine how it must have looked some 700 years ago when it violently erupted out of the sea.

    Once you reach the summit, you’re treated to breathtaking 360 degree views.

  4. The native vegetation and wildlife

    Rangitoto was declared pest-free in 2011 so native wildlife and plants have been able to thrive.

    The island has the world’s largest pohutakawa forest along with an abundance of New Zealand’s native birds including the morepork, New Zealand’s only surviving owl.

    It’s an environment where you’ll see plants emerge out of rugged lava formations, flourishing in seemingly impossible conditions.

  5. It’s a great day for the kids

    The one hour walk up to the summit is easy for younger legs and there’s plenty to see and do during the climb too.

    If you have very young children, you can take the 4WD road train up to the summit. It crosses crunchy black rock and lava fields on the way.

    Pack a torch, the kids will love exploring the lava caves and twisting tunnels that were carved out by flowing lava during the eruption.

    When the inevitable need to refuel little stomachs arrives, put down a blanket on the crater rim and enjoy a unique picnic.

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