AUCKLAND

Soulful Rangitoto & Matutapu Islands

Be Active Five Ways to Wellbeing
Take notice
Rangitoto Island, Auckland, New Zealand
Photo credit Chris McLennan

Rangitoto Island

Welcome to the soulful Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands. Home to the worlds largest pohutukawa forest, Rangitoto Island is a very special little pocket of Aotearoa. If you’re looking for an interesting, scenic and native day walk, thats good for the soul and close to Auckland, Rangitoto is your answer! The pest-free island is just under 5km offshore of Auckland and about a 30min ferry ride; Or, for a unique mode of transportation, and you’re an experienced kayaker, get adventurous and make your way across the strait with arm-power!

Rangitoto has three day walks to conquer;

Coastal Track

1. Meander around the island on the coastal track to neighbouring Motutapu Island or over to Boulder Bay where, at low tide, you are able to view old ship wrecks which were deliberately sunk there as a means of disposal at the end of the 19th century and beginning of 20th. There are about 13 ships there which are now protected for viewing purposes.

Rangitoto Island scenic reserve

2. Trek through Rangitoto Island scenic reserve, which is best in spring, when the native Kōwhai tree of the Kōwhai Grove is in its brilliant yellow bloom (kōwhai means yellow in te reo Māori, the Māori language), also not to be missed is the native Kidney Fern Glen which can be viewed not far after starting on the summit track.
Further on, at Flax Point, there is a breeding Black Gull colony which can be viewed.

The summit track

3. The summit track which takes you through the pōhutukawa forest, with ample native bird life and song. Then, it’s on to the summit lookout where you are further rewarded with wonderful views over the Hauraki Gulf and Auckland city. While you’re up there, check out the volcanic Crater Rim Loop track, which can be circled around. A few hundred meters from the summit is a short de-tour to volcanic caves, bring a head-torch for best viewing inside.

Rangitoto Island is a dormant volcano which is around 600 years old. The island is covered in black volcanic rock, which used to be lava, called scoria. This makes it particularly hot when you are walking on the island. There are no shops, so it’s important to remember to take plenty of supplies to stay well hydrated and keep sun safe.

Hunua Ranges

Rangitoto Islands lava feilds
Todd Eyre Photography

Motutapu Island

In contrast to the youth of Rangitoto (only 600 years old, practically a child!), Motutapu is estimated to be around 178 million years old. This old girl is has a few war stories (literally) and is still pretty gorgeous. Historically, Motutapu Island was an established Māori settlement and has also been an army base during world war two. The main tracks on the island will take you around to see what this little island is all about.

Motutapu Farm Walkway

Motutapu Farm Walkway will take you a couple of hours each way, up and over from Home Bay to Islington Bay, past regenerating forrest, with fantastic panoramic views of northern Hauraki Gulf.

Rotary Centennial Walk

Haven’t had enough of the amazing views and in need of some history? Taking around two hours each way, start at Home Bay and head north to Northern Junction, continue down Pōhutukawa Track where you will see huge WWII gun emplacements strategically placed at the entrance to Auckland for protection. When you’ve had your fill of historical sites, carry on down to Sandy Bay then head along to Billy Goat Point for more northern beauty!

Beaches

After you’ve tuckered yourself out discovering the islands beautiful views, pōhutukawas, local and national history and stretching your legs, it must be time for a cool off?
Sandy Bay, Pig Bay, Administration Bay, Home Bay and Waikarapupu/Waikalabubu Bay are all worthy of your attention, great for swimming and picnicking. The only issue is picking one!
This little pocket is pest-free, which also means, there are no rubbish bins – please take everything with you!
Motutapu Restoration Trust are always keen for volunteers, they hold regular conservation days on which you can help out. Pay it forward to the soulful Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands, and future generations, and sign up!

Mototapu Island with views

Out exploring Motutapu Island
Todd Eyre Photography

  Auckland Awaken the senses with West Auckland waterfallsAwaken the senses with these West Auckland waterfalls, both of which have a glorious backdrop of the Waitakere ranges. The ranges reach 450m above sea level and cover 16,000 hectares of native rainforest...

Wellington Discover the Top Things to Do at Wellington: Your Essential Adventure Checklist!This site contains affiliate links for products and services we recommend. Read my disclaimer for more information. If you make a purchase through these links, at no extra cost...

Otago Explore Lake Dunstan Cycle Trail & Historical Township of ClydeThis site contains affiliate links for products and services we recommend. Read my disclaimer for more information. If you make a purchase through these links, at no extra cost to you, I will...

Blog 13 Most Stunning Places to Visit in New ZealandAotearoa New Zealand, a diverse, attractive and unforgettable Little Pocket of land in the Southern Hemisphere. Today we are exploring the 13 most stunning places to visit in New Zealand, on both the North and South...

Little Pocket Tips Free Travel Planning ResourcesThis site contains affiliate links for products and services we recommend. Read my disclaimer for more information. If you make a purchase through these links, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a small commission...

Soul Food Self-Care: What Is It?What actually is self-care? Life got you like, I need a vacation!?And so you're thinking, whats this self care thing all about?We feel you. Self care is one of those terms people love to use, so the fundamentals of what self-care is,...

Guided self-care The Five Ways to Wellbeing The Five Ways to Wellbeing are a set of five influences which can improve our overall wellbeing and are presented to be able to apply to our lives in a practical way. These are  – social relationships, physical activity,...

Accomodation New Zealands Best Glamping: Luxury Camping RetreatsThis site contains affiliate links for products and services we recommend. Read my disclaimer for more information. If you make a purchase through these links, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a small...

Little Pocket Tips 17 Essentials to Pack for Travel in NZDAY BAG First things first - check the weather. This little island nation has some pretty changeable weather patterns! When packing for a trip in NZ, we suggest packing layers of clothing so you can add-on or...

Southland Discovering Milford Sound: A Soulful Escape in Fiordland National ParkThis site contains affiliate links for products and services we recommend. Read my disclaimer for more information. If you make a purchase through these links, at no extra cost to you, I...

Grab yourself a FREE and comprehensive travel planner!

We have put together a comprehensive, easy-on-the-eye and free, travel planner with over 50 pages of helpful planning sheets and handy hints for you to have everything sorted!

To-list Lists
Packing Lists
Departure Plan
Flight and Accomodation Informaion
How to get the Most out of your Getaway
Things to Experience
Expenses
Daily Schedules
& More

Simply add your details in the boxes below to download the PDF
The document can be easily customised to suit your travel plans in the free version of Canva, and can be downloaded as a PDF again for your phone, tablet or computer – or it can be printed.
LP x

Read our Privacy Policy