New Zealand Working Holiday (Part 7) : Day trip to Rangitoto Volcanic Island in the Hauraki Gulf, Auckland (Part 1)

Off the coast of Auckland, in the Hauraki Gulf lies the iconic Rangitoto Island. The volcanic island emerged from the sea around 600 years ago in a series of volcanic explosions and happens to be the youngest and largest volcano in the Auckland volcanic field. 🙂

A short ferry ride is all it takes to visit Rangitoto Island. However, only day trips are allowed on the island and visitors are not allowed to stay overnight on the island simply because there are no accommodations, eateries or shops available on the island.


Fullers Ferry Ride to Devonport & Rangitoto Island

It is easy to get to Rangitoto Island by ferry (operated by Fullers Ferry) either from downtown Auckland or Devonport Wharf. I bought a return ferry ride ticket at the Ferry Terminal located on 99 Quay St, Auckland. An adult return ticket to Rangitoto Island is $30 per person. A child ticket is $15 per child whereas a family (2 adults, 2 children) return ticket is $75 per family.

Travel tip: There is a 10% discount deal coupon available for an adult return ticket in the Auckland A – Z Free Official Guide distributed at Auckland International Airport. Use that coupon to save some money 😉


Auckland A – Z Free Official Guide’s discount deal vouchers


From there, it was a short wait before I boarded the ferry to Rangitoto Island. The enjoyable ferry ride to the volcanic island took approximately 25 minutes. Since it was a first-come-first-serve free seating basis, I sat on the upper deck of the ferry to get a better view of my surroundings and to enjoy the cold ocean breeze.

Along the way to the volcanic island, I was treated to the sight of yachts sailing freely in the sea with seagulls flying above. The ferry made a quick stop at Devonport Wharf to drop-off or pick-up some passengers. There is a small café/shop on the ferry where visitors can purchase food and drinks to be enjoyed on the ferry or have a picnic on the island.


Erika’s Fullers Ferry adult return ticket to Rangitoto Island + informative brochure
The Ferry Terminal located on 99 Quay St, Auckland #1
The Ferry Terminal located on 99 Quay St, Auckland #2
On-board the ferry leaving for Rangitoto Island at the Ferry Terminal in Auckland
Fullers Ferry lower deck seating
Fullers Ferry café
The Ferry Terminal on 99 Quay St, Auckland

Fullers Ferry upper deck seating
Erika enjoying the view and cold sea breeze on the ferry to Rangitoto Island


1-Day Trip on the Pest-Free Volcanic Island

Rangitoto Island can be explored either on foot or by 4WD road-train. The Fullers Volcanic Explorer road-train guided tour on Rangitoto Island takes visitors to the volcanic island’s main sights. 😀

The 4WD guided road-train tour (including ferry travel) takes about 4 hours to complete. An adult ticket is $65 per person. A child ticket is $32.50 per child whereas a family (2 adults, 2 children) return ticket is $163 per family.

Because I was on a tight budget, I did not take the 4WD road-train tour and chose to explore Rangitoto Island on foot instead. The Rangitoto walks begin at Rangitoto, Islington Bay or Yankee Wharves. There are several bush walks to choose from: Summit Track, Lava Caves Track, Wilson’s Park Track, Kowhai Grove or Flax Point and Historic Baches.

The recommended walk to the summit takes about an hour to complete and offers a spectacular 360° views of Auckland city, the Hauraki Gulf and nearby islands – that was the walking track I took. 😀 Bear in mind that there is a guideline for visitors to follow when visiting Rangitoto Island and there are:


  • Both Rangitoto and Motutapa are pest-free islands. Check your bag before boarding for stowaways – rodents, ants, skinks, dirt and seeds
  • Use the provided shoe brushes (located at the boarding point) to ensure all footwear is free of dirt and seeds
  • Keep to the tracks to protect and preserve plant life and protect yourself from harm on the lava
  • Open fires are forbidden
  • Allow vehicles to pass and stand aside
  • Take all the your rubbish off the island when you leave
  • Do not remove or disturb any plants or historic artefacts
  • Dogs and bikes are not permitted on the island


And, here is a list of what visitors need to bring for the walk:

  • A sun hat and sunscreen
  • Plenty of water
  • Snacks (there are no shops on the island)
  • Lunch (bring food sealed in rodent-proof containers)
  • A torch (to explore the lava caves)
  • Mobile phone (in case of emergencies)


Yachts were spotted sailing freely at sea on the way to Rangitoto Island
Picturesque Rangitoto Island and its distinctive symmetrical shield volcano cone
Rangitoto Wharf
Rangitoto Island, Auckland


Up next: Exploring Rangitoto Island – of Pohutakawa forest, lava fields, lava caves, the Hauraki Gulf and Auckland city skyline

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