Click to return home

Welcome to Rangitoto Island, Hauraki Gulf, New Zealand

The youngest of the islands in the Hauraki Gulf, Rangitoto emerged from the sea around 700 years ago in a series of volcanic explosions. Rising to a height of 260 metres the circular island presents the same uniform appearance and is visible from most parts of the mainland. Rangitoto's name has been translated to mean the day the blood of Tamatekapua was shed, relating to a major Maori battle at Islington Bay about 1350. Rangitoto is an icon of Auckland city.

Situated about 8 km northeast of Auckland and connected to Motutapu Island by a causeway, Rangitoto is a large island of 2311 hectares with a wonderful volcanic landscape that supports over 200 species of moss, plants and trees including the largest Pohutukawa forest in the world. It was purchased by the Crown in 1854, set aside as a recreation reserve in 1890 and for over 30 years the island's volcanic scoria was quarried and shipped to Auckland. Between 1925 and 1936 prison labour built roads on the island and a track to the summit.

There are some 10 or so short and long walks around the island and from the summit there are magnificent views of the Hauraki Gulf, the Waitemata Harbour and Auckland city.

Rangitoto Islands' unique geological and natural attributes are of international interest. What is less known is that the three Bach Settlements of Rangitoto Wharf, Islington Bay and Beacon End are also of national importance.

The bach communities on Rangitoto Island were built in the 1920's and 30's and consist of private holiday dwellings and boatsheds as well as communal facilities such as paths, swimming pool, community hall and tennis courts. Built by families, using the scarce resources of the Depression era, the buildings demonstrate the 'kiwi' do-it-yourself, jack-of-all-trades attitudes of the times.

As a result of a prohibition order on further buildings in 1937, the remnants of the communities reflect this specific time in Auckland's development and as a result they are part of local history involving typical New Zealanders in a unique environment.

Because other bach communities, which were prevalent throughout the country, have virtually disappeared, the Rangitoto bach settlements are irreplaceable artefacts of New Zealand's architectural, and social history and therefore are important beyond their locality.

Become a fan Bookmark and Share

Museum Bach Opening Hours

Bach 38 Museum at Rangitoto Wharf will be open by appointment
Opening times are from the first Fullers ferry of the day to the last ferry of the day.

Open other days by appointment -

line break

Latest Additions

Education Pages

New content added to the education pages here>>

line break

Rangitoto Scouts

Photos of the Scout Camps in the 1930s, 1948 and 1951 here>>

line break

Rangitoto Wrecks

Photos of the wrecks here>>

line break

Rangitoto Ramblings

The latest newsletter is available here>>

line break


Gareth Cooke Photos

Gareth has taken a series of photos of the Rangitoto Baches and wrecks view his online gallery here>>

line break

From the TVNZ Archives

A Summer Place

line break

Photos of Rangitoto Island submitted by the public on Flickr are here>>

line break

Rangitoto Island Biosecurity Standards. Find out what you need to know here>>

line break

The Environmental Care Code and Water Care Code can be found here>>

line break

New photos have been added to the galleries here>>

line break

Charitable Trust

The Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust is Charities Commission registered - our number is CC28141 - so all donations over $5 are tax deductible. View certificate here>>
More information on societies and trusts here>>

line break



Major financial sponsor
AMP Financial Services Limited

Weather for Rangitoto today
Check out what the weather is doing over the Auckland area.

Tide reports -
Check out the high and low tide
for Auckland area

line break


Heritage Notes
Restoration / #38 / #114
Membership / How to join
Submit / Stories & Photos
Bach 38 / Open Day Images

line break

Key facts about Rangitoto Island

Maori name: Rangitoto, derived from the phrase 'Te Rangi i totongia a Tamatekapua - the day the blood of Tamatekapua was shed'.

Location: Auckland City, map reference NZMS 260: R11/762888

Height: 260 m

Age: Formed about 600 years ago
(ca 1400 AD)

Volume lava: about 2,300 million cubic metres (equivalent to 468,000 Olympic sized swimming pools)

Volume tuff/ash/pyroclastics: about 19 million cubic metres (equivalent to 3,800 Olympic sized swimming pools)

Rangitoto Ramblings

"Once Upon a Time"
When the Devonport Borough Council was given Rangitoto Island to look after, they formed the Rangitoto Island Domain Board who faced with costs related running the island looked for methods to raise funds. One of the ways was to offer campsites for an annual fee. As more and more people took up the campsites it became unhygienic so they lessees encouraged building and this was the start of the Bach Communities. All that happened in 1911 – 100 years ago.

From the records of the Rangitoto Wharf Community;
Site 26 and therefore Bach 26, later known as Lambs Joint was leased by Jones & Co, Working Mens Club.
Bach 28 was the first dwelling on the island and was built by William Pooley who was appointed a caretaker in 1911.
Bach 27 also built by William Pooley and was originally the boat shed for Bach 28, it is currently known as Don-Jan.
Bach 36 – a request to build was lodged on 8th August 1911 – 100 years ago today as I write this newsletter – permission was granted by the Domain Board on 29th November 1911 to Messers Jones and others.
These baches are still standing, there were many more that have been removed.

Bach 36 by Donna Massey

Wharf and Track Upgrades
In the upcoming 12 months there will be some changes to Rangitoto Island. The long awaited replacement of the Rangitoto Wharf will start in October. Initially offsite for 3 to 4 months, it will be onsite for approx 8 months. Being upgraded will be the Coastal Track from Islington Bay to Rangitoto Wharf. It is very rough and has been the cause of many injuries in the past as visitors run for the ferry. It is hoped with these improvements that Rangitoto and Motutapu will become more of a walking destination.

Auckland Heritage Festival
With the advent of Auckland Council this will be even bigger this year as it has amalgamated all of Auckland. The Trust is running its famous Cream scone, tea and tours twice a day on Sundays, 18th & 25th September and 2nd October. The Trust has just ordered sleeveless vests for volunteers to wear, Marian has trialled one for us, they will be available at the AGM to look at and purchase. Bookings through Fullers either by phone or online.

End of Year Volunteer Function
Usually at the end of the year we have a barbeque on Rangitoto Island for our Volunteers. It was suggested this year that the trip to Coromandel including a visit to Driving Creek Railway. Run by 360 Discovery look at their website and if interested email and register then we can let you know details such as date and cost.

Restoration Update
The Trust has been working on Bach 114 since 2005 and we are pleased to announce that apart from some very minor finishing, our fabulous volunteers have completed the project.
There will be news at a later date of an appropriate ceremony and later on the bach will be made available for use by the public. All of this depends on the signing off of the management agreement with the Department of Conservation – more of that will be explained at the AGM on the 3rd September. In the meantime we have made great progress on Bach 78 starting on the structural underfloor. Plans are in place for Bach
103, known as Flounder Inn also at Islington Bay, and more exciting we have been asked to restore Bach 52 at Rangitoto Wharf; it will be good to be back showcasing our work at
Rangitoto Wharf.

Bach 52 Rangitoto Wharf

The Trusts work was put to good use earlier this year when Marcus Lush and the rest of his team from JAM TV stayed overnight in Bach114 to film a segment for his programme
NORTH. This was made extra special when he spoke with his father outside Bach 65 which was originally owned by the Lush family. North is now available on DVD, look out
for the amazing sunrise taken from the summit of the island.

Also now in our archives is the video by Kylie Newman on the Trust as part of her final assessment for her degree at AUT and recently obtained archives filmed in 1968 and
1984 from TVNZ. All of these can be viewed at the AGM while sharing afternoon tea.

Bach 65 by Donna Massey

This year the Island was on high alert when rat tracks were found in monitoring stations at Rangitoto Wharf. Earlier a rat had been found hiding in the engine bay of a van going to Motuihe Island. In the next few weeks there will be released Takahe and Saddleback on Motutapu Island. If we want to see both Rangitoto and Motutapu Island flourish we must be
extra vigilant about what we accidentally take when we travel there.

Please check and recheck all you bags, clothing and footwear for stowaways, for animals, insects and plants. Have all your food securely packaged in sealed containers and in closed carry bags. The Trust makes sure all its materials required for restoration are thoroughly checked and packaged before being delivered to Island.

Don't forget to check our website as it is updated regularly and Rangitoto Island on Facebook.

Working bees updates can also be found on

Thank you for reading
Elizabeth Andrew

Rangitoto Ramblings [pdf] 924kb