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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.

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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 -

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Latest Additions

Education Pages

New content added to the education pages here>>

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Rangitoto Scouts

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

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Rangitoto Wrecks

Photos of the wrecks here>>

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Rangitoto Ramblings

The latest newsletter is available here>>

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Gareth Cooke Photos

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

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From the TVNZ Archives

A Summer Place

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

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

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

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New photos have been added to the galleries here>>

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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>>

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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

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

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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)

Auckland Heritage Festival 2008.

The Festival, say the Council on their website:

logo ... celebrates the unique stories and secrets of Auckland and reflects on our city's natural, built and social history ... [as] part of the Council's long-term campaign to protect heritage areas and buildings and to encourage the public to celebrate their city's heritage.

The Rangitoto bach community is certainly part of that heritage and we are very pleased to be given this opportunity to share it.

RIBCA will host a full day event at Islington Bay on Saturday 27 September. Many of the baches will be open throughout the day giving our visitors the chance to look inside and to talk to the bach families about their experiences on Rangitoto.

Over at the Rangitoto Wharf settlement, the Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust (RIHCT), as in previous years, will host a series of two hour walking tours around the area.

Islington Bay
Guided by the Rangitoto Island Bach Community Association (RIBCA), the Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust (RIHCT), and the Maritime Trust.


Date Saturday 27 September
Time You will be met at the Islington Bay wharf when the ferry arrives at 10.20 a.m.
Tour of Baches 78 and 114 with guides Bobbe Free from the Maritime Trust and Christine Turner from RIHCT. The Arrowsmith Bach 78 is currently being restored by the Maritime Trust and the Turner Bach 114 by RIHCT.
The historic Stone Hall (aka The Tennis Pavilion) will be open. Photographs and histories of the Islington Bay baches will be displayed.
Tour of the baches. Many will be open throughout the day giving you the opportunity to look inside and to talk to the bach families about their experiences on Rangitoto.
Cost Free
Fullers scheduled 9.15 a.m. service from Auckland (9.25 a.m. from Devonport) to Rangitoto Wharf will continue on to Islington Bay arriving at 10.20 a.m.
Fullers scheduled 3.30 p.m. service from Rangitoto Wharf will, on this day only, leave Islington Bay at 3.35 p.m. to arrive at Rangitoto Wharf at 4.00 p.m. before returning to Auckland via Devonport.
Fullers Timetable and Fares
Bring Lunch, water, comfortable walking shoes, hat and sunscreen


Rangitoto Wharf
Guided by the Rangitoto Island Historic Conservation Trust (RIHCT)


Bach Community Tour
Wednesday, 24 September
Sunday 5 October
Bach Community & Rangitoto Botany Tour
These tours will also be accompanied by a member of the Auckland Botanical Society
Sunday, 21 September
Sunday 28 September
Wednesday, 1 October
Time 10.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. from the Department of Conservation visitor shelter, Rangitoto Wharf

A guided walking tour of the baches and historic sites.

The tour ends at Bach 38. This was the first bach restored by RIHCT and is now their headquarters and museum. Traditional refreshments of tea and scones will be available for $4.00.

The botany tours include an examination of the unique botany of the island
Cost Gold coin donation
Fullers scheduled service to Rangitoto Wharf leaves Auckland at 9.15 a.m. and 12.15 p.m. (via Devonport 10 minutes later) and returns to Auckland (via Devonport) at 1.15 p.m. and 3.30 p.m.
Fullers Timetable and Fares
Bring Water, comfortable walking shoes, hat and sunscreen