Saturday, September 19, 2015

Rangitoto summit conquered

During Mr.Fox's Dad stay we really wanted to climb to the top of Auckland's youngest volcano. A short ferry ride from downtown Auckland this dormant volcano is an attraction for both tourists and locals alike. A year or so ago we met with friends at the Ferry terminal with intentions to explore but the weather packed it in so we sought shelter and brunch instead.

Last week we watched the weather reports and hoped for a rainless day. On Toby's last day of leave we saw a window of opportunity. The evening prior we were busy bees. I baked a pie, packed the sunscreen, a warm, a sunhat and all the other bits and bobs that need to accompany a baby on an island adventure.

Rangitoto Island in the Harbour. View from Michael J Savage Memorial Park on a recent Geocaching adventure
Of course in the morning it took a bit longer than expected to get out the door. It was mid morning when we took our seats and admired the harbour scenes as we cruised to Rangitoto Island. Mae of course loved exploring the boat and crawled about pointing and shouting in excitement. Being a weekday there were few people about and we mostly had the track to ourselves. We chose to take the track to the summit; keen to see the view back to Auckland and check it off the list! 

Exciting to be getting on our way. Miss Mae looking extra sweet in her jacket knitted by Great Nana McLeary

It is an otherworldly place with large bare and rugged patches of black lava rocks where vegetation has been unable to take root. Eerily quiet as there are no birds until you get nearer to the top where the Pohutakawa forest grows. It is an easy and gradual climb until the last fifteen minutes which meant we could drink in the view. We half expected an Orc or Warg to charge at us from around the next bend.

We didn't rush and stopped to read the signs. Cublet seemed content to be in the backpack as long as we never lingered for too long. As the vegetation became denser little treasures grew in pockets of shade. Tiny Kidney Ferns clustered together; it seemed to me they should be growing in rock pools or ponds but they seemed content in the rugged conditions. The trees gave us welcome shelter from the wind and cooled as we hiked higher.

Kidney Ferns. Tiny and brilliant. 
Rangitoto explorers.

The crater at the top was quite spectacular, a cavernous hole that made you feel rather small. Circumnavigating the rim is the track with places to sit and admire the views back towards the city, out to the Coromandel and the islands in the Gulf. It was quite something to eat homemade pie atop a dormant volcano. Little wax-eyes and sparrows flitted about our feet; not all nervous about humans.

The clouds gathered and the temperature dropped as we finished lunch so we rugged up and started our descent, this time with Mr. Fox carrying Mae on his back. With full belly and warm perch she let her eyelids close and slept.

The summit!


We had time enough to explore the lava caves before catching the last ferry. It was a short walk from the main track and beautiful. Twisted tree roots crept over and around mossy rocks. It was still and quiet. We caught glimpses of a rare Saddleback bird in the branches overhead. We clambered through some caves, cool and damp under the earth. It felt like an adventure from the Famous Five stories. I am looking forward to return visit with more time (and a torch) to investigate these subterranean tunnels.

I can imagine Fairies gathering here

Rangitoto Lava Caves

After a quick explore of two Rangitoto Bachs we boarded the ferry back to the city. Wild Freesias bloomed near the jetty and despite the winds the air was thick with their heavenly fragrance. It is incredible to have such a enchanting wild place so close to Auckland's bustling downtown. We will be back to walk the Wilson Park Track and check out the Museum during the Summer season.....there are a few caches we want to try and find too!


  1. Wowee, those caves! I love her little cardigan too.

  2. I just got a notification that you liked my photo on Instagram the EXACT SECOND I posted that comment - spooky!

    1. Ooo spooky indeed! I love her cardigan too, my Nana is a whizz at knitting so we get spoiled with yummy handknits.