In New Zealand/ Travel Destinations

Auckland Day Trip: Visiting Rangitoto with Kids

Rangitoto Island With Kids

Auckland was our first New Zealand experience – a fantastic city, jam-packed with kid-friendly activities, but what we really  wanted to see were the islands off the coast. Keep reading to find out more about visiting Rangitoto with kids.

We were a tad unlucky and had terrible weather for the duration of our stay, so only managed to visit one of them during this visit, but I wanted to share with you why I think that the volcanic island of Rangitoto is a must-see for kids.

Rangitoto Island With Kids

Rangitoto Island With Kids


Rangitoto is one of the most famous of all of Auckland’s 48 islands – you’ll find the largest pohutukawa forest in the world. This fairly young island, (it is only 600 years old) is great for children, with a 4WD trail ready to take them on an adventure; a fun and not too demanding hike up to the island’s summit, and the lava caves which you can explore (bring a torch).


  • Catch the ferry at the Downtown Aucklands Ferry Terminal
  • The island is a cushy 25 minutes’ ferry ride away from Auckland, perfect for an easy day out.
  • Cost: NZ$30 pp (under 5s go free)


From the moment you board your ferry, you can see how the whole experience is suitable for families. You can either explore Rangitoto on your own, walking through lava crops and heavy bush, and hiking up the summit (do it!) or you can take advantage of the 4WD train that takes you on a tour all around the island.

The tour guide was brilliant, full of funny facts and in a remarkable good mood, especially considering the harsh weather conditions surrounding us – it was bucketing down all day!

TIP: There are no shops on the island, so make sure you bring enough snacks and drinks to last you the day.

Rangitoto Island With Kids


My four year old of course loved the idea of the train, especially considering it was raining cats and dogs, and we would’ve been drenched in minutes otherwise. Luckily for us, the rain slowed down as we exited the train to walk up to the island’s summit, leaving a rich, earthy smell in the air. The hike up to the summit is very easygoing, with a wooden path and steps that take you all the way to the top. The 360 degree views over Auckland are absolutely spectacular. If it’s this beautiful on a grey, drizzly day I can only imagine what it must be like with a clear sky.


Though slightly wet from the continuous rain, when we re-joined the train our guide advised that there was a bit of time to see a nearby beach if we were interested – of course we jumped at the idea. With only 30 minutes to explore, we made a quick dash to the beach, climbed carefully over the sharp lava rocks and soaked-up the views once again – just stunning. As always, my son managed to get his shoes wet while having a dare with the sea! Not a problem, this is New Zealand, and the fact that we’re here is amazing on its own!

Rangitoto Island With Kids

  Rangitoto Island With Kids

Rangitoto Island With Kids

Rangitoto Island With Kids

 Rangitoto Island With Kids

Rangitoto Island With Kids

When the tour finished, we had another 45 minutes left to explore the island before our ferry left back to Auckland, which would’ve been wonderful had it not been for the rain. So the boys waited with the other families and school children in the sheltered area, and I went to snap a few more photos of the immediate area.

Wandering round Rangitoto you occasionally see some charming little huts – these were holiday homes built by Auckland families who would spend their summers here. No new huts can be built now as the island is protected, and the old ones have to stay in the family and not be sold on. Gradually they’re being dismantled as people decide they don’t want to pay for the upkeep but a few have been restored, and there is one just near the jetty that is like a window into New Zealand’s past, filled with vintage furnishings and trinkets.

It was a cold, grey day, but thanks to Rangitoto’s uniqueness and beauty we had a truly enjoyable day, full of adventure, great views and a wet sock or two!

If you’d like to find out what else there is to do in Auckland with kids, this website is packed with ideas.




Linking with Whatever the Weather & Country Kids

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  • AMommysAdventures

    Oh my goodness that looks like such a great place to visit!! I am definitely jealous 🙂 I love seeing all the fun places people go to.

    • one tiny leap

      It was amazing! We have great memories, despite the rain 😉

  • This looks so beautiful, even on a frey day! the hike to the summit really tempts me but, knowing my kids, I don’t think I could get away not taking the train… I’d never hear the end if it!

    • one tiny leap

      It really is, definitely worth a go if you’re ever in Auckland. The hike to the summit is fairly easy (the train doesn’t go there) and I would definitely recommend it 🙂

  • Considering we live about a 3 hour flight away we should visit New Zealand some time soon i would think. It always looks so nice. My kids love those rides on the train type things. The one in Montmartre comes to mind

    • one tiny leap

      You should!!! It’s one of the most incredible places we’ve ever been to. I’ve got a bunch of posts coming up in the next few months, hopefully we’ll convince you to go . The train didn’t actually go up to the summit, just dropped you off at the base 🙂

  • I have never visited New Zealand. You photography is awesome and inspiring – one day – we hope !

    • one tiny leap

      It really is something else, there is so much to see 🙂

  • Wow! That looks like a great place to visit. Your photos are gorgeous. 🙂

  • Coombe Mill (Fiona)

    Nick has family in New Zealand and we went out to see them there pre kids, I’d love to return again one day, it is such a beautiful island and I’m sure it has changed so much in the 20 years since we were there. What a shame about the rain, it sounds like England with a day of non stop rain, I don’t blame you opting for the land train to take you round and well done for braving the weather to discover the beach and that lovely view back to the mainland too. Looks like it was still a good visit even with the rain. Well done on your much deserved awards shortlisting, so very much deserved. Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids.

    • one tiny leap

      Thank you so much Fiona, I’m so chuffed about the nomination, couldn’t believe it! NZ is really something else, I’d love to go back in a few years when Charlie is a little bigger and can take part in some of the more adrenalin-focused activities! Thank you for hosting #CountryKids

  • New Zealand is on my list. We have lots of family and friends over there. It does look amazing. Even in the rain. #CountryKids

    • one tiny leap

      Absolutely, it’s incredible regardless of the weather 🙂

  • Sarah Stockley

    I’ve been obsessed with New Zealand since my early 20’s but still have never been. I’d really love to travel more with my three kids and hoping one day we will. It looks like a gorgeous little island. Sarah #whatevertheweather

    • one tiny leap

      It’s perfect to explore with little ones, so safe and peaceful! 🙂

  • What a wonderful place to visit and sounds like you enjoyed exploring the island in spite of the rain. The land train sounds like it was a great way of seeing the island too 🙂

    • one tiny leap

      It was fantastic, and our guide was very funny too which helped with the rain 🙂

  • Love the photos. Looks like a great place to visit. maybe on a sunny day though! 🙂

    • one tiny leap

      Thanks Lisa! It’d definitely be better under the sun, who knows you may even have a paddle 🙂

  • OurFamilyTravel

    Rangitoto looks beautiful! The train ride sounds like fun especially in the rain!

    • one tiny leap

      It was so much fun, the island is so interesting and a great natural playground for kids 🙂

  • Passport Kids

    Thanks so much for sharing, I had no idea about such islands! Good for you guys on sticking it out with the weather and making the best of it. The cloudy weather made for some stunning photos though 🙂

    • one tiny leap

      Thank you 🙂 Yes, we were freezing but it was definitely worth it 🙂

  • What a shame about the rain. Well done for staying though and the tractor ride around sounds like a lot of fun. Your pictures are gorgeous. I really want to go to New Zealand. It’s on our bucket list. Thank you so much for sharing with #whatevertheweather xxx

    • one tiny leap

      Thank you for hosting Chloe 🙂 NZ was epic, I’d love to go back when C is a little older 🙂

  • Jenny Eaves

    Wow! Just wow! It looks stunning and I love how young it is, the ecology must be so interesting, going to go and have a look online in a minute to find out more about this island. It sounds like the rain didn’t stop you having an amazing time. I love the tractor train and the walk to the top definitely sounds worth it, as does seeing all that lava rock. Thanks slouch for linking up this amazing place to #Whatevertheweather 🙂 x

    • one tiny leap

      Thanks Jenny! It’s a really unique place, we really loved our experience. Charlie got obsessed with lava & volcanos after this trip 🙂

  • Hey, fellow Belfort 😀 I love your photos ?

    • one tiny leap

      Thanks Joyce! So great to connect x