Rangitoto Island Summit © KesKlye70 Creative Commons

Climb Rangitoto: Auckland's most iconic volcano


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Auckland is a city built on volcanoes. Don’t panic or worry, that’s just how it is.

The coolest, we reckon, and the non-mainland one, is Rangitoto. How often do you get to scramble up an icon? (Maybe don’t answer that.)

Rangitoto is the volcanic cone that dominates the Auckland landscape and has been a symbol of Auckland for as long as any of us can remember. But you don’t need to view it from afar. You can climb it. Yep. There’s a lot of scoria, and not a lot of, you know, facilities, but the point is to reach the point, or both of them, at the top, not have a five-course dégustation on the way.

When you get to the top — and it’s pretty simple, whether you take the direct route or one of the more gentle, encircling-type ones — you can then walk around the edge of the crater. That’s what they used to call up close and personal. In the ’90s. Now it’s just a pathway to awesome.

The climb, all 259 vertical metres of it, takes you through lava fields, forest and lots of scoria. And should you need a diversion/distraction/excuse to stop climbing, peel off the main track and check out the lava caves. Bring a torch.

The whole thing feels moon-like, but then you look across that sparkling gulf and there’s the Sky Tower, like some beacon of reality. Juxtaposition junkies, this one’s for you.

See Auckland from a completely different perspective than most other folk, and have that strange feeling of being in the city, not just of it kinda style.

A final word: check the ferry times, and keep an eye on your timepiece as you scramble over those lava rocks. Don’t want to, you know, miss the boat, huh.

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