The Ferry Adventures Diary: Devonport and Rangitoto Island

16 November 2023

Come join three adventure-seeking UCL students take on two exotic environments: volcanoes and Auckland’s ferry system! I take you through our day trips to Devonport and Rangitoto, highlighting some nice birds we befriended on the way.


The 29th of July was a particularly exciting day, as it marked the baptism of mine, Nicole’s, and Dan’s AT HOP travel cards. The first trip on an unfamiliar transport system is already a thrill, but even more so when the first thing you try is Auckland’s ferry system. One swift tap, followed by one swift journey on one incredibly blue sea, and we three happy people arrived in the seaside village of Devonport.


After getting off the ferry, we stuck to the coastal path for a bit; there was something strikingly beautiful about the combination of black volcanic rock and clear blue water. We admired the view (we couldn’t not), looking back at where we had just come from and the nearby islands. After befriending some seagulls too, we looped back around and made our way to Mount Victoria.

Very close to the ferry terminal and a quick leg workout, this mount is a must. Still fresh to Auckland, the moment we reached the top was the true reminder that we are in New Zealand. Each angle gives a gorgeous view, whether that’s Rangitoto’s iconic silhouette, the now littler-looking CBD skyline, or the vast expanse of endless water.


(There were also loads of fake mushrooms. None of us knew why they were there. But we liked them.)


The sun still blanketing us, we eventually carried on and made our way into the town. Here we found restaurants, quaint cafes, and second-hand shops a plenty. Engulfed by the seaside atmosphere, we succumbed to an ice cream which we proceeded to share with a very nonchalant sparrow. And so, it pleases me to say that us three happy people remained very happy throughout, and naturally celebrated this outing with a cup of tea when we got home, already reminiscing on the excitement that was this lovely 29th of July.


Notable bird of the trip: The charming little sparrow who ate ice cream with us.


Rangitoto Island

After staring at it longingly from afar, the time had come to conquer Rangitoto. Once again, we were blessed with clear skies and a smooth ferry journey. Rangitoto is Auckland’s only dormant volcano – the rest being extinct - sitting in its satisfying symmetrical shield shape. The walk itself begins gently, taking you through fields of basalt rock, with some beautiful lookout spots.


From here we decided to go straight up to the peak. After a short leg-burner, we reached an enormous green crater and panoramic views of Auckland. With our accommodation buildings shrinking away in the distant and even littler-than-last-time CBD, this peak made a nice spot for a sit-down and lunch.


Replenished, we headed back down and followed a path towards Rangitoto’s lava caves. We heard some distinctive cackles from the trees, which after some mild bird detective work we figured out belonged to the North Island Saddleback. Black and donned in red, these birds are aptly named, abundant at Rangitoto, and a very welcome surprise to anyone who likes seeing native species.

A few minutes of walking led us to the caves. You find a few small crevices and some slightly longer tunnels you can get through if you feel like exploring. Nothing too extreme, they are a fun and curious change to the rest of the walk, especially if you enjoy climbing around on rocks and testing your eyesight in low light.


And thus…some more snacks were consumed, the beach was strutted glamorously down by Dan, and we once again made our way home very happy and ready for a cup of tea, patting our backs proudly.

Notable bird of the trip: The North Island Saddlebacks cackling away.