Rangitoto: A lunar landscape and the freshest air

Ian Gordon reserves a special place in his heart for Rangitoto, such beautiful and unique island in Auckland's Hauraki Gulf.

Ian Gordon grew up in Auckland and now lives in Melbourne repairing wind instruments - flutes, clarinets and saxes. You could say he knows a lot about air. 

Why Rangitoto is special

For me, Rangitoto Island is the one place in all the world with air so clean and fresh that I must climb to its summit on every visit home.

On misty days I love to start with the fern glen with its moss-covered rocks, small deep caves, and the brilliant greens of the different ferns.  Just to stand and drink in its stillness and silence is a joy.

The other worldliness of this place would make a perfect setting for a Peter Jackson fantasy. Hope his location scouts never discover it though.

Rangitoto, for me, is a wonder in its own right with its lush green foliage thriving on inhospitable lava scoria. Mother Nature’s joke perhaps.

I like to take the boardwalk to the summit – its lookouts are good for a breather while taking in the view.

The “road train” tour guides give a great commentary that illuminates Rangi’s history along the way. The climb is made easy by the boardwalk, then wide graduated steps as we near the summit, and our reward is to look down into the crater and imagine it as a furious rupture in the earth spewing forth molten lava, making the sea sizzle.

Before I head back to the ferry, it’s time to do what I came for: breathe deeply and make a slow 360-degree turn to refresh my mind map. I take it all in once again – the Waitakere Ranges to the west, the harbour bridge and even Birkenhead my home suburb, as well as the islands that make up this magnificent  Hauraki Gulf.

I’d say climbing Rangitoto is a tonic for me like no other; it centres me; it’s my rock.

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