My Grandfather was a prison warden way back in the 30’s and he traveled to Rangitoto Island to supervise the hard labour of the convicts. They were building roads and tracks to the summit. He got the opportunity to choose a piece of land and built a bach. I believe it’s the biggest on the island with three double bedrooms and a decent sized lounge and balcony out the front. It’s still standing fortunately. The old outhouse with its spiders used to terrify me as a kid especially at night.
My Great Uncle Jimmy used to live there for many years and we would go there every single family holiday for my whole childhood as far back as I can remember. My parents loved it too. They knew they could let us roam safe. Once my brother and I were in a dinghy and we got into trouble and started drifting back to Auckland. My brother jumped off to swim to land and raise the alarm. Dad came swimming out to get me. Another time I got bit by a possum and chased through the lava caves. I also got stuck in the mud and stabbed by plenty of fishing hooks. All good fun.
Lots of the bach holders had children and grandchildren so we would play with the grandchildren and make a lot of memories, learning to swim in the pool, fishing off the wharf, having egg and spoon races, parties and walking through the bush.
A favourite daily adventure was ‘beach combing’ through the rocks to see what the tide had brought in. We found all sorts. One time my Dad found half a boat smashed up. Sometimes we would walk to the summit or right through to Islington Bay and catch the ferry back. So many fantastic memories of this island. It’s still my favourite place in the world.