Rangitoto Volcanic Island and Auckland

Trip Start Aug 10, 2007
Trip End Dec 27, 2007

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

We arrived in Auckland rather sad to be at the end of our journey through New Zealand and thinking quite a lot about our upcoming trip to South America.  For this reason Auckland seemed to be a bit of a transition and we wondered what we should do in New Zealand's largest city.  We had been given a few ideas from fellow travellers we had met on the South Island and decided to spend our first full day on Rangitoto Island.  This gnarled lava landscape draped in forest was said to offer great views back to the city as well as some interesting and challenging tramps (hikes).  It came about around 600 years ago by pushing its way through the ocean floor and the
volcanic fireworks that accompanied it inspired local Maori tribes to
call it 'Sky of Blood'.

We got up early and picked up a McMuffin for breakfast on the way to the ferry.  We also got a few supplies from the Star Mart as we assumed there would be nothing available to buy on the island....and just as well as when we purchased our tickets to board the ferry, the man selling them asked if we had ´water and snacks´.  Well of course we did, Julie doesn´t go anywhere without water and snacks!!!

We arrived on the island just before 10am and decided to do the walk up to the summit first.  It was tiring but great and we passed the lava caves as well as some amazing rock formations and huge pohutukawa forests on the way.  The spectacular views that met us at the top made the last struggle certainly worth the effort and once we had taken that all in we decided to head off on another tramp.  This time to a place called ´boulder bay´ on the map....we weren´t quite sure how far away this was or what it was like, but we were up for the challenge....or were we?

After trekking over mountains of black volcanic rock for just under an hour and following a very unclear path....we reached Ship Wreck Bay.  This is a bay where ships were deliberately brought to be ´wrecked´ and although we found it interesting we shuddered at the thought of having to go back exactly the same way we had come as there were no other paths out of there!  So after resting and taking a couple of photos we sat down in Ship Wreck Bay and had the snacks and water we had brought along...that cheered me up!!  Now for the great trek back....we looked forward to it with loathing but knew that it had to be done!  We trudged back through the rocks and forest going over on our ankles on numerous occasions but nothing too serious and on reaching the sign from the ´main´ road we decided that it was extremely important to warn other travellers of what lay ahead- Greg scratched onto it using a rock (which are clearly in abundance on this island): ´´DON´T GO-CRAP``  Oh well - it certainly was an unforgettable experience.

That night we had dinner in the foodhall near the cinemas as we had bought tickets to see ´´Stardust´´- time to chill out after a long day of trekking.  The movie was really good and I managed to stay awake for the WHOLE THING which is pretty damn incredible!

The next day in Auckland we had a ´´maintainance´´ day, as I like to call them, where we had to get some ´´things´´ done. We had to get our backpacks ready for another long-haul flight which means a lot of squashing!!  Greg went and had his haircut whilst I wandered around a nearby market (obviously essential!).  Greg was lucky enough to walk into a Barber Shop which was actually a ´´training school´ which meant that his haircut was for free.  The young girl doing it did take a whole hour to finish it and Greg said he felt strange having people coming up and giving her instructions and advice every now and then....so check out his new style in the photos after Auckland and see whether you think it was worth the $5 donation he gave her!  We had a last Starbucks in New Zealand before calling for a taxi to take us to the airport- and off to the vast expanse of South America.
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