Hiking Rangitoto Island and coming home :(

Trip Start Mar 19, 2010
Trip End May 23, 2010

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Sunday, May 23, 2010

    My final day in New Zealand :( I did make the most of it as I got up at 6:00 to pack up and walk down to the docks to get the ferry to Rangitoto, an island in the Hauraki Gulf that was a former volcano that erupted only 600 years ago! It was a bit cloudy, but no rain, luckily, as I had packed up my raincoat already! The walk was great - I took the path up to the summit of the volcano which was filled with volcanic rocks - basalt filled with gas bubbles. It felt more like being on a volcano than hiking Tongariro did in a way. Unfortunately, after only taking like 4 pictures, my camera batteries died! And I only had one spare as the other fell out of my pocket hiking from Haruru Falls replacing one (until that died) and then switching it with the other. It was just enough juice for me to get all the pictures I wanted!
    Before reaching the top, I took a detour to explore some 'lava caves,' caves formed when the outside of the lava solidified and the inside drained away. I managed to make my way through without a flashlight, but didn't see any cave wetas, haha. Up at the summit the view was great over the Auckland CBD as well as the whole Gulf. It was nearly a 360 degree view here which had made it useful in the World Wars as a lookout post, although from what I understood it wasn't used for very long.
    From here I made my way back down following a different path that took longer (the walk times were greatly exaggerated again) towards Mackenzie Bay and a lighthouse. I walked on the beach here and took some pictures by some great big basalt flows and then continued my walk along the beach taking just one more detour to Flax Point, just another viewing spot out over the water toward Auckland. Before arriving back at the dock I passed some baches (summer homes) which apparently still get used. I had a little bit of a wait for the ferry at 12:45 and then I was back in Auckland by 1:10.
    I treated myself to lunch near Viaduct Harbour at a place called Degree which overlooked the water. I had a Malay Pizza, made with satay peanut sauce, manuka smoked chicken, mushrooms, onions, and crispy noodles. It was pretty good, and satisfied my desire for something Pacific Rim-ee. After lunch I had about an hour and a half to do some souvenir shopping for everyone back home. I finished shopping by 4 and had to rush back to my hostel to make the 4:30 Airbus to the airport. I ended up missing that Airbus, but one came like 10 minutes after which still left me with plenty of time.
    It was sad heading back to the airport, but at least I made it on time! I thought I was fine being a little more than 2 hours early, but with 2 hours to go they made a last call for my flight to check in! Apparently those going to the US had to pass through extra security so we got to skip the line. So I managed to make everything on time (and even had time to pick up a kiwi key chain to use as a Christmas ornament :) ).
    Both flights went fine, I managed to get 5 hours of sleep on the one from Auckland, and I saw a total of 5 movies, haha. I even got to see the Golden Gate Bridge in San Fran from the plane! Before I knew it I landed in Newark. It was pretty fast getting off here because it was now only a domestic flight I was getting off of. So I headed to the baggage collection and soon saw my sister and parents coming around the corner :) 
    And that about ends my journey to New Zealand :( It's so sad. I think I should really live there, I mean, what's better than the Kiwis' love of tea, ice cream, bakeries, and the outdoors? Not to mention their relaxed attitudes and concern for the environment. Maybe sometime in the future I'll go back...you never know ;)

    Lyrics of the Day:

"For what it's worth,
it was worth all the while.

It's something unpredictable
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life..." - Green Day
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booch55 on

You certainly did have the time of your life, and we enjoyed sharing it with you!!

Welcome home and we are glad you are back, but sad that our vicarious travels have ended...for now!

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