A FULL day of hiking

Trip Start Apr 19, 2010
Trip End Apr 18, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , Auckland,
Sunday, April 25, 2010

For our last day in New Zealand, we once again esacaped the city. We took a 30 minute ferry ride to the youngest volcano in the Hauraki Gulf, called Rangitoto Island. This island is the last and largest volcano to be formed in the Auckland volcanic field. We took the 7:30am ferry over, as it was the cheapest ferry ride by $10 compared to all the other travel times. Arriving at 8am, we began our day of hiking.

Standing 5.5km wide, we started our day by hiking a full quarter of its perimeter, taking us about 2 and a half hours. We walked the coastline for the most part of it, admiring the beautiful scenery and the gorgeous sailboats perched in the waters beyond. Rangitoto holds about 2,300 million cubic meters of lava, which is equivalent to about 468,000 Olympic swimming pools full! What was even more amazing is the flora and fauna that can thrive and survive in such an environment. The island is filled with over 200 species of native plants! There are a few houses on the Island, called Baches. These houses were built in the early twentieth century before building on the island was prohibited in 1937. There are a few baches that remain and families that own them might holiday there to fish, swim, and hike.

Next we began our hike inward to the summit. This trek took us about an hour and a half to complete and it was all uphill (obviously). By the time we got to the top, we were exhausted and hungry, but the effort was well worth it. At the summit, you could clearly see the 360 degree panoramic view, stretching out toward Auckland and the other islands around it. The summit used to house a lookout during World Wars I and II to fend off any attacks from outsiders. We enjoyed the view and the cool breeze before heading back down.

On our way back toward the harbor, we discovered some lava caves. Paul explored the openings and insides, while Lindsey hung back holding the gear since her knee was more than sore from the hiking already. We found a cave with others standing around it. When no one entered, Paul jumped at the chance to see what was inside. The others diverted their picture taking from the landscape around to Paul entering the caves. When he was done exploring that one and started to move on, he was followed by the same people taking pictures of him, as they were hoping to find another adventure from their fearless leader. They slowly trailed off, and to their loss, because around the corner was a huge cave that we were both able to walk/crouch through to get to the other side.

With tired legs and bodies after our total 7 hours of hiking, we headed back down toward the harbor to catch the next ferry back to Auckland. It was an amazing way to spend our last day in New Zealand. Something tells me we're going to be a little sore tomorrow and will sleep sound tonight before embarking on our next stop: Australia. If anyone has any recommendations for us, please feel free to leave them. We're making our way up the coast from Melbourne to Cairns, with hopeful stops in Sydney, Byron Bay, and Brisbane on the way.

Things were learned from Rangitoto: Everything is incredibly clean. Anything you take on to the island must be packed out, as there aren't even any garbages cans to dispose of your trash. But the place is immaculately clean and litter-free. This seems to be a mentality of much of New Zealand, as the standard of cleanliness was visible in Rotorua as well as the bustling city of Auckland.

**Pictures will be up soon, hopefully.  The internet is sooooo slow here!
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Steven on

Have a good time in Australia. Are you driving or flying? I rented a caravan at the airport in sydney and drove the inland route to cairns and returned the coastal route to melbourne. Takes a very long time to drive and you need to make sure you have a roo catcher on the front of your caravan. Was super cheap ran about 25-30 each day plus fuel but included camping fees. (10 years ago). You could look for less expensive rental car and still camp in the camping facilites (many offer kitchens and hot showers and computers.) Great place to be traveling!

Christopher on

Should have rented a scooter, save the legs!

Coutrney Calderon on

Wow I feel like Im right there with you experiencing this amazing adventure...Lindsey you continue to always amaze me...how do you find time to write every detail!! In ten years when you look back at this journey you will love to read your blog entires. We miss you and will continue to read along as you continue your travels...stay safe!

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