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Sunday, 5 September 2010

Day 2 in NZ Rangitoto Island

Rangitoto Island

This morning we spent a few hours walking up a volcano, as you do, on a Sunday morning. We crossed from Auckland CBD on the 7:30am ferry , 15 minutes later, we docked and began hiking, armed with good footwear, 3 bottles of water and a couple of energy bars for a snack at the summit.

As new worlds go, Rangitoto Island is about as new as it is possible to get. This dormant volcano is just 600 years old and is now owned by the D.O.C (Department of Culture). Nobody lives on the island these days, but we were able to visit it via a short ferry crossing for $15 each, around £7.50. The volcano itself is now mostly covered in unique hi-breeds of tree and shrub, as well as common Kiwi tree ferns, mosses and other plant life. The rest of the island is volcanic rock, black as coal in some places, rusty red in others. The mouth of the volcano is 90metres across and 60 metres deep and rises 260metres above Auckland’s harbour.

There are a few Volcanic caves to visit on the hike, not as impressive as one might imagine though, more like big, dark gaps in the rock which don’t appear to go in that far. Apparently they are formed when lava has solidified around other less stagnant lava flows. One of the really interesting aspects of walking around the volcano is that you can see how strong the tree roots have had to be, forcing their structural harness’ into the rock beneath them – now I see why my father (a structural engineer) rolls his eyes and tuts at the sight of ivy or trees growing close to houses back home in the UK!

The view of the harbour and the surrounding islands and peninsulas from the summit of Rangitoto has given us both a sense of perspective. The Auckland area is huge, there is much to see and do here. So much so, in fact, that I have decided to take on some promotional work later this coming week. We saw a cash-in-hand job advertised in our YHA. A decent wage and as it turns out a fairly easy job; working at the Ideal Home exhibition in Auckland demonstrating a product. It pays for our accommodation while we are here and it will give me a chance to get a feel for the area and the people. Unfortunately Mel, who had hoped to join me, has not been offered any work as the guy who runs the promotions only needed one person and it was me who rang up. We will go into town and contact the exhibition people directly tomorrow and see if there is something there for her as well.

Going to Rangitoto

Sitting at Rangitoto looking out to sea

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