16 August 2017

That time we went out for brunch and accidentally hiked the Rangitoto volcano crater

Nothing seems to surprise my husband anymore. I must come out with ridiculous scenarios so regularly now, he doesn't even lift an eyebrow. Case in point, when I video called him from New Zealand. (He knew I was in NZ by the way, my whereabouts haven't become that surprising. Yet.)

Rangitoto Island Auckland Day Trip New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

"How was your day?" 'Good thanks, we went out for brunch with Ginni and Alice, and then hiked up a volcano crater.' "That's nice dear. It rained in London today" (sic)

Not only does my bestie/bridesmaid/co-mischief legend Ginni lives a good 8 hour drive away from Auckland where I happened to be hanging with my sister for a couple of days, but for me to then tell him that after bunching and sending Ginni back to her Auckland office, my sister and I decided to hop on the Rangitoto ferry in Auckland harbour and explore a dormant volcano only made him laugh.

Rangitoto Island Auckland Day Trip New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi
Rangitoto Island Auckland Day Trip New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

We began the day with hugs and a breakfast array at Federal & Wolfe Cafe in the viaduct (and it was scrumptious). Us Kiwis are rather obsessed with brunch (no surprises there for readers) and we hoovered up pretty well every crumb from our plates.

Escorting Ginni to her nearby office, my sister and I then both looked at each other and shrugged about what we would do that day. I had my laptop in bag for an afternoon of freelance work, and we kinda tossed the idea around of going to a museum. Somehow (see the first paragraph) we found ourselves boarding the ferry for the colonial town of Devonport.

Rangitoto Island Auckland Day Trip New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi
Rangitoto Island Auckland Day Trip New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

Only a 12-minute ferry ride away from the central business district of Auckland, "tthe picturesque historic village boasts stunning views of Auckland city unseen from any other location and a number unique attractions." We simply wandered through the misty, sleepy streets before settling in for a wharf side coffee.

So far, so normal.

Rangitoto Island Auckland Day Trip New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

An hour or two later we boarded our ferry connection to Rangitoto Island.

The 5.5 km wide island is an iconic and widely visible landmark of Auckland with its distinctive symmetrical shield volcano cone rising 260 metres (850 ft) high over the Hauraki Gulf. Rangitoto is the most recent and the largest (2311 hectares) of the approximately 50 volcanoes of the Auckland volcanic field. Created by a cluster of several small volcanoes around 6,000 years ago, the most recent Rangitoto eruption is thought to have occurred around 550 years ago - and considered dormant for the most part.

Rangitoto Island Auckland Day Trip New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi
Rangitoto Island Auckland Day Trip New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

Rangitoto is Māori for 'Bloody Sky', with the name coming from the full phrase Ngā Rangi-i-totongia-a Tama-te-kapua ('The days of the bleeding of Tama-te-kapua'). Tama-te-kapua was the captain of the Arawa waka (canoe) and was badly wounded on the island, at a (lost) battle with the Tainui iwi (tribe) at Islington Bay.

Hopping onto the island 'train', a tractor with padded seating, we were spared the hours of trekking through the pathways and taken around a fair amount of the island to a spot where we could start to climb the boarded walkways to the crater.

Auckland Day Trip Rangitoto Island New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

Stopping to admire the view, sip on our bottles of water (kindly advised to buy before we got to Rangitoto by the Devonport ticket guy) and admire the breathtaking views, we probably took around 20 minutes of trudging up the well kept stairs wrapping around the summit of Ngā Pona-toru-a-Peretū Scenic Reserve.

Auckland Day Trip Rangitoto Island New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

Best decision we've ever made.

Auckland Day Trip Rangitoto Island New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi
Auckland Day Trip Rangitoto Island New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

A number of Māori myths exist surrounding the island, including that of a 'tupua' couple, children of the Fire Gods. After quarreling and cursing Mahuika, the fire-goddess, they lost their home on the mainland because it was destroyed by Mataoho, god of earthquakes and eruptions, on Mahuika's behalf. Lake Pupuke on the North Shore was created in the destruction, while Rangitoto rose from the sea. The mists surrounding Rangitoto at certain times are called the tears of the tupua for their former home.

Auckland Day Trip Rangitoto Island New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

Mr Kiwi and I often jokingly bicker about which the best place in the world is, but I know the truth in my heart.
Auckland Day Trip Rangitoto Island New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi
Auckland Day Trip Rangitoto Island New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

Pausing to drink in the incredibles views back over Auckland and around the Hauraki Gulf, we slowly made our way back to the train. Wearing polkadot flats and hauling around my laptop wasn't the best hiking gear, so we couldn't take in the beautiful tracks around the island and wander through the lava tunnels and caves.

Instead we just sat back and clutched our seatbelt as the train jerkily drove over tracks and pathways created through the lava rocks. We listened in as our guide told us all about the island and soaked up the sunshine.

Auckland Day Trip Rangitoto Island New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

My country is amazing.

Auckland Day Trip Rangitoto Island New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi
Auckland Day Trip Rangitoto Island New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

Unfortunately our return ferry ran a fairly late, but one of the day trekkers waiting on the pier with us who had cellphone reception just called Fullers who apologised and came to pick us up.

Auckland Day Trip Rangitoto Island New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

Top Tips:
  • This is definitely do-able as a day trip from central Auckland - just make sure you time your walk to the ferries. No-one is allowed to stay on the island overnight.
  • Take water, snacks, suncream and wear sensible shoes. Polka dot flats are ok for what we did, but it limits where you can explore.
  • Keep your eyes peeled and enjoy the moment.
  • Chat with the ticket people at Fullers, they are really helpful.

{{Pin Me For Later}}
Rangitoto Island Auckland Day Trip New Zealand Adventures of a London Kiwi

No comments :

Post a Comment

So, what do you think? Comments are blogging mana; short, sweet, long, loquacious, deep and meaningful...