Saturday, December 17, 2011

Day 389: Rangitoto Island

Rangitoto Island
Day 389  Tramp 430/410
Thursday December 8, 2011 (New Zealand)
Rangitoto Island - New Zealand
My Tripometer: 4.5 Hours (on land) 5.5 Miles +1,000 Feet
Auckland & Davenport from the top of the Volcano

Today we jumped on a ferry to visit the remote island of Rangitoto.  As a tourist, there are many islands to explore but we chose this one.  A far more popular choice would have been Waiheke Island.  Waiheke is home of 40+ wineries and is full of human life with residents, businesses, cars and busses.  Rangitoto is anything but that...

Leaving Auckalnd by sea...

I'm such a a dork; Cleveland Browns and 99 cent sun glasses :)

A Post Card

Dropoff/pickup in Davenport
Welcome To Rangitoto

At this point, you are on your own.  There is nothing here but a toilet.

...and birds


Volcanic Flowers

Just 600 years ago, this land did not exist.  It's hard to imagine something this massive was only created around the time that Columbus set sail.  Since that time, the molten lava cooled to become black room.  Then, through many centuries of rainy seasons, life began.  Birds were eager to explore the new mound of earth in the middle of the Tamaki Strait and Hauraki Gulf.  The rock began to break down and plants forced their way into the new rich soil.  Of course human explorers also introduced life from the outside world but nowadays, the land is protected; pack in/pack out.  No animals, rats, etc...  In face most of New Zealand is this way.  There are no snakes on trails or bears or mountain lions lurking at you from the woods.  It was strange for me to hike and look down to only watch my footing, not to have to look our for snakes.  Especially after my encounter last summer where I was seeing at least one snake a day for almost a month straight.  Ahh, I can hike here in a relaxed state of mind; so peaceful.

Traps are set just in case a rat snuck in the bag of a tourist

Passing a group of kids who were on a field trip

Entering the newly formed jungle

At the summit, a bird is begging for food
The summit reached in just under an hour
(We met a guy who ran to the top in 22 minutes)

Views from the top

We decided to take the last fairy back so this gave us time to loop down a different way.  We trailed through some redish rock and rounded back to the main trail.  From there, we hiked an additional 15 minutes to the Lave Tubes!
Enter if you dare.  I was prepared with my torche (flash light)

This tube (cave) did not go very far!

More tubes; I did not crawl down there!

John, from Bethells said that when he was a kid, he walked through a lava tube that extended at least half the diameter of the entire island.  He said that this tube may be closed off to the public?

got any bread???

Four and a half hours was more than enough time to complete the summit and caves.  We arrived back to the dock way early.  We began hiking along a trail that rounded the perimeter of the island.  We passed some baches but there were no beaches.  Give this place another couple of thousand years and I am sure that there will be a nice black sand beach formed somewhere.  There are extended trails that you can hike for several hours.  One track connects to the neighboring Motutapu Island, but we didn't have the time or energy to do that. 
Back on the Ferry with the option to explore Motouihe Island
(We chose not to)

Motouihe Island

 Another Island?

Back to the mainland before sundown.  Would we have time to find another location to hike?...

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