Friday, September 2, 2011

On the Rocks

This past weekend we went “tramping” (hiking) at Rangitoto, a volcanic island about 25 minutes from Auckland by ferry.  It is a dormant volcano, but in my opinion, it is still a bit of a hot lava mess.  Probably because of the 5 hour walk on uneven, jagged lava rocks.  And no cocktail bar or free Porsche convertible at the end to reward our efforts.  (I don’t know about you, but I feel I should get a reward when I walk on lava rocks for 5 hours.)

Rocks and hard places

Besides the views from the top of the volcano (which are nice and island-y), the main attraction on Rangitoto is the lava caves.  Some were a little too small for my semi-claustrophobic tendencies.   But I did climb into one that was an “acceptable” size.  Although halfway through in the pitch dark, I started thinking about the cave creatures that were going to jump out at us (specifically Gollum or a colony of winged monkeys).  Then I started freaking out a bit.  Luckily David saved the day by crafting a “torch” out of the trusty flashlight app on the i-phone.  This clearly intimidated the less tech-savvy monsters who must have gone into hiding for fear we had some Angry Birds up our sleeves as well.

Light at the end of the tunnel
Then two paths diverged on Rangitoto, and we took the one less travelled.  And that... well that almost made us miss the ferry.  The last ferry leaves Rangitoto at 4pm.  If you are not on it, you are sleeping on the deserted island.  That was the only thought that kept my legs moving.  We made it just in time, and thankfully, my legs did not fall off as I had anticipated.

Island-y Views

And in other news, Rugby World Cup is starting in a week here in Auckland.  What does this mean?  Fun, excitement, and of course... mass chaos!  About 85,000 people are on their way to New Zealand to watch the 20 competing countries play.  There will be lots of fun celebrations, vibrant light shows on skyscrapers, and tons of international folk.  There will also be lots of transportation chaos (for a system that is somewhat lacking in buses and routes), more people in restaurants (that are already typically full), and an increase in prices on everything from food & drink to hotels and merchandise.  
Yay Rugby World Cup?!?  (It should make for some good stories at least!)
- Meredith

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