For our final day of exploring the island, Pat and I decided to kill a few birds with one stone. After finally giving up on the fact that the weather wasn’t going to be anywhere near perfect on our final day, we decided to skip the ferry to Rangitoto Island, and admire it from afar instead.
The day before this, our planning turned out to be fairly disastrous (due to some extremely misleading website information), so we tried our best to squeeze in as much as we could on our last day. Rangitoto Island is the most recent, and the largest of approximately 50 volcanoes in the Auckland volcanic field. It last erupted over 550 years ago, and it is not expected to become active again any time soon. If the weather wasn’t so windy and horrible, I would most likely be showing you photos from the very top of it! Oh well, life goes on. We found a lovely park to sit down in, right on the coast.
We really wanted to get a panoramic view of the whole city, so we chose to drive to the top of Mount Eden, which is the second highest natural point in the whole of the Auckland region. The 360 degree view was absolutely breathtaking. It was so cool to look one way and see cityscape, only to look in the opposite direction and find houses upon hilltops, with farmland in the very distance. It was a very refreshing experience, to say the least. Mount Eden is the centre of the suburb which goes by the same name, and it’s crater is 50 metres deep. My fear of heights was definitely tested here!
One last road trip took us to Muriwai (about 1 hour from central Auckland), where a busy colony of Gannet birds can be found. Between August and March of each year, around 1,200 pairs of Gannets nest in this coastal spot. Their nests are just centimetres apart from each other, so it was very interesting to watch how these birds manage their navigation and landing. They look like some kind of cross between a seagull and a duck, with a wingspan that rivals any eagle. Afterwards, we topped the day off with lunch at a local cafe, and then headed onwards to the airport.
Though it was short, our trip to Auckland has left me with a hunger to come back one day, and see more of what New Zealand has to offer. There is something truly magical about this place that can’t quite be put into words. Pat and I have some more wonderful memories to add to our digital scrapbook, and for that I am truly grateful. Special thanks to my big brother, Peter, who bought my plane fare as a 21st birthday present. It was an amazing trip, and won’t ever be forgotten.