while researching things to do while staying in Auckland, we found that we could take ferry boats to several nearby islands. one of which just happened to be a dormant volcano. sunshine, city views, lava caves... a day trip to Rangitoto Island was a no-brainer.
the trail was relatively easy, winding through lava fields half grown over by New Zealand's crazy amazing and diverse plant life. [you guys don't even want to know how many plant photos I took this day that didn't make the cut for this post, trust me.]
we made it to the peak in about an hour, where we were greeted with a stunning 360 view. the city of Auckland is just across the way - apparently some visitors choose to visit Rangitoto via a 2 hour kayak from downtown. [nope, we took the ferry.]
we ate our picnic lunches at the top, though we made a hasty departure once we discovered a swarm of bees was hanging around the area.
on our way back down we detoured to the lava caves. I did not actually go in the caves, as it involved scraping yourself though a narrow and dark passage where there were no lights. people kept emerging from the opening, dirty and wide-eyed, claiming that you couldn't see anything anyway.
we did go through a lava trench or tunnel... maybe not as cool-sounding as a lava cave but less likely to twist an ankle or concuss yourself in the dark.
we reached the ferry dock with a few moments to spare. while the rest of our crew took a break, I ran off to take a few last photos of the trail and coast. I was maybe a little obsessed with New Zealand's blue skies and blue water. and the mountains and... well, everything.
tips for hiking Rangitotowe took the Fullers ferry to the island from Auckland, a 25 minute ride that departs 3 times per day. keep the boat times in mind or else you'll be waiting a loooong time. I didn't notice anywhere to buy food, so pack a lunch and snacks, and bring plenty of water. and just like anywhere in NZ you will most definitely be wanting sunglasses and sunscreen.
ps: there's still time to ask me your questions about Husband, expat life, Taiwan, etc. use this form or just ask in the comments below!