30 August, 2010
Participants: Anand, Lukasz, Milind and Rakesh
After landing at New Zealand, I always wanted to make a Trip to Rangitoto – A Volcanic Island located at Hauraki Gulf near Auckland. I have read a lot about this exciting place and my friend, Milind had also mentioned about his exciting trip to this Island a few months back. We started tracing the weather a week before our trip and as per the forecast it was supposed to be Sunny with some drizzles occasionally. Since the weather seemed conducive, we decided to visit Rangitoto on Saturday; 28 August, 2010. Milind made the booking for the ferry a day before from Fullers’ website and we went to collect the tickets the same evening at Fullers’ office located at Viaduct.
The first ferry to Rangitoto departs Auckland at 9:15 am. We planned to be at the harbor at 9:00 as we had already collected the tickets. On saturday as decided we were at the harbour by 9:00 am and also met Lukasz who had already arrived around 8:50 am. The boarding started 10 minutes before the departure time and we all took the top deck of the ferry to get a glimpse of the surroundings. The ferry departed on time and the next stop was at Devonport to allow passengers travelling from/to Auckland, Rangitoto to embark and disembark.
The ferry left Devonport at 9:30 am. Since the weather was good we were able to get a great view of Auckland city, Devonport, Rangitoto and nearby islands. In maori language Rangitoto means ‘Bloody Sky’. It is believed that this Island was formed by a series of volcanic eruptions between 600 and 700 years ago. The volcano is not expected to become active again, although future eruptions are likely within the volcanic field.
Finally we reached Rangitoto at 9:45 am. From the ferry we could see the Volcanic Explorer Road Train. We had opted to take this train which makes a complete tour of the volcanic island. We were accompanied by a guide who gave us a brief introduction of the tour and the island. This island boasts of a Volcano cone at a height of around 850 ft. rising above the sea and is around 5.5km wide. Rangitoto is considered as the most recent and largest of the approximately 50 volcanoes of the Auckland Volcanic Field. Rangitoto is seperated from the mainland of Auckland’s northshore by Rangitoto channel.
Our first stop was at a location from where the summit was accessible with a hike of about 15 minutes. We reached the summit from where we could get a beautiful view of Motutapu and surrounding islands. Also in between we visited the rim of the crater. This crater was formed by the settling matter during the cooling process. There is a small trail which goes right around the rim. After spending some time at the summit; photographing the beautiful landscape and blue waters we started our way back for our next stop near lava stones. These lava stones are present in some parts of the island. These stones are light in weight known as Scoria. Further ahead was McKenzie bay located on the western part of the Island. After some photography sessions, we headed back to the same location where we boarded the road train.
Now it was time for us to hike to the Lava Caves. It takes approximately 40 minutes to reach the caves by foot from the base. There are around 7 known Lava Caves. These caves are located on the eastern side at an elevation of 650 feet. These were actually tubes left behind after the passage of molten lava. Some of the caves are big enough where visitors can pass through them. Lava tubes are formed when the low viscoscity molten lava flows from the crater and the outsde; in contact with the ground and air ,cools to form a hard crust allowing the still liquid molten lava to continue to flow through. At Rangitoto the large tubes are cave like. A torch is needed to explore the caves. The longest known cave is about 50m long. After exploring the caves we started our descent back as it was around 2:00 pm.
We refuelled ourselves with some fruits which we had carried on our backpacks. It was 3:00 pm by now and we had around 1 hour to board our ferries back to Auckland. Our next stop was on the western side of the island to capture some photographs of Devonport and Auckland.
At around 3:45 pm, we boarded the return ferry to Auckland. The ferry left the island at 4:00 pm sharp and we reached auckland around 4:40 pm after a wonderful and memorable trip.