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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Rangitoto Island, New Zealand

How Rangitoto was formed
Our flight to Auckland, New Zealand was with China Air and was quite good with a nice meal served with an Asian flair. It should be too since it originated in Taipei and 80% of the passengers were Asian.Our arrival in New Zealand though was a bit of a surprise.The airport like everything else is under construction and British style bureaucracy can be seen at every turn. That did complicate our arrival at our accommodation until near 10:00 pm NZ time at night, after a 7:15 pm arrival. 
Auckland Skyline

Today however was a gorgeous day here, sunny, warm, and light breezes. We checked out and then booked the ferry to Rangitoto island, a dormant volcano island that was formed only 600 years ago. Pictured below is an explanation of the formation of Rangitoto. From a hike perspective the summit crater is 268 M above sea level and 2.5 kms from the pier. Within an hr. we were at the top, viewing both the crater and views to both the south and back at Auckland which has a nice skyline.

Hike to the Summit

Steep Grade
While enjoying our lunch at the summit a family of small quail came calling. The chicks were only days old as you can tell by their size compared to my shoe.
Quail and Chicks

On the way back down we detoured to the lava caves
which are often formed when molten lava flows down from an eruption and forms a tube that hardens. In this case the lava caves were quite small at the entrance but did open wider as you crawled into them. Unfortunately I didn't bring a flashlight, and the caves aren't lit or we would have crawled them completely. In this case we entered far enough that we couldn't see light in either direction. Sandra wasn't comfortable so we turned back and came out the same way we entered.

Inside using Flash

Our travel companion on the way over was a micro-biologist  from  Pocatello, Idaho who had just finished presenting at a conference in Rotorua. One of our next stops on our NZ excursion. He had some very interesting observations in comparing Rotorua to Yellowstone from a micro-biology standpoint, and, was very interested in the climate change effects that we had learned about on the Great Barrier Reef.

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