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willow Auckland - A travel report by willow
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Auckland,  New Zealand - flag New Zealand
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willow's travel reports

Rangitoto, National Taonga

  11 votes
Positioned at the entrance to the Waitemata Harbour, 8 km from Auckland, Rangitoto Island is a Kiwi (New Zealander) icon, a conspicuous landmark and national treasure.


The One Ring (I couldn't resist!)
The One Ring (I couldn't resist!)
Before I moved to New Zealand, a friend grabbed me by the arm, looked into my eyes and said Remember this word. RANGITOTO. What? He explained that it was a beautiful island volcano just off the coast of Auckland and all the natives would know what I was talking about, and I should just GO the first chance I got. Then again, RANG-I-TO-TO, which he made me repeat with him several times just to be sure. It was only after I swore that it would be my first trip that he finally let me go and stopped his crazy chant. True to my word, it was my first weekend trip, and a fantastic introduction to life in New Zealand.

Favourite spots:
spiderweb in a lava cave
spiderweb in a lava cave
Only half an hour by ferry or an hour (each way) by kayak from Auckland it makes a great escape. So close to the city, and yet it is like stepping into another world. The seemingly inhospitable lava is actually teeming with life. There are more than 200 species of native mosses, plants and trees, including 40 species of fern. The island's pohutukawa forest is the largest in the world.

Rangitoto Island has sheltered anchorage, swimming, fishing, walking, bird watching and beautiful lava caves. There are 10 or so short and long walks around the island and from the summit there are incredible views of the Hauraki Gulf, the Waitemata Harbour and Auckland. For those who are either unable to or would prefer not to hike, there is a train to the summit . I found the hike up to be so rich in colors and textures that I stopped every couple of minutes to take photos.


What's really great:
a place to rest
a place to rest
Rangitoto's name is derived from the phrase "Te Rangi i totongia a Tamatekapua" - the day the blood of Tamatekapua was shed. Tamatekapua was chief of the Arawa canoe which arrived about 1350 and was engaged in (and lost) a major battle with the Tainui at Islington Bay.

*Friends and I found that chanting names and phrases in Maori to be a great way to pass the time while traveling from place to place. I've also seen some very creative drinking games. (Maori is pronounced like Japanese, and very similar to Spanish or Portuguese, you must pronounce each and every syllable with equal importance



Sights:
sunlight through the trees
sunlight through the trees
What you need to bring:

Water/drink. There are no supplies or drinking water available on the island.

Snack, and/or lunch. (see above)

Sturdy walking shoes/boots that can cope with the island's rugged lava surfaces.

Sunhat and sunscreen. The heat rays reflecting off the lava can be intense, and there is no ozone over New Zealand.

Torch/flashlight. You can't see the caves without one!

Camera and plenty of film.

Binoculars if you are a bird watcher. It's worth it to check up on the local birds before you go. They are unique!

Layered comfortable clothing, and some rain protection. I began my hike in jeans, a t-shirt, sweater and rain jacket and ended it over heated in my sports bra and jeans. The temperatures can change very quickly in New Zealand, and rain showers are a regular occurence throughout the day. A local told me straight off that to hike you need to bring a series of layers from bikini to parka! (She wasn't actually joking).

Accommodations:
a ladder on the path
a ladder on the path
There are no accomodations on Rangitoto, but there are minimal camping facilities on neighbouring Motutapu which are accessible only by boat and walking.

You can also stay in Auckland at one of the numerous local hostels.

Fat Camel Hostel & Bar is very cool and laid out apartment style. Located at 38 Fort Street, in Downtown Auckland from $15 (USD) a night, wheelchair friendly, internet, bar and accepts credit cards

Aloe Tree Backpacker, located at 17 St. Georges Bay Road, Parnell, Auckland is a small but friendly hostel with the perk of free internet. Not in downtown, but near the buses, and in a beautiful part of town, wheelchair friendly, carpark and kitchen, prices begin at $10 (USD)

Published on Saturday June 12th, 2004


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Mon, Oct 02 2006 - 06:31 PM rating by mrscanada

Hi Willow:

I've never been to New Zeland so I found this review very interesting.

Wed, Nov 03 2004 - 06:08 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

hii willow,
excellent place indeed and very well written too.
ravi

Thu, Sep 30 2004 - 01:23 AM rating by picasso

Paradise has been found !
Great place and report.

Boris

Sun, Jun 13 2004 - 06:41 AM rating by krissie

sounds like a great place!

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