Before arriving in New Zealand we read many an article on New Zealand’s weather. We read that the weather changes rapidly, dress in layers, be prepared for all four seasons in one day! And we thought.. we are from Ohio, we know what that’t about. We were so wrong. Periods of beautiful sunshine and late July heat lasted about fifteen minutes, and then a swift cold front, strong wind and flash flood rain dropped temperatures to a mid February feel. And then it repeated itself about every half an hour. We took off and put on our jackets more times then I can count. Despite this, we headed to the grocery around 7 am in order to get snacks and then headed to the wharf for our ferry ride over to the volcano.
The whole North Island is made up of volcanoes so seeing them is pretty common but Rangitoto is a separate island just north of Auckland in the harbor. The department of conservation has made the island pest free as well so the birds there are quite plentiful. We hiked up the jagged black mountain up a trail that winded through lava flows and lava caves all the way to the top with only a few other hikers around. The views from the summit were stunning, and luckily we were in the sunshine part of the hour so we could see for miles.
New Zealand is surrounded by some of the bluest and cleanest water in the world making it hard to tell a difference between where the sky ends and the water begins.
We looked around until the February weather returned and then took shelter for lunch in an old WWII bunker. While New Zealand was relatively low on the attack priorities, especially by 1943, New Zealand still kept the bunkers and halfheartedly manned and armed them so that the people on the island felt safe. Additionally, they kept 100,000 U.S. troops there in what had to be the best deployment of the entire war. On our way back down the mountain we joined another hiker from Hong Kong. This girl flew from Hong Kong to spend two days here and then return. She also said it was a ten hour flight. That is probably the craziest thing I have ever heard!
After the hike was over and we made it back to the city we wandered around some more until we got to 5 hours and 56 minutes of walking when my feet were starting to complain as much as my mouth.
We made our way to a much deserved meat pie and beer, then headed back to the hostel. Fun note! Our stinky room mate has moved out! Now this little hostel room is far from paradise but since its now our own… at least for a little while, its pretty amazing! We love you all!