Rangitoto Island & Auckland Museum

Auckland Travel Blog

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Road train

We had an early start this morning to catch a ferry to Rangitoto Island, the inactive volcano visible from Mission Bay across the water. The ferry took about 40 minutes and then when we arrived at the island we caught the 4WD 'road train' round the island. The road train was like one of those trains that take people round Disney. But since the road was built by prisoners in the 1800s the going was pretty rough and the carriages rocked and tipped over rocky terrain through endless fields of black rock and trees. The island was bought from the Mauris for $15 and some blankets and the government used it as a prisoner camp and as a stop-gap bay to sober up for sailors taking to sea on a voyage.

The view from Rangitoto
Much later on Aucklanders and Kiwis were allowed to buy space on the island to build 'Bachs', trendy little wooden houses for well-to-do bachelors to escape fishing or hunting.

There is no soil on the island, only black volcanic rock, and although there is much vegetation it found it difficult to colonise hillier areas, compared with flat areas. Because there is no soil, there are few insects and so few birds as well. Black-back gulls nest on the west side of the island exposed on the bare rock but otherwise it is very quiet.

We walked to the summit, past the volcano crater, and tried to take photos but sadly the weather was just too rubbish to see very far. I have noticed from the photos though, that the sky shows a weird kind of luminescence that isn'tg obvious at the time - maybe it's the huge hole in the ozone layer here!

Leaving the island, we caught the ferry back and then drove up to Karan road, known locally as K'Road.
Me in the rain on the volcanic ash
We found lunch at a place called the Little Turkish cafe, and had lunch. Andy ordered 2 plain burgers instead of a burger 'meal' with chips and we were both shocked when the burgers arrived plate sized! They were great though, and I found out later that the place is kind of a cult place known for it's late night eating post-clubbing.

After K'Road we drove to the Auckland museum and checked out the ground floor exhibitions dedicated to Kiwi fashions of the ages, childrens' toys, Mauri culture and the Polynesian cultures. The museum is excellently lit but oddly curated so we weren't quite sure of the direction we should be moving in or what we should conclude. London has so many excellent museums and such excellent curation it is easy to be spoiled! I liked the Mauri carvings, especially the 'Tekoteko', and these, birdsong and plant life greeted me as I stepped off the plane at the airport! I also liked the 'Tiki', which are little elf-like creatures carved in 'greenstone' which I haven't yet ascertained is the same as Jade or not.
Tekoteko in Auckland Museum
The slight differences between the Tiki signify the difference between one tribe and another, sort of like Tartan.

After the museum we headed home through the commuter traffic, intending to come back into town later to visit Minus 5, the ice bar at the quay, but Luke's friend Mariette, her son Zack and her friend Sarah arrived for dinner so we ate together and I packed up my stuff ready for a new start completely on my own next day.....

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Road train
Road train
The view from Rangitoto
The view from Rangitoto
Me in the rain on the volcanic ash
Me in the rain on the volcanic ash
Tekoteko in Auckland Museum
Tekoteko in Auckland Museum
Auckland
photo by: Fulla