Auckland, Waiheke & Rangitoto Islands

April 4

It was a long drive back to Auckland but the scenery was gorgeous and Sue and I tried to keep Simon amused.
I’d been wondering about a crop of something that’s grown a lot here and finally Simon found a place to pull over so I could check it out. I jumped out, listed for electricity in the wire fence and stuck my hand through to pull out a plant and figure it out. That’s when I got zapped. Who knew there was a second fence? It was a pretty heavy duty wire too so I good a very good zap. After making sure I was okay of course, Simon laughed as did everyone just waiting on the bus. I don’t know why one would use so much electricity to protect a crop with no livestock anywhere near but they did and I got shocked. I still don’t know what the plant is either.
Simon dropped us all in various locations. Sue and I went to the Econo lodge. The room was tiny but Sue’s only staying one night and I just didn’t want a hostel for the last few nights.
On our walk to the ferry terminal we were entertained by a group of Hari Krishna’s singing and parading up and down the street. I picked up some information on various ferries and we met the others in a bar. We went to find a restaurant settling on a Korean / Malaysian place that turned out to be very tasty and reasonably priced. Melissa asked Sue for chopsticks but before passing them to her, asked if she wanted left or right chopsticks. The conversation that followed was just so funny I nearly peed my pants with laughter. Ya, you had to be there. Lots of hugs goodbye as we said farewell to some with whom we’d spent the last 24 days.

Outstanding in our field?  I'm a little shocked :)

Outstanding in our field? I’m a little shocked πŸ™‚

April 5
Sue walked me down to the ferry and we said goodbye. We’ve had a great time together over the last 10 weeks and definitely make good travel partners. Maybe someday we’ll do it again πŸ™‚
I hadn’t decided until I bought the ticket that I was going to Rangitoto Island and hopped on the ferry. The first thing I did was make the climb up the extinct volcano. That was a good, steady 2.2 km up. I walked around the crater and then into the lava caves. I hadn’t brought a flashlight and the second cave was VERY dark so I went around it.
Next I walked the historic beach trail, the fern trail and part of the coastal track in the other direction. Seems a lot of people come just for the volcano as I was pretty much alone on most of the other trails. Their loss as the trails were beautiful. I have no idea how far I walked altogether but after 4 hours I boarded the ferry back to Auckland.
After getting back to the hotel and cleaning up a bit, I grabbed my computer and went for a walk about. I found a nice cafe with comfy seats and free wifi and had a delicious smoked salmon omelet for β€œtea”. Another great day πŸ™‚

Strange boat?

Strange boat?

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Colourful sailboats in the harbour

Colourful sailboats in the harbour

Another view from the top

Another view from the top

View from the top of the volcano.  Can you see Auckland?

View from the top of the volcano. Can you see Auckland?

Path to the volcano

Path to the volcano

April 6

The time changed last night so I scored an extra hour. Queen St. Was blocked off for a world triathalon so crossing it meant finding the right place where officials were stationed to get pedestrians across between bicyclists. After brekky at Burger King (free wifi and an egg bennie meal πŸ™‚ I headed to the ferry. I didn’t leave myself enough time for pedestrian detours as I thought it was only for cars. I made it just in time to buy a ticket for Waiheke island . I sat on the top deck where everyone seemed to be speaking German. Interesting. Once on Waiheke I caught a tour bus and ended up at Onetangi where I asked the driver to point me in the direction of the Waiheke forest and bird reserve. I walked for a bit and realized I’d gone too far so turned around. I almost missed it again. The trail was really nice, through a dense bush with only the sound of birds and there was absolutely no one else there. I walked for about an hour on various trails before I started to realize that I was REALLY alone. As in, nobody knew where I was and there was no traffic here. As nice as that sounds I realized that no one would miss me if anything happened till at least tomorrow morning when, if something happened, I neglected to check out of my hotel room. I hadn’t told anyone where I was going. Not very responsible. Hmmm. So I walked a bit more but found a path that would end on a road. Once there I had no idea where I was but I could see the ocean and figured if I continued to walk down hill I’d eventually get there.
Once back in Onetangi I walked the beach for a bit and then got an ice cream. That’s a good lunch. I hopped on the bus again and got off near a winery. I walked around and checked a couple out, tried some samples and caught another bus to Oneroa where I checked out the shops. The stuff is really nice but the prices are out of my reach so I walked the beach instead. It was littered with shells. On the path down I finally got a decent photo of a tui bird.
I caught the bus to the ferry terminal thinking of doing the coastal walk but the ferry was just in so I decided to hop on instead. Lots of excitement was in the air in Auckland and I got there just in time to watch the last of the medal presentations for the triathalon. Cool. The streets were still fenced off so I had to take the long way back to the hotel.

Tui bird.  He makes all kinds of sounds

Tui bird. He makes all kinds of sounds

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Beach covered with shells

Beach covered with shells

The beach at Oneroa

The beach at Oneroa

Grape vines

Grape vines

The beach at Onetangi

The beach at Onetangi

A tui bird.  I heard him for a long time before I found him.

A tui bird. I heard him for a long time before I found him.

One the way south I saw all kinds of these pink lillies but they were finished by the time we headed North again.  These are the last of the season.....and the mail box is cute :)

One the way south I saw all kinds of these pink lillies but they were finished by the time we headed North again. These are the last of the season…..and the mail box is cute πŸ™‚

Magnificent view on Waiheke

Magnificent view on Waiheke

Along the path in the Nature reserve

Along the path in the Nature reserve

Waiheke

Waiheke

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Passing Rangitoto on the way to Waiheke. I climbed that thing yesterday πŸ™‚

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Rangitoto

Rangitoto

Rangitoto

Rangitoto

Dinna Waerie :)

Dinna Waerie πŸ™‚

Path through a lava field on Rangitoto

Path through a lava field on Rangitoto

Lots of volcanic rock on Rangitoto

Lots of volcanic rock on Rangitoto

Rangitoto lava cave

Rangitoto lava cave

Rangitoto lava cave

Rangitoto lava cave

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Bird of paradise

Bird of paradise

April 7

My plan to sleep in was foiled by the noisy guy next door who left at 5:30 am and emergency vehicles’ sirens shortly after. Oh well.
I completely repacked my bags and decided I don’t have to check my bag on the way home. Although it’s easier not to have to carry it, it’s less hassle if anything happens in L.A. And much quicker when I get home.
I spent the day wandering Auckland and reflecting on my trip which, although I’ve had a few trials, has been pretty amazing. If I had to change anything I’d add another 10-14 days and see the west coast of Australia. I guess I’m really a traveller. After 10 weeks away, I miss my family but am not anxious to go home. I could easily keep going. However, now that the day has come I’m ready to get the flights over with and excited to see my family. Time to go home πŸ™‚

Ferry terminal

Ferry terminal

Old carousel and a new tower.

Old carousel and a new tower.

playing with reflections.

playing with reflections.

This one's pretty cool.

This one’s pretty cool.

Auckland harbour

Auckland harbour

Just starting to open

Just starting to open

Open sesame

Open sesame

 

The bridge fully open

The bridge fully open

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