Sunday, 15 January 2012

New Year

New Year's Day in the Museum
New Year
We had a quiet New Year’s Eve just the 2 of us, dinner in, and the next day we went to the Auckland Museum across the road and booked ourselves in for the Maori Cultural experience. Mike reckons it was a bit like being Prince Phillip and the Queen watching the locals perform, but the best bit undoubtedly was the cultural tour afterwards which was done by one of the performers. He was quite young but very knowledgeable about Maori weapons etc, though it was a bit difficult to take him seriously as he was naked except for a grass skirt.

On the Monday we did a boat trip to Rangitoto Island. Mike’s been before so knew it would make a good day out. Caught the 9.15 ferry and started to walk round the coast in a clockwise direction past a few old batches built in the 1930s. From the boat the island looks as if it’s covered in undergrowth but in fact there are large areas of broken up

Coming out of the caves
jagged black volcanic rock. Island only erupted 600 years ago so plant life is still struggling to take over, there are birds here but no mammals and it makes for pretty dramatic scenery. We took the main path up to the volcano crater where we had lunch and then down towards a jetty on the NE side of the island. We visited the lava caves for which we’d brought our head torches. They were very dark and damp. As we walked through drips landed on the back of my neck and trees roots brushed past my face. I squealed as each drop hit me and hung onto Mike. 

Pohutukawa tree growing on volcanic rock
Mike on the cinder track
Miniature litchen garden

Auckland skyline from the lava fields of Rangitoto
Not exactly my cup of tea.  We then took the small coastal footpath back to Rangitoto Wharf which was much narrower and quite tough going but a really interesting path. The island is mostly covered in Pohutukawa trees but there is a massive amount of lichen and moss underfoot of many different types, making beautiful miniature gardens beside the path. We were walking mostly on what appeared to be raised sections of flat lava flow with drops either side of rough areas of black cinder rock and kiekie undergrowth, quite jungle like in places. We got back to the Wharf at 4.30 pretty exhausted, but in time for the 5.00 boat.

Summer in January
Weather’s not good at the moment and the New Zealanders are saying it’s the worst Summer they’ve had in 10 years, so we find ourselves having to do more indoor things to keep us out of the rain. Tourist stuff like Kelly Tarlton’s Underwater World. Loads of people there on a wet Sunday afternoon but the underwater tunnels are pretty impressive. Didn’t like the Antarctic penguin section much, not nearly cold or snowy enough I thought. I’ve got 4 shifts at the shop this week which I’m quite pleased about as it’ll keep me busy till the w/e when we’re off up North. We’ve also been quite sociable recently with dinner at Rita’s, followed swiftly by a trip to the Ponsonby Road with her son James bravely doing a gig on his own with guitar. Then on Friday evening we had our Kiwi neighbours round for drinks which was lovely. 

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