Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Amazing Volcano Explorer Weekend Part 3

Day #2 - Rangitoto

I had booked us tickets on the Rangitoto Island Explorer quite some time before the day we went.
Auckland and Northland were officially in drought. It hadn't rained in a couple of months. So of course the day we had booked to go to Rangitoto Island was the first rainy day. And it was very wet.

But we weren't going to let the weather ruin our experience. None of us had been to Rangitoto Island before so there was excitement all round.


So we put on our raincoats and jackets and headed off to the Ferry Terminal to wait for our Ferry.

The kids were pretty excited about just the Ferry ride! 

There was a pick-up stop at Devonport and then a 1/2 hour trip to Rangitoto Island. We sat right next to the captains cabin so the kids had fun watching him pressing all his buttons.

When we got to the Island we had a quick toilet stop and then jumped onto our transport for the day.

 The tractor driver was our Tour Guide and was awesome! He told us some really interesting stories and he was also really funny so we were laughing a lot too.  I mentioned earlier that is was raining. Well I was sitting on the outside seat and the rain just happened to be coming from that direction. I was soaked about a 1/4 of the way around the track.

I learnt so much about Rangitoto Island that I had NO idea about. Things like the fact there is NO soil on Rangitoto, only rock. Rangitoto has been pest free since 2007. The largest Pohutukawa forest in the world is on Rangitoto Island. The kids didn't get as much enjoyment out of the narration as us adults did and unfortunately the weather made it slightly less comfortable and the scenery a little less interesting for them.

So when we reached the part where we got to get out and climb to the summit it was a relief for them to get to stretch their legs.

There were 300ish stairs to the Summit, which happens to be higher than the 2nd observation deck on the Sky Tower. About 3/4 of the way up there is a lookout to the volcano crater. This was where Mum, Aunty Val and the kids decided they had had enough of the rain and the stairs so they decided to head back down to the tractor. I decided that since I had made it this far I would head to the summit on my own.

Looking down into the volcano crater

So a few more stairs up, I got a lot more drenched and tired but I got to the top where there was a magnificent viewing platform where I got to see the spectacular summit view .....

Well I would have if the top of the mountain wasn't surrounded by rain clouds! I am really glad I went right to the top though.
So I trekked back to the bottom of the stairs where I found my family huddled in their seats having snacks and keeping as dry as they could.

300ish stairs!!
After waiting for the rest of the group to arrive back from the summit we headed off on the trail again. 

The next stop was the Lava Field. This is pretty much unchanged from when the volcano formed Rangitoto about 600 years ago. It was amazing. If the weather was better I would have liked to have explored this more but it was just a quick jump out, look around and then back into the transport for the shelter.

Then around the last part of the track and back to the dock to wait for the ferry to arrive to take us home. 
I had to get a photo with our awesome Tour Guide and he even let the kids jump up and have a turn pretending to drive in his tractor.

Because it was raining the scheduled stops weren't as long as they would have been had the weather been nicer. No one really wanted to have extended exploring time in the miserable weather. So we had about 45 minutes to wait before the next ferry arrived to take us back. Poor Abbey was soaked through, tired and cold. She was pretty much over it and just wanted to go home.

Once we were back on the ferry we ordered Hot chocolates (and a lemonade for the fussy boy) so everyone got warmed up and rejuvenated for the trip home.

Back to the car for dry clothes (thank goodness we packed some!) Then back to Aunty Val's for hot showers!!

Riley said that Rangitoto was his favourite part of the weekend and I would have to agree with him. Regardless of the weather it was an amazing adventure and I would love to go back again some other time in better weather!!! I would highly recommend the Explorer tour to anyone interested in going over.

Stay tuned for tomorrows installment ... the ending!

Read Part 1 HERE 
Read Part 2 HERE

1 comment:

Leonie said...

Looks like So much fun!