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March 25th 2008
Published: March 25th 2008
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UPDATE: You can now view the photos that belong to this blog on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=45379&l=c90e4&id=503895728. You can do this even if you're not a member of Facebook or if I'm not on your friends list. While you're there, feel free to add me!

No, I haven't become an extra in a disaster film - the volcanos I'm talking about are strictly of the extinct variety. Over the last two days I've climbed up three of them and while they haven't exploded in a shower of lava, they have provided some fab views.

Yesterday I completed the 10 mile Coast to Coast Walk in 4.5 hours including lunch, which I think is pretty good going! The walk took me from the main harbour through the Domain park, up and down Mount Eden, through Cornwall Park, up and down One Tree Hill and through a couple of little suburbs to the harbour at the south of the city. It wasn't actually the most scenic route in the world as I had to walk along quite a few residential streets, but it was good to see parts of the city outside the centre and I enjoyed tramping up the two hills. At the start of the walk it was quite rainy and it got very wet and windy on top of Mount Eden, but as soon as I left the summit it dried up and turned into quite a sunny day. I was so glad there was a bus home from Onehunga where I ended up (I'd checked that there was before I set off) and it was quite bizarre that it was a Stagecoach - the seats had the same pattern as the ones on the X17 that I used to catch to go to work, half a world away.

The day ended on a surprisingly good note. I'd met a girl called Jenny on the bus from the airport and had eaten dinner with her that night. Yesterday I ran into her again and she said that someone had left a bottle of white wine on her bed - she'd assumed they'd put it there while they were packing, but everyone from her room had checked out now and it was still there. Anyway, we ended up sharing the bottle and having a good chat, and it turns out that she comes from Nuneaton, went to KEGS which is a school we used to visit quite a lot from work to recruit students, studied history (at York not Warwick though) and spent the eight months before she came travelling working in the Alumni Office at Coventry! She even had her leaving party in the same bar as me, the week before mine! I never imagined I'd be sitting in Auckland reminiscing about the VC's Roadshow and the 5pm happy hours in Dogma, and it was great fun to find out we had so much in common. She's left now for Rotorua but I have another Facebook friend to add to my growing tally.

Today I spent the afternoon on Rangitoto Island which is a 20 minute ferry journey from the harbour here. The island was formed by a volcanic eruption in the 1400s, much to the surprise of the Maori people on the island nearby - Rangitoto means "firey sky" or "blood-red sky" in Maori. The rock is all black lava which is quite striking, particularly when you view it from high up. When we arrived on the island there was a man with a tractor and a big trailor to take us to the central volcano, and I climbed up to the summit and walked round the crater which is now covered with trees. From the top I could see the city centre, several other islands and lots of pale blue water - it's not that clear from the pictures but there were good views of the harbour bridge and the Sky Tower. It was warm this morning but we seemed to have yesterday's weather in reverse today minus the rain, and after the ferry journey back I was quite chilly. It's nice to be back in my warm hostel!

For some reason I can't upload photos today...I'm going to keep trying but I'm afraid this is going to have to be published without for now. Sorry!


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