By: Blonde Two
How to walk up a volcano:
1. First choose your volcano. In Auckland, this can be a bit tricky because there are at least fifty volcanic cones to choose from. I choose Rangitoto Island because it looks broodingly at visitors from its stronghold in Auckland harbour. Despite the assurances that it last erupted 600 years ago; this volcano is clearly thinking about it’s next eruption (which has not been ruled out by those that know).
2. Next you have to get to your volcano (mine is pronounced rang-ee-toe-toe). This may or may not involve a ferry ride across clear, turquoise water and the chance to look back at Downtown Auckland and the Sky Tower.
3. Once you have arrived at your volcano, you have (of course) to get to the top of it. This will, by definition, involve some walking up hill. You should choose your path carefully; the meandering way around the coast will give you an opportunity to examine lava lagoons and sit on a shell encrusted lava beach; but will take you two hours (with desperate wee stop, fruit cake stop and numerous photo stops). The other route will take you straight to the summit, but will be steep and leave you out of breath.
5. Marvel at the native New Zealand bush’s ability to generate amidst this sharp and inhospitable medium.
6. Giggle at the way that the incoming tide blows tiny bubbles through the lava rocks.
7. Sit on a beautiful shell strewn beach and watch the children playing.
8. Do not enter the Portaloo that is making all the European teenagers make gagging noises.
9. Get quite sweaty and a bit out of breath walking up the ever steepening track to the base of the cone.
10. Walk up the cone board walk and marvel at the magical sound of Tuis wafting up at you from the bush below.
11. Emerge from the board walk at the crater look-out, and stop for a moment to remember that you could be gazing into the centre of the earth.
12. Take the crater rim track (because how often will you get to walk around a volcanic crater?)
13. Attain the summit and admire the stunning 360 views.
14. Follow the steeper (and shorter) track down, taking a quick detour (last ferry leaves at four) to see the lava caves.
15. Arrive back at the ferry wharf feeling satisfied and mighty – you have conquered a volcano! Congratulations, you must be Blonde!