Tuesday 30 April
Even though we’d moved most of our stuff out last Thursday (I think, it’s all a bit of a blur now) it was ridiculous the amount of crap that was still left without a home. We had a bit of drama sorting out where the things we were going to sell would go but in the end it was all good.
Despite being down to the wire, we were on time getting to the airport and then the flight was delayed, but only by about 10 minutes.
As we got on the plane, Kaitaia farewelled us with an amazing west coast sunset out the window of the plane (pictured above). The universe’s way of reminding me of one of the many reasons I’d fallen in love with the Far North, and why I’d be back.
We landed in Auckland with Sharen and said our “see ya later”s to her there, as she was on her way to Dunedin for Jessie’s graduation in Dunedin. Anna kindly picked us up, dropped our stuff to her place, then we when to Hansan for Vietnamese food, where we met up with Beverly, Sharlene and Ang too.
This was the first time I’d ever been to a Vietnamese restaurant, so I was excited – and on top of all the excitement and lack of food now at our house, I’d managed to miss lunch, so I was STARVING.
I ordered Pork Skewers and a Rice Noodle Soup with pan fried Lemon Grass Chicken, both of which were really good. I couldn’t even finish all my noodles. I went from starving to stuffed in no time. I tried Young Coconut juice with Pulp as we were leaving… that was not a win.
Wednesday 1 May
Our last day in New Zealand – ahhh!
We were up bright and early, out of the house by 830, and Anna dropped us off at the ferry terminal to head over to Rangitoto on the 9.15 boat. It was an absolutely perfect day for it. Climbing Rangitoto Island had been on my list of things I’ve wanted to do, for ages. Thom and I had tried a couple times before, but either the weather hadn’t played along, or we were at the wrong ferry terminal or didn’t have enough time – this time, it was happening.
The climb up this volcano was a steady incline, but an easy hike overall. I was still huffing and puffing though – bit of a worry for the girl who will be running 21.5 km later this week. The suggested time was an hour each way, and we made it to the top in just under 30 minutes, leaving us lots of time to explore.
There are 3 ferries to Rangitoto daily during the week, with two options for return back to the mainland. The 12:45pm was our only option, since leaving at 3.30pm wouldn’t work. There are lots of other, longer track that you can take, we stuck to the shorter side tracks. We did the the Crater Track, which surprisingly enough, circles the top of the crater itself and was suggested to take 15 minutes. It was a great way enjoy the 360 views all around the Auckland harbour.
Further back down, we ventured off the main track to the Lava Caves, another 15 minute side track. We found them, but didn’t crawl through due to the copious amounts of children around (and screaming). I was more interested in the trees growing out of the volcanic rock.
Since there are no shops on the island, which is a Department of Conservation site, it’s up to you to take your own water and snacks. We had packed our camelbak’s and were prepared with 3L of Auckland tap water, but didn’t take any food with us. Needless to say, once we were back in the CBD, I was ready for a feed! We caught up with some of Thom’s family at the Irish pub for lunch.
We continued to be spoilt by Anna who not only picked us up from the Viaduct to take us back to her place where we’d stashed all of our bags, we also got to have quick showers (for the benefit of others in close proximity on the plane after our wee hike up a volcano in the morning sun) as well as for our own comforts sake. Then she even drove us back to the airport. We left at 4.30pm, which obviously meant that she’d hit rush hour traffic on her way back home. What a legend she is.
Once in the airport, I couldn’t help but feel like herded cattle while in line to check at the Air New Zealand desk. The line took us the better part of an hour, but that was fine, we were there, and we had plenty of time, no need to stress. Once we got up to the immigration desk, there wasn’t a soul in sight and we flew through.
We were left with less than an hour’s wait at the gate, and entertained ourselves by sending off a few few “see ya later” texts.
And so the adventure began!