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We’re Not In Kansas Anymore. It’s Rangitoto

It wasn’t a tornado that brought us to this island, it was simply a ferry.

And it was another force of nature that created the island 600 years ago: volcanic.

I’m not sure how they do it, but somehow plants manage to prosper on this island, persevering and extending their roots through the mounds and mounds of solidified pahoehoe.

It’s a good thing too, since it was REALLY hot out there as the black lava rocks seems to absorb all the heat of the sun and radiate it back out in our direction. The trees provided a little bit of cover to cool us off on the hike up to the crater.

It was so hot out there that we even took a detour to cool off underground in the lava tube caves.

Emerging on the other side a tad bit cooler, and a tad bit closer to the summit.

As you can probably imagine, the 1.5 hour hike to the top revealed some fantastic views of the city and surrounding waters.

But we had limited time to enjoy it all as we had to quickly hike back down the long lonely road before we missed the last ferry of the day.

We really cut it a lot closer than we should have, and my feet are still reminding me of that fact today.

Over It

The biggest eyesore landmark of Auckland is quite obviously the Sky Tower.

It is 328 metees (1,076 ft) tall, making it the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere! And of course, seeing that it’s located in New Zealand, the Kiwi’s turned it into an adventure sport!

SkyJump is sort of like a 192-meter “fan descender”  which is a cross between a bungy jump and a base jump. The jump is guide-cable-controlled to prevent jumpers from colliding with the tower in case of gusts. Nice feature, but if there’s no risk of a concussion, I’m not interested.

Instead we just took in the 360 degree panoramic views of the city, and then had a nice dinner in the revolving restaurant at the top.


We already experienced boating powered by man-made propulsion on the south island, so for the north island, we figured we’d try natural propulsion, in the form of wind, on an America’s Cup yacht.

They offer two booking options for these boats, one is a hands on cruise through the bay, the other is a hands on race against another boat. Who doesn’t like a little friendly competition?


Once we hoisted our main sail, it was ON!

Oh snap! The competition is gaining on is! Deploy the spinnaker on the double!

Now we’re cookin!

Blazing through the bay with the wind in our hair.

There’s no looking back now!

Oh wait! Look back! It’s the harbor patrol! We’re busted! Breaking maritime speed limits I presume?

So fast that even our own captain got nauseous!

OK, I cannot tell a lie. Actually I can, I just did. Everything you just read was made up. Fact is, we motored out to the bay and there wasn’t a single gust of wind. I don’t know a lot about sailing, but I do know that wind is a requirement, or as the captain put it “It’s like playing tennis without a tennis ball.” We sat there, stationary for a good 30 minutes waiting for a knot or two. It was all for naught. Not a single breeze came our way.

Speaking of tennis, apparently there is a tournament in town.

I really wish we could make it, but we’ll be off to Chile by then! Drats!

In The Line Of Fire

We flew into Auckland on the Northern Island the other day, and it’s pretty much the polar opposite of Queenstown. While Queenstownhas a population of about 13,000, Auckland has almost half of the entire population of the country of New Zealand at 2 million heads. Queenstown is rivers, lakes, mountains and trees. Auckland is buildings, bulldozers and cranes.

Oh, and volcanos! Lots and lots of volcanos. Approximately 50 volcanic vents in and around Auckland take the form of lakes, lagoons, islands, depressions and cones, such as this one at Mt. Eden…

BTW, that’s the Auckland city skyline in the background.

And here’s the skyline of Aucklands suburbs.

And here’s a bovine-line…

…and a navigation line for us to find our way back home.

The Worst Part Of Visiting Queensland

The worst part is leaving.

I was bummed when we left Japan and am also bummed about leaving Queenstown. It’s truly one of the highlights from the last 6 months. I spent the final day today just trying to take it all in one last time. How can you have any complaints about a place with views like this in your back yard?

Or as a backdrop for a rugby match?

I mean come on, they even have a Frisbee Golf course…

in their park…


Totally, totally bummed out dude!

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