360 Discovery Cruises offers a hop-on and hop off option that gave us the ability to explore some of the islands in the Auckland Harbor. Sunday was beautiful and the kiwi were out in force with their boats. The main stop on the cruise was Rangitoto Island that contains the youngest of the volcanoes in Auckland. This one was active only 600 years ago. Exploring the island would take an entire day, but we had only two hours – so we chose the hike up to the summit. The trail begins among a lot of volcanic rock. My first thoughts were - “What construction projects are going on - just look at all the debris here?” We didn’t go far before I learned the trail runs right through the lava fields. It turns out the lava cooled forming a crust and then the flowing lava beneath the crust shattered the crust creating all this debris. Much of the trail I also think was on the levees – or where the lava flowed despite the crust formations. It’s taken a number of centuries for the rocks to break down to the point of forming enough soil for plants to grow. Much of the island does have growing vegetation, but there are still areas of nothing but rock. It was inspiring to see a small single plant finding it’s way. This one is the Pohutukawa Tree – which is affectionately known as the Christmas tree since it blooms red at Christmas. The views from the summit were fantastic. We wish we hadn’t had that ferry to catch and could have just sat for a while.
Instead we caught the ferry and decided to get off at Kelly Tarlton’s – our one extremely touristy thing to do for the day. The one thing that drew us up there was an underwater tunnel so we could experience what diving could be like. I enjoy watching the fish swim, but there were no good pics. Despite that, James still wanted you to see this one. Do you hear the Jaws theme???