A Travellerspoint blog

Conquering Volcanoes....1

Mount Eden - infinitely beautiful

12 °C

So at the moment I'm living on a big mound of bubbling hot liquid death.

Yep, when I flew to New Zealand just a few weeks ago, I knew it was made of LOTS of volcanoes and yet still came here.

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It's okay though, I've checked the GNS Science website and apparently at the moment Auckland is at low risk of volcanic activity. Phew!

There are so many volcanoes in this region (48 volcanic "cones" in the Auckland surround) that you can't spin in a circle without spotting one. My house in Sandringham is near Mount Albert, my work is next door to One Tree Hill (more on that in a future blog post) and almost every visitor that comes to this fair city will know of Mount Eden. Which is where I headed on August 1.

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As I was living in the CBD at the time, Mount Eden was about a 30 minute walk from my hostel, so on one surprisingly sunny afternoon I packed an apple and some juice and set off.

The walk itself was beautiful but once I reached the base, I could already see that the views from the top were going to be amazing.

Boasting the claim of being Auckland's highest natural viewing point, Mount Eden or Maungawhau to give it its Moari name, is an impressive 196m high.

It's also pretty damn steep - as anyone who has climbed it will tell you.

The climb to the top was made somewhat disheartening by the fact I was overtaken by hardcore cyclists and runners (who CYCLES up a volcano?) but once I reached the incredible cone at the top, my efforts where rewarded.

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The pictures on here can't event begin to depict just how vast it really was, but I tried to get some with people in for perspective. The most striking thing about staring down into the "hole" is that despite the fact there is now a layer of grass, you really can picture it being an open vortex of bright orange lava. In other words, it still looks like a volcano.

The crater is 50 metres deep and is surrounded by signs warning you not to enter it. The sides are so steep, I can well image that getting in is no trouble, but getting out is the difficulty.

I carried on around the cone and made my way to the very top (on the far side of the cone) where I could see for miles.....

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My impressive view included One Tree Hill (I now work next door at Greenlane Hospital) and the further reaches of Auckland including the airport and the mountains.

Making my way along the narrow path round to the other side, I could see the city and the famous Skytower. I've since taken a million pictures of the Skytower but I still like to get a snap when it looks particularly impressive.

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I had an amazing time taking lots of photographs and watching as the sun slowly made it's way down the skyline. I didn't stay for sunset as it was still a few hours off and I was getting hungry, but I can well image it would make a pretty amazing picture if you had a decent camera.

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As I made my way down and thought how much easier the route going with gravity rather than against it was, I flicked back through my photographs. Not one of them on here really does it justice, but hopefully it gives you some idea of just how wonderful this natural landmark is.

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As a side note to this blog, on the way home I took a detour to Grafton Cemetery off Symond Street. The snowdrops were coming in so I got som beautiful pictures of Spring's arrival in Auckland.

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Call me morbid, but I love wandering (and wondering) around old cemeteries and seeing if I can make out the names and dates on the stones.

Sadly my walk did end on a low note when I entered the Jewish part of the cemetery. Some idiots have spray painted swastikas on some of them. Thankfully most have been washed off, but some still have the black paint on them. Mindless vandalism in what is otherwise a very beautiful and peaceful haven in the middle of a bustling city.

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Posted by emmaabroad 16:47 Archived in New Zealand Tagged auckland mount walking culture history volcano cemetery scenery new top walks to things do lava zealand photography tourism volcanic gravestone eden skytower swastika moari Comments (0)

EcoZip - whizzing across Waiheke Island at 60km/hr

Being daredevils and wearing sexy helmets on a beautiful island

semi-overcast 14 °C

YEAH! My first blog about New Zealand.

Well, it was about bloody time as I've been here a month now. I've packed so much in I don't even know where the days have gone. I've been on so many adventures already and sorted out a job and house. So it probably isn't that surprising that I'm only just getting round to writing this.

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So, when my Swedish friend Gabby said she'd be in Auckland for a few days, it was an excuse to stop job hunting (I was still hunting back in the beginning of August) and grab my other friend Chris so the three of us could do some zip-wiring.

I'd read about it before when I visited Waiheke Island back in April on a week off from au pairing, but I'd chicken out of doing it back then. Well not now!

Although I was really nervous and heights aren't my thing, we headed over on the ferry to the beautiful tropical island filled with beaches, vineyards and beautiful tanned people.

Our driver from EcoZip was Jeremy and he was really good at telling us all about the island as we drove round the winding roads up to the centre. He pointed out gorgeous beaches and told us all about the best places to check out. We had a little stop off to take some pictures and from high up on the hillside we could see beautiful scenery for miles.

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We then arrived at the centre where it was time to get kitted up. We were trussed up in straps and belts and harnesses and helmets and I distinctly remember making an HILARIOUS 50 Shades joke. (Giggle). We were told all the safety information which was basically, "don't touch anything and you'll be fine".

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After photos and a glance out over the horizon at what was to come (mistake) we made our way to the first of three zip-wires.

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Gabby and I were about third in the queue and as we watched the first couple set off and heard the women shout a very loud curse word, I wasn't exactly reassured about the height and speed of the thing. The only reassurance was the fact that the first line was over a vineyard - so I'd either die amongst the grapes or be rewarded by wine later. One of the two.

And then all too suddenly we were off. WHOOSH. I'd like to tell you I was brave and didn't squeal. But I'd be lying. However, it WAS more enjoyable than scary and I remember having lots of fun. Whoop whoop.

So that was one down, two to go.

For our briefing of the second zip-wire, we were told we'd be twice as high and travelling twice as fast. Brilliant. So much for calming my nerves beforehand fellas! Haha. So once again Gabby and I went whooshing over the canopy with the tiny trees looking like broccoli below us and the middle-distance showing off an inviting beach.

I really liked the second one as there was a lot more scenery to look at and I now knew what to expect a bit more.

So then it was the third one - Big Dog. Saving the best for last, we were told this one went at 60km/hr and was higher than the Auckland Bridge bungee jump. The incline was a lot steeper, but although the wire was longer, it wouldn't feel it as we'd be going super fast.

This time I went alongside Chris, so I could video his reactions. Although, as you'll see from the video, it was more trees and my swearing than anything else. Eeek!

After a brief glance around and a quick wave to Gabby, we were off. OH MY GOD! It was so incredibly fast I couldn't believe it. It was amazing, scary, exciting and beautiful all at the same time.

And then it was over (sad face emoticon). We'd conquered all three zip-lines and survived to tell the tale.

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We then had a gorgeous walk through the forest where we were told all about the indigenous trees, the Maori beliefs, the history of the island and hugged a big tree which is apparently good for cardiovascular well-being. Oh, and we learned my favourite fact of the day - we'd burned about 350 calories hiking back up to the centre.

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Cha-ching. Bring on lunch!

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The view from the restaurant for lunch.

Posted by emmaabroad 00:43 Archived in New Zealand Tagged beaches auckland travel adventure new island zealand heights blog bungee speed waiheke zipwire zip-wire ecozip Comments (0)

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