Mount Eden - infinitely beautiful
01.08.2015 - 01.08.2015 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.
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.
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.
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.....
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.