Saturday, May 2, 2015

Auckland's Rangitoto Island

It was a long day out to Rangitoto Island, a volcanic island that is now a predator-free, scenic nature reserve about half-an-hour ferry ride from Auckland.

Downtown Auckland is not very good at advertising its parking garages. After braving the traffic and finally finding the garage closest to the ferry terminal, we found out that the 10:30am ferry to the island had been cancelled because of alleged bad weather. It was sunny and clear out, so it was a bit fishy, but we bought tickets for the 12:15pm crossing and had to find something to do for a bit.

We opted for the free Auckland Art Gallery several blocks away. The downtown felt like any other big city, with virtually no indications that it was in New Zealand. Every time I go into a modern art gallery or museum, I am reminded that modern art is really hit and miss for me. Sometimes, like with the corrugated art at the Rotorua Museum, I really like it. A lot of times, though, I just can't see how it can be considered art by anyone except the artist. If anyone could make it, it's hard for me to see the skill involved. Like the piece of graph paper with a triangle colored in and half of a circle drawn -- this looks like geometry homework. I guess I really prefer the classic stuff.

Once we returned to the ferry terminal and were on the boat headed out to the island, the captain announced that because of "bad weather" we would have to go to the further dock on the island. Unfortunately, this meant that the hike to the summit (the main one that everyone does) was up a wide dirt road instead of a trail. We encountered only a couple tui and a fantail bird and saw and heard little else. By this point in our trip, we were getting exhausted faster and had heavy packs since there are no food or water facilities on the island. The views at the top were nice but perhaps not worth the $30 ferry ride and long journey. A storm cloud was coming in so we took pictures just before the rain started up. We happily returned to catch the ferry home, eagerly anticipating dinner. We opted for Denny's since it's reliable and treated ourselves to a snow ball, which is deep-fried ice cream just like at some Mexican restaurants back home.

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