Monday, 21 March 2011

Auckland and journey's end (nearly)

Well, back in Auckland at the end of a hugely enjoyable trip seeing the whanau and Aotearoa. We arrived back at J & C's place and proceeded to chill out and relax and play with Ben for a few days. Carolin and Hans headed off to the Coromandel for a few days and a few days later we went over to somewhere else on the Coromandel (Matarangi) to stay at the bach of some friends. This was a relaxed long weekend which involved eating and drinking well and fishing poorly. We went floundering, which involves stringing a net across the estuary just before low tide and then trying to encourage fish to swim into it (flat fish that is...flounders). Well, we were sure we would get a reasonable one a reasonable haul? probably not...oh well, it tasted pretty good.

I spent a lot of saturday evening watching the sunset, with the full moon big and clear and a wide open horizon which had me flabbergasted. Unfortunately my camera had ran out of juice, so no pics of that. Next day was back to Auckland and apart from getting drunk with Carolin, Hans and their friend Selina yesterday as a goodbye, I am hopefully going to do a big fat nothing but read for the last few days. I'm looking forward to getting back in one respect, but in others I want to stay here longer...unsurprising I guess. Oh well, next time I will make it longer....

J and Ben

at a festival in Albert Park

what's that I spy?

cake!!! gimme gimme gimme!!

stop taking photo's man and push the damn cakes closer!! jeez...

goddamn water....

finally he's eating cake

back yard fern sun #1

back yard fern sun #2

hoody youth

come to daddy

floundering at Matarangi, Coromandel

Matarangi, Coromandel

and again

he liked it up there

even if it was kinda new and confusing

enjoying the sun

discussing current affairs with dad

at Julia's Rock in Matarangi

Monday, 14 March 2011

Volcano #2: Mt Taranaki (2518m)

So, having done Ruapehu I had planned a day of rest, before going to do the Tongoriro crossing in the sun. This however didn't happen as I received a better drive across to Taranaki (south west corner of the north island - somewhere I'd not been yet) and still arrive in Auckland on the saturday...perfect...

So the next day, me and Carolin drove down the Forgotten Highway, through the republic of Wangamomona (getting our passports stamped), then on to the coast, where we saw Taranaki closer and some beautiful naked ladies in the setting sun...we had been watching Taranaki getting larger through the day, until you are in the area and it is always there.

Next day we drove round to North Egmont to start the summit climb. This is signposted as a 8 - 10 hour walk and we started at 1215.'ll be fine. So, about 1 hour or so up a steep 4wd track to the phone mast, then another hour (or less) up an even steeper 4wd road, before climbing what one guy we met put as "the stairway to heaven". after this was a rocky valley head, before the staircase resumed, disappearing into the mist. Then came the killer...really steep scree/scoria as on Ruapehu, which was much steeper and harder to ascend than the photos show...1 steep forward, 2 steps slide back. (it was easier coming down of course!). After this, we had to climb a load of rocks/old lava flow to the top.

It was tough, but it was worth it, and despite the cloud coming across, like on Ruapehu, Taranaki is high enough that we came out above the clouds...amazing!!

And then, repeat in reverse to get down to the car and a well earned meal and sleep at about 7pm or something. Well done us!!

Next day was up to Auckland to meet Carolin's pal Hans (Super Hans) and onto bro's place for relaxing....

here's loads of photos, cos filtering them down got too much...

first glimpse of Mt Taranaki from the Forgotten Highway
naked ladies in the setting sun
view of our destination the evening before the climb
that's where we are going
first the steep 4wd road
then the steeper section (steepness is not easy to get on photo)
up to the aerial
up the stairway to heaven, briefly interrupted by the Hongi Valley
the Hongi Valley
behind us while in the valley
the stairway resumes
and goes up
past this
and this
looking behind while on the steps
getting closer
steep scoria
and again
slowly getting above the clouds
up up up
higher and more knackered
it was great being up here!
rock clambering for a 1 or 2 hours to finish
long way down
and again
the final section (The Lizard)
getting there...
the crater ice
finally made it!
the way down
near the top
a ladybird on top of the mountain
heading down
pretty steep
back into the mist by stair
via the Hongi Valley
looking back up the Hongi Valley
Hongi Valley
down the road
and back for dinner