November 14, 2016
km traveled today: 0
total TA km: 594
This morning we woke up in our new friends the Valentines’ beautiful home. For breakfast they were serving up hearty helpings of eggs, bacon, and toast. After an epic barbecue dinner at their place and warm beds for each of us last night, we certainly felt spoiled. Miles and Sheryl explained that they were more than happy to host us for the two nights, hoping that we’d take the sentiment with us, and eventually do the same for a group of trampers when we’re in their position one day. After breakfast, we headed into Auckland Central to catch a ferry to Rangitoto island, home of one of Auckland’s most famous volcanoes. Jack, Sam, and I caught the ferry while Will decided to sit the excursion out, hoping to rest up for the morning in the city.
The ferry ride was quick and beautiful, dropping us off at the small wharf on Rangitoto island. On the ferry, the crew warns you to keep an eye on when the last ferry is supposed to depart Rangitoto island for Auckland. If you miss the last one, you’ll be spending the night on Rangitoto island, where there is no food or water.
We made the climb quickly, ripping up the trail with only some sandwiches and water in day packs borrowed from the Valentines. At the summit, we caught a 360 view of the Auckland shores and a glimpse at our previous week’s travel.
We played in the caves for a spell before heading all the way back down to the wharf to catch the 12:45 ferry back to Auckland Central. The Rangitoto adventure came to a close upon reaching Auckland at around 1:15. The side trip was worth it. If you don’t have much time in Auckland during your time walking the TA, however, don’t sweat it if you can’t make the trip. It does look quite similar to much of the northland forest terrain, with the beautiful additions of volcanic rock and some sweet caves.
Once we returned, we headed to the post office to pick up my new pair of shoes. My first pair I had used all summer up north in Ontario so they were pretty beat. I wanted them to last through the Northland forests, and they stretched all the way to the city. By now, you could see my sock in four places and a big chunk of sole had peeled right off.
We headed back to the Valentines and from there went with James (Miles and Sheryl’s son who is about our age) to Living Simply, an outdoors store at which we replaced Chokey, our leaky tent. The Valentines scored us a big discount on our sweet new tent, helping us out yet again!
We had another awesome dinner with James back at his place where we spent hours discussing American vs Kiwi slang.
After dinner we headed back downtown to go bowling where Shepard and I won a beer in a team game against Sam and Jack. We headed to a pub to redeem our prize, saw some sweet Irish folk music, and eventually came back here to the Valentines’ for an awesome night’s rest.
Many thanks to the Charlotte, James, Sheryl, and Miles (+ their dog Jet) for an amazing stay.