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With it being our last full day in NZ we got up early, packed our things for the day and set out on our journey to Rangitoto Island. The island is only about a 20 minute ferry ride, so they are able to do multiple trips throughout the day for both pick ups and drop offs. The Volcano was only formed 600 years ago, which makes it the youngest volcano in NZ's north island and It is also the largest cone in NZ.
We had chosen to get out first thing in the morning and hop on the first ferry over to the island, departing at 9:15am. The weather continued to stay cloudy with showers here and there, but with our rain gear we were all set for a day of hiking. The clouds were a little higher than the previous day so there was still hope that we would be able to see the view of the mainland from the lookout point on top. Our 20 minuted ferry ride picked us up, brought us across the choppy 2 m swells to the wharf at Rangitoto and returned back to the main land.
As soon as we disembarked the boat, Lauren and I headed straight for the summit trail. This was the main trail that we had come over to the island for because it provided a chance to look into the crater and out over the island and the harbour towards the mainland. Basically giving you a 360 view of Rangitoto and the surrounding islands. The sign at the entrance read "Island Summit hike, 4.6km" and knowing that it would be a constant uphill climb, and that there was a side trail to a cave system we started off our island adventure there to ensure that we had enough time before the last ferry of the day.
Along the way we stopped off at all of the lookout points and info boards explaining the geological history of the island. At about 3/4 of the way up, the path split into two one direction continuing uphill to the summit and the other off to the side towards the cave. We chose to continue the uphill to the top first so that the weather didn't have a chance to cloud over further before getting to see the view and saved the caves for the way down.
When we rounded the bend up at the top emerging from the tree line, not only did the view open up but the wind also rushed past us sending chills through our body. At the lookout you were able to see a misty outline of the cityscape off in the distance as well as the odd boat out in amongst the swells. On a clear day you would most likely have a clear enough view of the city that you could count the cars driving by the ferry terminal. We didn't stay too long up top since the wind was quite chilly and the rain was starting again, but the path led us along the rim of the rim of the cone looking down into the now filled crater. I found it fascinating at how quickly life had taken over and reclaimed the land and filled the once desolate area with the succession of forest growth. The crater reached 60ft in depth with the trees climbing and covering the entire surface area of the cone.
On the way back down the steep section just inside the tree line was absolutely stunning and reminded me of back home with the changing colour of leaves and the leaf little scattering the ground making a crunch underneath my boots with every step I took. It didn't last for long before it turned back to gravel but the nostalgia was there for a brief moment and sent a longing excitement for home and the familiarities of it.

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