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Robin John’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 16 Oct 2011

Location: Auckland, New Zealand

MapBack to Auckland for the big game
On Thursday, I drove from National Park back to Auckland, to stay again with Sonya and Peter for my final weekend in New Zealand. I took the scenic route back, driving past the great volcanoes that had been lost in cloud for the previous two days. Just my luck - the cloud had now lifted and the Tongariro Crossing would probably have been feasible, but there was still rain. Anyway, the cloud clearing allowed me to get some good photos of the volcanoes, a memorable sight.
Near Lake Taupo on the drive back, I stopped to visit an active thermal area called 'Craters of the Moon', full of steaming and bubbling vents and mud pools - it is certainly a strange sight. Nearby there is a geothermal power plant, which captures and uses the hot steam to generate electricity, so you can get some idea of just how much energy there is just below the surface.
On Friday, Peter and I took a ferry out to Rangitoto Island just east of Auckland. This is a relatively young volcano, formed only 600 years ago. From the top, you get excellent views of the city, and it was a good clear day. The SkyTower dominates the skyline for miles around and can be clearly seen from Sonya and Peter's house 20 miles west at Cornwallis.
Essentially Auckland, and the rest of New Zealand for that matter, is a giant collection of volcanoes. Auckland alone has more than 60 volcanic cones dotted around.