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Kia Ora From New Zealand
Kia Ora From Rangitoto Island
By Audrey

I arrived at Rangitoto Island with such zeal and enthusiasm, determined to conquer it so that I could come home and boast about my trip. I stood below the volcanic ‘mountain’, glared fiercely, shook my fist at it, and shouted, “Rangitoto, here I come!”

Guess who got the last laugh?

A few of us trudged up the summit. We were all from different backgrounds, ethnic and age groups, as well as different “body weight” categories. Mind you, health level is an important part of this expedition. And a good sense of direction as well. It is not that difficult to find the correct route up the mountain. But blame it on myself… I led the pack up the wrong route and we ended up taking the ‘long’ way instead of the shorter and easier path. Maps are useless to me.

Up the slope we went. Before long, I was panting like a dog. I ‘progressed’ to sweating like a ... a… now, what animal would sweat as much as I did? …I’m sure you get the picture. I’m definitely below the average health level. But it was a tough climb and there is the need to exercise extra caution. After all, you would not want to sprain your ankle over some tumbled rocks shattered from the solidified crust of lava flows.

The irony of the whole situation was that the elderly people actually overtook me. They climbed up the mountain with such ease, acting as if they had been doing this all their lives. Some even taunted me, calling me a “young tortoise.” “Hmmph!” I appreciate the “young” part, but that’s still an insult, isn’t it? And to rub salt on wounds, I met the same group of elderly people on their way down while I was still on my way up!!! Can you believe how embarrassed I felt? I could have dug a hole in the ground to hide my face.

“10 minutes more to the summit. 5 minutes, if you walk faster”.

Right… as if my legs were turbo charged with Energizer batteries.

Despite the catcalls, cheers, jeers, and embarrassments, I made it! I reached the summit, my proudest moment. The view on top is spectacular. It was worth every bit of hard work put in. It was awesome, it was breathtaking, and it was glorious! It left me completely speechless…

I strongly advice the adventurous to take this challenge up Rangitoto Island. For the less agile, there is a tractor-drawn train that could bring you a reasonable distance up the mountain. A small fee is required, of course.

For more information on the ferry schedule to Rangitoto, click here.

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