be sure to rollover ‘notes’ to see photo captions!

We woke up early and took the first ferry to Rangitoto Island, the youngest volcano in Auckland. We hiked up the lava rock-strewn path to the summit of the old volcano and took in the view of the volcano crater Hauraki Bay. On the way back down I took a wrong turn and ended up coming down the volcano the long way. Ran most of the way once I realized what I’d done, because Mom and Dad were waiting for me at one of the way points to the summit. Met up with Dad (Mom had decided to go on up to the top) and then I did a side trip to some little lava caves. I didn’t explore too far though because I was by myself and there were a lot of sharp edges on which to break something. We had a leisurely hike down, and saw some very busy ants at work. We ended up having about 45 minutes to ourselves at the dock before the ferry came back, so we relaxed in the sun and enjoyed the fresh air.

We cleaned up and got takeaway from the little cafĂ© across the street from our hotel, then visited the Wintergardens and Fernz Fernery at the Auckland Domain – a big park on the site of an old volcano (as are most of the parks there). We rested up a bit then had teppan-yaki at a place on the waterfront and got ice cream at a little place at Princes Wharf. Outside the ice cream place we ran into some people who were going to be boarding the same cruise ship the next day. Back to the hotel to do laundry, and watched ‘Band of Brothers’ on tv. Tomorrow the cruise begins! The week on our own went by really fast.