visiting the North Island
November 10, '04

(click on the first picture to get started; captions are at the bottom of each picture page)

Goodbye, Dunedin... I flew out on Nov 10.  Most of Dunedin is under the clouds in the upper right. Flying over Wellington (on the way to Auckland).  Apparently a major fault line runs through this capital city.
I arrived in Auckland, the only major city in New Zealand.  Most of the time I was there I stayed with a retired couple named Pat and Pam, who are friends of Emily F. On my second day in Auckland, I took the 20 minute ferry to Rangitoto Island with two friends from U Otago
The island is completely volcanic and formed out of the sea only 600 years ago over a period of about 100 years.  The island was still largely barren basalt rock as seen in the foreground here. The view out to sea from the top of Rangitoto
Here's a panoramic view of the volcano's crater, out of which lava used to erupt while the island was forming!  Lots of trees and bushes have started to grow but you can certainly see the bowl shape.
Panorama looking out over Auckland
Robin pimpin it out at the summit... no these are two friends from U Otago, Leithia (lives in DC) and Megan (lives in Cali). Another view of the cool basaltic scenery!
As the two of us learned in Geology class this semester, there are two types of basalt lava: "pahoehoe" is smooth flowing, whereas "a'a'" is broken up and sharp (it's name is what you utter when trying to walk across it).  Here we demonstrate the latter concept by each saying "a!" which when combined, is a'a'.  Ingenious, I know.  Actually, we just look stupid.  But that's ok.  Do it for the geology... The next day I took a "Kiwi Experience" bus up to the Bay of Islands, North of Auckland.  When I got there I went on a dolphin-watching cruise around the bay.
I still cannot get over how flat the ocean is.  I mean, check that out. Lots of rocky islands and waves crashing...
A mysterious cave we passed by [click for video] Sadly, we didn't find any dolphins!  It was still a gorgeous trip though, as you can see.
I love the layering in this picture!  A classic photo of the Bay of Islands. Back on shore, I visited this huge Maori war canoe in Waitangi
Back in Auckland, I rode the elevator up the Sky Tower, the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, which you certainly saw in earlier photos of the Auckland skyline.  Here is the view looking back towards distinctive Rangitoto Island. And... and artsy freeway shot!  Also, the hill you can see is where I was staying with Pat and Pam.
Looking back up the tower to see where the previous photos were taken. Pat took me to the Auckland museum and posed next to the hugest snail-like fossil ever.
The moa is poised to strike Pat from behind! Have you ever seen a road sign quite like this one?