Written By Clare, Photo by Alan

Of the six of us on this trip it was the first overnighter for Damon, Alan and his daughter. We started with the strange feeling of through downtown Auckland in tramping boots while carrying a pack. However, once we got on the ferry we stared to fit in better and enjoyed the boat trip.

The contrast between the two islands is dramatic. At roughly 600 years old Rangitoto is the youngest volcano in the Auckland region. The broken lava fields support the largest remaining Pohutukawa forest. We followed the inland route a road that was built by prisoners from Rangitoto Wharf to Islington Bay Wharf. Then over the causeway, left over from World War 2 onto Motutapu Island. Motutapu Island is one of the oldest around Auckland. Home to old farmland that is slowly being replanted in natives. We took the path over farmland and cliff tops leads to Home Bay, where there is a DOC campground. After setting up tents we separated into smaller groups to explore different parts of the island. The evening campsite was by an old homestead with a nice beach and incredible soft thick grass for putting a sleeping mat on. Unfortunately the peace was disturbed by the group next to us who had boated to the island bringing a powerful sound system and partying until midnight. It was kind of entertaining watching them the next morning explaining to the DoC officers why they hadn't paid for tickets.

The next day we crossed back onto Rangitoto and took the coastal track which passes many remnants of human activity – boatsheds and baches near Rangitoto Wharf, old quarry sites, ruins of war time storage bases for mines, and Yankee Wharf built during World War II. Some of the track went over the broken lava fields which was very hard on the feet

As we got back to the landing site a ferry was sitting there and it was decided to run for the boat instead of climbing Rangitoto. We eventually made it back to Hamilton tired but happy stopping for ice cream in Pokeno.