We finally got the ferry over to Rangitoto a couple of weeks ago and took the just-right walk/hike to the top. It’s only a few miles off shore, and kind of visually dominates the harbour (as we’ve noticed before) so it was very much on the list of things we wanted to do.

The trail passes through a mix of bare scoria and lush forest. It’s amazing to imagine the early Maori standing on the beach in Auckland watching this whole thing rise out of the sea, which apparently is what happened. And when Europeans first started looking at it there were almost no trees at all, but now it’s quite forested, including the biggest pohutukawa foest anywhere.

We had lunch on the foundations of an old gun emplacement, clambered through one of the lava tube caves, and briefly toured the restored ‘bach’ or summer cabin near the ferry landing. All in all a really nice day!

Selfie stories

One of my best memories from a school field trip to an art museum is of a series of drawings by Picasso. He started out with just a few lines, then added more and more details until he had a nice picture of a bull.

The punch line is that we were shown the drawings in reverse order. The magic of Picasso was his ability to distill that bull’s essential qualities down into a couple of strokes.

Flipping through pictures from our recent hike on Rangitoto Island somehow brought all that to mind… I wish I could say that my ‘artistic process’ went deeper than struggling with the timer feature and the selfie stick while trying to capture a bog standard view, but it didn’t.

Still, if you squint your eyes and add just a pinch of irony you can pretend I planned the whole thing… so look at the images again from bottom to top. Ponder the essential emptiness of frittering away even one summer moment fussing with the camera for the sake of an unmemorable image…

Dr. Rudi’s Rooftop Brewing

We made a pilgrimage to Rudi’s while Frank and Monique were here. The place is billed as a serious beer bar, and they did have a bunch of beers. But they also had about as much ambiance as Costco on Saturday afternoon.

I’ve spent ridiculous sums of money on ‘the best’ beers over many years in many countries and will keep on doing that. But when push comes to shove I’d rather chat with a neighbor or a bartender over a can of Ranfurly than be slung an expensive pint of Panhead but unable to talk over the classic rock station.