My requirements for celebrating the new year are as follows:
- No wild drunkeness, or hordes of people
- Mountain climbing
- View of fireworks
The summit on Rangitoto Island nicely met these requirements.
So this time round we (Dave, Beau and I), set out for what was fast becoming a new year’s tradition.
On December 30th, we caught the 3pm ferry to Rangitoto Island, and then began the 3hr walk to the Home Bay campsite on adjoining Motutapu Island in the late afternoon sun.
As we trudged over the last hill after the Motutapu summit, we caught our first glimpse of the campground.
To our surprise, it was swamped by a group of 200 scouts, a rather noisy rowing club fully equipped with car-batteries to generously ensure all campers would be entertained by their music into the early hours of the morning, and numerous other groups and families, along with dozens of boats anchored in the bay.
We reasoned this was expected, as each year we had stayed there, the number of new year’s revellers seemed to have doubled, although this time round it might have hexoctacled.
As we cooked dinner, we were entertained by armies of excited sea scouts running about stealing other team’s flags (but alas not the batteries from the North Shore Rowing Club).
We observed the endearing imagination of children, forever sociable, and always able to invent a game to play, even in the absence of a video console. “Fire in the Hole”, they seemingly randomly yelled. “You take the point!”, they shouted repeatedly. Having not grown up in the computer generation, the complexities of this game were lost on me, and I am unable to impart the rules here.
Most of our fellow campers were boaties, and the following day they disappeared out to sea, leaving Motutapu Island free for our exploration. Beaches, tunnels, abandoned military sites, sheep, and rock clambering were waiting to be discovered. And not a person in site. Awesome.
As the last day of 2008 drew to a close, we then began our traditional midnight walk to the summit of Rangitoto to see in the new year. The FSM was kind to us, and His Noodly Appendage hovered in the sky protecting us from the rain forecast by metservice. We were greeted at the summit by a couple dozen other celebrators, and were rewarded with an impressive display of fireworks put on by Sky City.
All-up it was another great way to celebrate new year’s. Tramping times are as follows:
- Rangitoto Wharf -> Home Bay: 3 hours (via Motutapu coastal track), 10km
- Home Bay -> Gun Emplacements (via Mullet Bay coastal rock-clambering route): 4 hours, 7km
- Home Bay -> Rangitoto Summit:2 hours, 9km (one way)
- Home Bay -> Rangitoto Wharf:2 hours, 10km
Still, I think this year we’ll seek somewhere a little more quiet, as two nights of little sleep exhausted me. The following are possibilities:
- Great Barrier Island
- Any others?
View all photos here.