New Zealand is absolutely littered with volcanoes. Every major city has a volcanic cone protruding up somewhere nearby — Auckland has heaps, of course, and a few posts ago we visited one of them known as Mt. Eden. Strictly speaking these hills are not actually mountains, but actual mountains on the North Island are in short supply so they will have to make do.
As the map above indicates (poorly, as there are no contour lines), Whangarei’s mountain is Mt. Parihaka.
There are two primary ways to get to Mt. Parihaka; one is to drive to Mair Park, and the other is to walk along the trail from the Town Basin. The latter we’ll see in the next post, but on Monday I did the former. And I’m glad of it, since as seen in this photo Mair Park is really quite pretty.
Taking a nice stroll through the trees, I ran across a tiny little stream!
Walking down the path brings you to the Hater River, with Parihaka in the background. It may not be a proper mountain, but it does have some elevation.
Weird note: the color gradient on those bushes fools my eyes into thinking there’s motion blur in this photo. When I stare at the center, it feels like I’m zooming toward the trees. Or maybe that’s just me? I promise no drugs were taken in the making of this post….
Sometimes I have to struggle to find just one good photo of an area. But with Mair Park, I’m struggling to avoid the temptation to put every single photo in this post!
As we (reluctantly) move on, we cross the bridge and find *ominous chord* some stairs! This is the start of the climb to the summit!
I didn’t take any photos of the steep bits, mostly because I was busy trying not to pass out! But here’s a photo of an area of the trail that’s more level.
Upon reaching the top, you find a neat little monument. I don’t actually know the story behind it, but I like to think it’s celebrating the effort it took to get up there!
The true reward for the effort of the climb is to follow, though.
Up on the lookout, the view is simply staggering. No words I can put here would adequately describe it. If you click one photo to look at the full-resolution version, let it be this one.
So that, my friends, is Mt. Parihaka. Fantastic views, a short but great hike, a beautiful park at the bottom.
I managed to make it down before dusk — barely — and then drove over to the Grand Hotel to hang out with Queen Elizabeth II and some ghosts.
Next post: Tuesday’s adventure! I average between 11 – 12 pictures per post; I have 35 from Tuesday. It will take us two posts to get through Tuesday, but since Monday took four posts then that’s practically light speed :)