- Jul 26, 2003
- New Zealand
Auckland is a city built on 50 volcanos - I was there today to look after my 9 year old grandaughter, and bring her home....so wasted the day exploring with her. Back to where I grew up. Panmure Basin is a sunken caldera, and at some stage the wall was breached to the sea, so is now a tidal basin. These days there is a nice walk around the lagoon, and a bridge over the inlet....not back in my day. From the bridge looking to the Tamaki Estuary. Looking into the basin, and that's Mt Wellington, or Maungarei in the background...we went there next. It takes me about 30 minutes to walk around the lagoon....with a 9 year old, considerably longer. She saw fish, and birds and crabs and, and, and.... We had chips on a park bench, gingerbeer and melted icecreams. Grandad said we'd have them after the chips - in summer?...? Maungarei (I will always call it Mt Wellington) is a scoria cone, and is 10,000 years old, one of the youngest. Looking down onto the lagoon from the top, you can see the inlet to the sea and just make out the pedestrian bridge. In pre european times all the vlocanic cones were Maori Pa (villages), and were forified, and are terraced, with food pits still visable. Looking north we see Auckland's most recognisable land mark, Rangitoto Island. This is the largest and most recent volcano, last active 600 years ago, some say even more recent. In the '60's water reservoirs were put on many of the cones, this one is 45,000 cubic metres. No water towers in Auckland. I should point out that it is late summer here, the dryest time of the year...normaly there are sheep grazing the mountain. The crater. The Volvo is a dark smudge in the carpark. Looking further east, the go cart track is obvious. In the '60's it was a dirt track and all the surounding land just scrub. Between the container park and houses are some warehouses, this is what's left of Camp Bunn, one of 2 supply camps set up by the US military in WWII, the rail line runs past, shipping between the port and camps. Further east is a strip of land, this is a peninsula, and we lived there when I was born. Every holiday and nearly every sunday was spent at my grandmothers on the beach there. My childhood and teens were spent between the area I'm standing in, and where I'm looking. It was isolated then, to the right of the narrowest point was just farmland, not a house in sight. The lava flow from Mt Wellington went north, and became a huge quarry...lots of quarries in Auckland cutting volcanic rock, but this was the biggest. We could feel the blasts from home, and at school. Auckland has a big housing shortage, so the quarry has been turned into a subdivision - high density housing, something we are not used to. It's called Stonefields....they won't be digging any gardens here. The Sky Tower just visible in the distance.