49. Ash Hill

Visited 28 February 2015

Ash Hill truck park. We visited the green space by the Oak Road cul-de-sac

Ash Hill truck park. We visited the green space by the Oak Road cul-de-sac (Thanks Google Maps)

There’s a little irony behind the name of this volcano; first of all it’s not a hill, the swampy, mud-filled crater being about 30 metres below ground level. I usually talk with such passion about the volcanoes of Auckland but I’m pretty sure my friends wondered why I was taking them to a litter-filled industrial area. Much like Styaks Swamp, this is definitely one to just tick of the list. It’s not your Sunday afternoon picnic kinda deal.

It took me 5 seconds maximum to climb to the top of Ash Hill

It took me 5 seconds maximum to climb to the top of Ash Hill

View from the top :-)

View from the “top”

This shallow crater spent only a few decades as a recognised and recognisable volcano before it was flattened by industrialisation. It is thought that the site has no Maori name and was first called Ash Hill after the nearby Ash Road but, get this, the road wasn’t named for volcanic ash but originally for a row of ash trees growing there!

Slight grassy slope of

Slight grassy slope of Ash “Hill”

Truck park from the (top) of Ash Hill

Truck park from the “top” of Ash Hill

Signs of an explosive past are all around us -we just have to notice them. These volcanic rocks are on Ash Road

Signs of an explosive past are all around us -we just have to notice them. These volcanic rocks are on Ash Road itself

54. Boggust Park

Boggust park

Boggust Park (thanks Google)

I got so lost just trying to find this one (had to pull over about 5 times to check the map) but once I arrived I found everything all laid out in front of me. Like Cemetery Crater and the Puhinui Craters, Boggust Park doesn’t appear in Hayward’s Auckland Volcanoes -The Essential Guide as it was only recognised as a volcano in 2011 the exact same year the book went to print and a mere one year after I originally devised a vague plan to explore all the volcanoes in Auckland.

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My starting point

I parked right by this blockade on Otago Place and set out for the crest. It didn’t look very high at all from back here.

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A gentle rise -only 8 metres at the highest point

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Looking south-west, taking in the lay of the land

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Basic playground on the north side of the crest

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What’s that? An old tree stump?

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The only bird life of note, not that it is or was ever alive

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Pretty flash signage for a not very flash park

Down the hill I came and only then did I see this fancy sign. I’m glad I didn’t see it first or I would’ve been expecting to see some real proper birds (but what bird has that silhouette anyway? A quail?)

I would say there are no toilets here but now I can see a blue cubicle in the distance -it may not be a permanent fixture though.

47. Crater Hill

Pukaki "Lagoon" (left), Kohuora Park (upper right) and Cemetery Crater (obliterated, but lower right)

Crater Hill (centre), Pukaki “Lagoon” (left), Kohuora Park (upper right) and Cemetery Crater (obliterated, but lower right)

Crater Hill is one out of the box. Thousands of people pass it each day on the Southern motorway but how many know of it’s existence? The name Crater Hill may not be thaaaat original (that’s like calling a volcano Ash Hill) but it adequately describes what it is: A crater inside a hill.

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(Excuse my non-existent panorama skills)

We called this our “Middle Earth” for it’s awesome, untouched, other-worldly quality. It sure was a sight to behold and we felt privileged to see it. Part of it is still a working quarry 😦 so the gate was wide open, not that we took that route.We took only photos and left only footprints, so no harm done.

North slope of Crater Hill seen from Tidal Road

North slope of Crater Hill seen from Tidal Road

We’d just been to Pukaki Lagoon and were finding our way through the back blocks of Papatoetoe when we caught sight of our next destination and I just had to pull over and snap a picture.

 

The dumping tree

The dumping tree

We found the end of Portage road, yes, that busy link road with all the businesses, yeah, it ends here. Maybe someone lives here or maybe it’s just a convenient place to dump stuff? It is pretty shady though and we ourselves loitered in the shade before tackling the hill, which is more of a gentle slope really.

The ascent started from under the dumping tree

The ascent started from under the dumping tree

Trig and water tower

Trig and water? tower

Conquered! We made it :-)

Conquered! We made it 🙂

Okay, okay, enough of the sight-seeing, lets talk about the actual volcano. For starters, that Island in the middle of the lake is actually a heap of basalt boulders, not dumped there by humans but the remnants of a crust that solidified then crumpled in on itself when the underlying lava drained away. There was a cone of scoria built up on the Eastern edge but this has long since been flattened by quarrying. Size wise, it’s pretty impressive, the tuff ring measuring about 800 metres in diameter.

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There's a cave somewhere in there

Caves, maybe?

There are supposedly a couple of caves in the basalt on the south side of the lake. Selfs lava cave named for a prominent family in the area after which, I presume, nearby Selfs Road is also named. And Underground Press lava cave which you can read about on the radionz website. As the NZ Herald reported on 5 September 1940 “The chance adventures of three boys led to the discovery of a duplicating plant and communistic literature in a deep cave on a farm about three miles from the Papatoetoe township.” Yes, the Communist Party of New Zealand had been forced to take their People’s Voice publication, quite literally, underground.

Aeroplanes: a typical sight from the many South Auckland volcanoes.

Aeroplanes: a typical sight from the many South Auckland volcanoes.