Visited on 14 & 15 February 2015 because once around this crater was not enough (actually, I’d forgotten to charge my camera battery)
This was my Volcanic Valentine 🙂 and a special one it was too. It was quite the happening spot on Valentine’s afternoon. Couples strolling and picncing everywhere.
Stonefields Archaeological Reserve is just left of centre and Kartsport Mt Wellington in upper right (Thanks Google Maps)
Mt Wellington was quite the spewer, it’s lava basically filling the valley of the present day Ellerslie-Panmure Highway. It stretches from a little tongue in Glen Innes across to the Great South Road at Penrose, turns Southish and reaches slightly into the Manukau Harbour.
Approaching Mt Wellington from the aptly named Mountain Road. These pine trees were planted after 1967 when quarrying of the Southern slope was stopped.
Maungarei, Maori for ‘the watchful mountain’ is co-named in English as Mt Wellington after the Duke of Wellington.
Entering the domain. Almost past the point of no return. One-way traffic only -Phew!! As it gets pretty narrow in places.
Both times I drove to the car park, found a shady tree to lunch under then ascended the stairs behind the car park.
Finally got my hands on some liquid gold and what better place to taste for myself what all the LRC chocolate milk hype is about? In the background: Purchas Hill and the new Stonefields subdivision created in the hole left by what was Auckland’s biggest quarry.
Upon cresting the hill the relative peace was broken by the zooming of go carts from nearby Kartsport Mt Wellington driving home the point that we are in NZ’s largest City and not some isolated little spot in the country. From the crater rim I could also see aeroplanes regularly taking off and typically heavy Auckland traffic rumbling through well worn arteries.
Male yellowhammer hopping along the crater rim track
Maungarei is pretty barren in terms of tree coverage so I didn’t expect to see any birds of note but I did manage to spy a yellowhammer and further on a hawk circling in the air currents rising from the crater.
Looking to the North-West across the crater from the South-East
Panmure Basin as viewed from the Southern side of Maungarei’s cone. I thought this would be my next volcano to visit but ended up going to Purchas Hill first.
Once you reach the top of the stairs it’s a fairly leisurely stroll mostly downhill back to the car park. The South side of the crater is the highest point so naturally there’s a trig point and there’s also a significant landmark location guide which is worth stopping at if you’d like to get your bearings.
The reservoir (flat rectangle) installed in the Northern crater
Looking to the South-East. Note the same tree as in picture #6 of this post
Looking West from the lowest point on the crater rim it’s juxtaposition central! Industrial, grasslands, rock face, wetlands, residential, volcano slope and Stonefields Archaeological Reserve (the raised, brown, triangular patch on the left) all mashed together.
A mysterious hole
Cow-pat bombs fused together
Is it just me or does this ash layer look like the Puma logo?
The rabbit track I followed down from the “gorilla head” viewed from the reservoir
The crater floor as viewed from the reservoir
Starling on a row of basalt boulders on the drive out of the domain
Maungarei viewed from College Road/Purchas Hill
I recommend this walk for… well, I just recommend this. It’s a surprisingly stunning walk and pretty easy-going. I feel my photos don’t really do it justice so I encourage you to put this one on your list and go experience it for yourself! Pack a cool drink though as I found it rather scorching even on an overcast day.