dubbed as auckland central’s highest natural point, mount eden, also known as maungawhau in maori, is the highest volacano in the city standing at 196 meters high. and that’s like, you know, very high.
apparently, it’s not high enough for the physically fit joggers with tracksuits sticking to their well-formed muscles like second skin. watching their lithe, active bodies move in harmony with the glass blades swaying back and forth made me so envious i couldn’t help but ask, “aren’t these guys cold?!”
because to be honest, i almost froze to death there. four layers of clothing (with a super thick coat at that) and my body was still on fucking vibrate mode. it was quite windy there at the top. and it didn’t help that it was in the middle of new zealand winter.
but for what the near-hypothermia was worth, this was the view i saw up there:
a huge bowl of grass-covered earth that is the extinct volcano’s crater.
the crater is 50 meters deep. according to this website, the slopes of maungawhau were once densely populated by māori and the crater is known as the food bowl of Matāoho.
however, no one is allowed to enter the crater now. aside from the fact that the site is considered sacred, the volcano is made up of fragile materials that easily get eroded so the government is not taking any chances. it is a popular tourist destination, after all. and you know how crazy some tourists can get. the last thing the government needs are tourists rolling and racing each other down the lush crater with its inviting bed of green green grass. not that i even remotely thought of rolling down there but like i said, some people have all these incredibly insane ideas!
now, allow me to indulge the geek within:
according to my extensive research (which goes no further than wikipedia’s page), mount eden is a scoria cone, or cinder cone, volcano. having zero background in volcanology, it was understandable that i did not understand what scoria cone meant so i googled the word yet again (this is where the “extensive” of my extensive research comes into play) and stumbled upon several reliable websites explaining what scoria cones are and how they came about.
if i understood what i read correctly, basically what they’re trying to say is that scoria cones are formed when volcanoes erupt spewing forth loose volcanic debris all around its perimeter which then hardens and forms into mini mountains or cones. something to that effect. so that crater you see right there was where all the lava came from when it last erupted 15,000 years ago.
unless you simply adore looking at craters to a point of obsession, frankly speaking, there’s really nothing much to see up there. although you also have a 360-degree view of the city where you can see the buildings and roads and stuff. and if that’s your thing too, then good for you. you now have two reasons to go up there and enjoy the view.
hopefully, it wouldn’t be as cold as when i was there and you wouldn’t see the city view as a prolongation of your agony for the sake of taking pictures. like i did.