Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rangitoto Island Fire Command Post, Auckland, New Zealand

In the last days of being on holiday in New Zealand I decided that we could knock over something I have always wanted to do. Get to the top of Rangitoto Island. The old Volcano in the Harbour has always fascinated me when ever I visit Auckland and it's mention in a book I read when I was around 12 or 13 years old probably contributed to my eagerness to set foot on it as well ('Under the Mountain' by Maurice Gee).
Turns out on the Island there is some World War II constructions.
Above is the Fire Command Post.
Sign said..."From here the Fire Commander could direct the gun crews on adjoining Motutapu, Waiheke Island, and Whangaparoa Peninsula.
Construction began in 1937 but the Command Post was not operational until late 1941. Building on this site was not easy. A Tramway 400m long had to be built to winch materials from the road up to the summit. The walls and roof were made of concrete 20cm thick to withstand attack. For camouflage, turf was laid on the roof. The isolation, transportation difficulties, lack of cable power and scarcity of water led to a decision to transfer the Fire Command Post back to North Head only a year after the summit facilities had been completed. The Command Post, excluding equipment in it, cost 37,529pounds, an enormous sum for those days."

2 pics below are the Wireless Room further around the Crater rim.
 Wireless room interior.
From the top the view is amazing. Here is the view looking back towards Auckland with North Head in the middle ground.
It's a great walk and well worth it. If you are not so keen on walking then a Tractor gives tourists a ride along a track that takes you probably 95% of the way up. On the shore of the Island you can see some Lava flows that have long since cooled but they still have that liquid oozing look about them in spots. A great day out and it includes a Ferry ride from Auckland City to get there.

Cheers. The Kiwi