It's as if it calls out to me. Whenever the new year comes around, I feel compelled to visit Rangitoto, a volcanic island that sits in the Hauraki gulf.
As far as Auckland tourist destinations go, it doesn't get more exotic than this. Rangitoto has an intense terrain of loose scoria.
The volcano itself is six hundred years old but there still isn't much vegetation growing on it. Even birds don't yet feel at home here; when I stop to rest and close my eyes, I don't hear any birdsong.
So I think I go there while the year is still new because the terrain itself is like a carte blanche of sorts.
One of the joys of hiking in New Zealand is seeing the lichens that hang off the trees and carpet the ground, making the forest all velvety and mint-green.
At the summit, a sense of exhaustion and accomplishment.
And if it's a rainy day, one gets a marvelous view of the clouds.
After climbing this volcano a few times, the view doesn't really matter anymore. What I enjoy these days is feeling myself move in the world, a tiny speck of energy crawling over this side of the planet - moving while the planet itself whirrs, and while the ground beneath roils around like an insomniac.