The walk to the Clevedon Reserve lookout, known as the Stairway to Heaven, was suggested to us by some of my wife’s work colleagues and what a great surprise. Large kauri, Kahikatea, Puriri and Puka trees grace the slopes and make for an impressive bush canopy. Plenty of birdlife is enjoyed, as is the view across the Auckland City in the distance and the Hunua Ranges to the East. Adding to the value of this amazing walk is exploring the quaint Clevedon Village.Continue reading Clevedon Reserve – Stairway to Heaven
One of Auckland’s less known and visited volcanic cones, Pigeon Mountain (Ōhuiarangi) is worth exploring. This is Auckland’s easternmost volcanic cone and offers fantastic views of the Hauraki Gulf and back across Auckland City. It provides a very unique perspective of Auckland’s geography and at only 55m in height is not a daunting climb.Continue reading Pigeon Mountain Volcanic Cone
Mangere Mountain and Domain are one of Aucklands true gems to explore. It is full of spectalular views of Aucklands Harbours and City, as well as many geological and history highlights. Our recommended route requires a good level of fitness as the loop encounters a range of steep slopes and uneven terrain. There is a good pathway to the summit on a braod track suitable for buggies if you walk the route clockwise, however this is only out & back and misses many interesting features of this mountain.
One of Auckland’s iconic landmarks, Rangitoto Island is an amazing day out. Arrive by ferry or private boat and explore, The 360-degree views of Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf from the summit are spectacular. There are plenty of other walking tracks if you are keen to explore further and short lava caves that are worth investigating.
|Walk Time||1.5 – 2 hours return to |
1/2 day to full day to circumnavigate the island.
|Surface||Formed track – lots of loose, fine scoria|
|Buggies/Wheelchairs||0/5 – most tracks not suitable. Vehicle Road is ok.|
|Highlights||Views, Lava Caves, Bush, Geology, Swimming|
Get there by Ferry, your own boat or kayak!
Catch a short ferry ride from the Auckland Downtown or Devonport Ferry Terminals. Click here to access Fullers Ferry information and purchase tickets.
What to see and do?
Rangitoto Island is one of Aucklands most famous volcanoes, seen from many parts of the Auckland Isthmus. Its impressive ’round’ shape and obvious volcanic look make it instantly recognisable.
Rangitoto feels like a volcanic island. The black, rough
walk, even on hot days.
Top suggestions to see:
- Spectacular views of Auckland City and the Hauraki Gulf from the summit
- Volcanic rock and formations
- NZ Native bush
- Lava caves – some which you can explore – they are only about 30-40m in length and marked on the map above
- Swim – there is a lot of rocky coastline but the water is beautiful in summer! You can take the trek to Islington Bay for a sandy beach but this is up to 2 hours! I will add this to the Google Map when I get the chance to GPS the other tracks.
- View the remaining historic and original waterfront cottages.
- Swimming – brave the rocky rugged coastline for a dip or swim at sandy MacKenzie Bay and Islington Bay.
You will want to allow at least half day for exploring this amazing and unique island and can easily take a full day to circumnavigate the island and take in the summit. Some of the bush is so beautiful and the views back towards Auckland give a unique and picturesque perspective.
Walking Difficulty and Suitability
Rangitoto is a steady walk and requires average fitness and steadiness on your feet. It is not suitable for wheelchairs or baby buggies, having stairs. Underfoot, the scoria can be slippery but fine if you stay aware.
Walking to the summit (260m) is uphill all the way. There are plenty of beautiful views you can take in to have a break if needed. It can also get hot – so have plenty of water, along with some snacks.
There is also plenty of options for easy walks if a person uses the Vehicle Track around the perimeter of the island. Once off the vehicle track, the routes are generally quite steep and unsteady.
Wheelchair and Buggie Suitability
Rangitoto is generally not suitable for wheelchairs and Buggies unless you stay on the Vehicle Track. This is a dirt road and gets reasonably close to the summit but a 20 – 30 min walk up stairs and steep hills will still be required to reach the summit.
One of my “most-walked” walks in Auckland is the loop of Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill. This volcano walk is right on my doorstep, I can walk there from my home.
Each season of the year can be enjoyed in this park – from the lambs and daffodils in the spring to the autumn colours in April through to pohutukawa flowers in December. Even when the leaves have dropped from the old oak trees in winter, the trees still look majestic.
Tree lovers may like to read this NZ Herald article: Growing our heritage
Watch video highlights: Walks in Auckland – Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill
The park has many things to enjoy. There are large areas of grass for picnics and ball games. There are the cattle and sheep and birds. There are native New Zealand trees such as the pohutukawa and the yellow flowers of the kowhai, and introduced species such as the oaks and eucalyptus trees. The information centre next to the Cornwall Park Restaurant provides leaflets on all the trees in the park plus information on other aspects.
One Tree Hill is a volcano and it has a fabulous view from the summit that takes in views of other Auckland volcanoes (Mt Eden, Mt Hobson, Mangere Mountain, Rangitoto Island, Mt Wellington, Mt Roskill) as well as views of both harbours – the Waitemata and the Manukau.
The park has picnic areas and barbecues, a bandstand and flower beds. And places where children enjoy riding bicycles and scooters. It includes a children’s playground as well as the Stardome Observatory Planetarium. It really is a great place to spend a day.
For visitors who have to choose between visiting One Tree Hill and Mt Eden – One Tree Hill is a larger area with more to see, sheep and cattle, a cafe plus a fine view from the summit. Whereas Mt Eden has a huge crater and a fabulous view of Auckland City.
If you like a bit of a laugh, in 2008 my son James created a 12 part video series titled ‘Steve McGill of One Tree Hill’ which you may enjoy watching. “Meet Steve, a farmhand on Auckland’s One Tree Hill who has many misadventures. He loves his job, his gumboots and his sheep.”
Description: A mix of mainly level paths, and a few steep paths. Suitable for users of all ages and abilities, suitable for normal footwear and for wheelchairs and pushchairs.
To see: City views, harbour views, trees, Volcano, farm animals, observatory. The Park is home to many birds ranging from Native Pigeon, Fantail to California Quail, White-faced Heron and Paradise Shelduck.
Time: approx. 60 minutes. (about 5.14kms).
Parking: Carpark, Manukau Road entrance.
1) Frolic Café, Manukau Road opposite the park entrance. We have had many coffees here – children friendly.
2) Cornwall Park restaurant and ice-cream kiosk
3) Various at Greenwoods Corner (Golf Road exit).
Stay on track…get your detailed guide and map brochures over at our Walks Store (AC-001 Cornwall Park) and our Book Store (Volcanoes). Or you can download it for free when you sign up in the box at the top right hand side of this page.
Today, Grace and I walked around and over the summit in the summer humidity.
There are some shady tracks that do give relief from the heat. These tracks can be slippery when wet so we advise suitable footwear. Mt Edens walking paths and tracks are not as developed as the ones in Cornwall Park. It feels like more of a country walk than a city walk. But it does allow us to do the Mt Eden ‘Round the Maunga walk’.
As I mentioned the views are spectacular. Which is the highlight of this walk, as well as of course, getting the outdoor exercise. This is an excellent workout walk for people who are watching their weight because of the steep inclines and steps.
For visitors who have to choose between visiting One Tree Hill and Mt Eden – One Tree Hill is a larger area with more to see, sheep and cattle, a cafe plus a fine view from the summit. Whereas Mt Eden has a huge crater and a fabulous view of Auckland City. There is a good choice of cafes in Mt Eden Village, a children’s playground and an off-leash dog area.
Find this walk and other walks in Central Auckland here.