Tag Archives: View From The Summit

Clevedon Reserve – Stairway to Heaven

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.

Be aware that this walk is uphill to the lookout and then downhill back to the start – there is very little flat and hundreds of stairs – the new wooden stairs on the northern section of the track are exceptionally well made and well spaced, making it a more comfortable climb. We completed the walk anti-clockwise, suggested to us by our local guide – very good advice.

Take some time to view some of the tree specimens. Our friend and guide took the time to point out some of his special trees – there really are some unique and fascinating specimens.

Walk Time60 – 75 mins
SurfaceWooden Stairs, gravel, dirt
Difficulty 3 – steep and stairs requires reasonable fitness and stability
Buggies/WheelchairsNot suitable except for the short walk to the quarry
Dog FriendlyYes – welcome on leash
FacilitiesToilets, Picnic tables, Parking, Kauri dieback cleaning station, confidence course, Burma trail,
HighlightsHuge native trees, views, birdlife, quarry environment

Click to open Google Map is a separate tab or tap on the icon in the top right of this map.

Clevedon Reserve Loop Walkway

A fantastic walk and one for the whole family. The native bush is fantastic and quite unique with large kauri being the highlight. This bush also benefits from relatively spaced undergrowth (for NZ bush), enabling you to enjoy the uniqueness of each large specimen.

Drive through Clevedon and turn left into Thorpes Quarry Rd and drive to the end, where you will find the carpark. Next to the carpark is the local scout hall, toilets and confidence course. Head beyond the scout hall and to the bridge that takes you across the Tataia Stream, a pretty waterway that joins into the Wairoa River before heading all the way to the sea between Duder and Waitawa Parks. Presently there is Kauri Dieback cleaning stations to disinfect your shoes.

Once across the bridge, continue on the track straight ahead to complete the loop walk in an anti-clockwise direction. This enables you to enjoy the new stairs on the way up the hill and take in the more original track on the downhill return. The stairs are very impressive, built to keep foot traffic off the path to protect the kauri and other large trees. You will climb 30 – 40 minutes up and up until you reach the lookout at the top of the hill. From here, enjoy the 360 degree views that take in the Clevedon Plains, Hunua Ranges, Hauraki Gulf, Waitakere Rangers and Auckland City.

We completed the return journey by continuing on the loop, offering more magnificent bush and trees on your descent. You’ll notice a couple of large kauri not far from the path, very impressive specimens.

Once at the base of the hill again, you will be at a junction – it is worth turning left and taking the short walk (5 minutes) to the quarry. This is amazingly beautiful and has picnic tables for your enjoyment.

This is a really enjoyable walk that should be added to your list of walks to do that are unique and a little ‘out-of-the-way’. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Buggies and Wheelchairs

This walk is not suitable for buggies or wheelchairs with the majority of this track being stairs or relatively steep terrain.

Buggies and Wheelchairs could be used for the short walk to the quarry.

Stairway to Heaven Elevation Chart

Clevedon Reserve Elevation 2
Clevedon Reserve Elevation

Useful Links

Clevedon Scenic Reserve Information

Pigeon Mountain Volcanic Cone

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.

Pigeon Mountain Ōhuiarangi
Pigeon Mountain Ōhuiarangi fields and view towards the summit

Ōhuiarangi contains sports fields, a Scout Hall, Kindergarten and plenty of opportunities to climb and explore. The northern side was quarried from 1847 by the early Fencibles Settlers and this increased through the 1950’s-1970’s. Today, the northern part of Pigeon Mountain is no more and there are protective fences to stop visitors from falling up to 30m. The southern side of the mountain contains grassy slopes and sports fields.

The detour to the Wetlands across Pigeon Mountain Rd is a pleasant boardwalk through growing native bush.

Walk Time45 – 90 minutes
SurfaceGrass tracks and some rocks near quarry
Difficulty2
Buggies/WheelchairsOffroad buggies could be pushed up the grass slopes if fit & strong. Wetlands Section is wheel friendly.
FacilitiesToilets, Carparking
HighlightsViews of Auckland City and Hauraki Gulf

Click to open the Google Map is a separate tab or tap on the icon in the top right of the map.

Short Walks In Auckland alternative Pigeon Mountain Walk here.

Pigeon Mountain and Wetland Walk Descriptions

The walk to the summit can be commenced via Gills Rd or from the carpark on Pigeon Mountain Rd. If commencing from the carpark head to the south and start your climb up through the remains of the quarrying. There are a lot of interesting rock formations and outcrops that make it an interesting place to explore. Be aware that much of this terrain is very uneven. After climbing up the edge of the old quarry, you intersect with a track that will take you to the summit.

Left over from the quarry
Interesting rock outcrops remaining from the quarrying

If you choose to walk from Gills Rd, just head your way across the sports field and towards the summit. There are a few grass tracks that eventually lead towards some stairs that take you to the top!

Once at the summit, you’ll enjoy some great views back over Auckland City and towards Browns Island and Rangitoto Island. On your decent, try going down the way you did not come up so you appreciate both sides of the mountain.

The view of Rangitoto from the summit
The view of Rangitoto from the summit

A couple of other interesting facts:

  • Pigeon Mountain was a Maori Pa and so you will see historic terraces on the mountain.
  • A group of Pakuranga College students found some artefacts and skulls in the 1960’s

Buggies/Wheelchairs

This walk is not suitable for buggies or wheelchairs unless off-road capable. They can be used to access the summit from Gills Rd side but there is no way you can take a buggy up the northern track.

Dog Friendly

The Pigeon Mountain Walkway allows dogs on a leash.

Pigeon Mountain Volcano Additional Information

Further history of Pigeon Mountain

Council Upgrade of Pigeon Mountain

Mangere Mountain: historic & spectacular

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. 
Landscape view of Auckland from Mangere Mountain
Views of Auckland from Mangere Mountain
Walk Time60 – 90 mins – 2.92km (yellow)
SurfaceGravel or Grass Tracks
Difficulty3/5 – some steep sections
Buggies/Wheelchairs3/5 – the summit track is hilly but gradual if
sticking to the main route and only completing
the out & back walkway. The walkway to the
Mangere Education Centre includes a lot of stairs.
FacilitiesToilets, Seats, Football Fields, Playground,
Skatepark
HighlightsCity Views, Harbour Views, Craters,
Maori History

Click here to open the Google Map in a separate tab or tap the icon in the top right of this map.

Download a pdf version of the Mangere Mountain Printable Map

Mangere Mountain Tracks Description

Mangere Mountain ranks as one of the most amazing places to explore in Auckland.  It is full of surprises – three craters, fantastic 360-degree views, football & softball fields, playground and plenty of historic  Maori heritage.  Allow an hour or two to explore this volcanic mountain, plus additional time for the Mangere Education Centre if you are able.

Mangere Mountain Trig
Mangere Mountain Peaks

We commenced our walk at the carpark near the soccer clubrooms and headed through the nearby gate.   Our route takes us anti-clockwise on the eastern edge of the main crater and towards the playground.  We then join the trail towards the Mangere Education Centre – well worth the walk.  You will experience aspects of Maori history and heritage along this walkway.

Maori Terracing and Palisades

Now its time to climb!  If you have good fitness and are up for narrower and bumpy terrain continue on our recommended route by following the yellow trail on the Google Map.  If you have a buggie or want something a bit less challenging, head clockwise up the main trail to the summit.

Mangere Mountain grass track to summit
Mangere Mountain Track to Knoll

Our route passes adjacent to the second crater (the 3rd crater was quarried and is where the Soccer Fields and Education Centre are now situated).  The views South and East and to the North as you climb will have you clicking your cameras.  Continue upwards towards the upper rim of the main crater – the track is a little narrow and steep in places and can be a bit slippery in the wet – but worth the walk.  Take in the sights at first high knoll plus the Trig for stunning views of Auckland.

As you venture around the rim you will pass numerous large kumera pits and other significant Maori heritage.    It is worth following our recommended high route instead of the wider track back to the carpark.

To extend your walk you can also consider returning via the lower track that circumnavigates the mountain.  It is a narrow but pleasant track through the grass but contains few noticeable special features that demand your attention. 

Buggies and Wheelchairs

The Mangere Mountain Domain contains some wide unsealed tracks that are suitable for ‘off-road’ buggies.  These include the initial part of the Mangere Education Trail and the Trig Track walking in the clockwise direction.

Wheelchairs and standard strollers would be a challenge but with a strong person pushing might be okay.

Mangere Mountain Domain Elevation
Mangere Mountain Domain Walkways Elevation

Other useful Links:

Mangere Mountain Education Centre

Geological Information

Auckland Council Mangere Mountain Restoration Article

Mangere Bridge Website with current local news

Rangitoto island

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 Time1.5 – 2 hours return to summit, plus side walks.
1/2 day to full day to circumnavigate the island.
SurfaceFormed track – lots of loose, fine scoria
Difficulty3/5
Buggies/Wheelchairs0/5 – most tracks not suitable. Vehicle Road is ok.
FacilitiesToilets
HighlightsViews, 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.

Fullers Ferry takes you to Rangitoto Island
Fullers Ferry takes you to Rangitoto Island (photo from HERA)

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 scroria rock is all around and the many shapes of hard set lava are spectacular and at times dangerous looking! These days the bush has grown a lot on Rangitoto Island, making it a more pleasant and quite stunning
walk, even on hot days.

Walking through native bush on  Rangitoto Island
Walking through native bush on Rangitoto Island

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. 

Rangitoto Island Elevation to the summit and the Lava Caves (far right point)
Elevation for the around the Island Track, finishing prior to returning to the wharf

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.

Walks in Auckland – One Tree Hill

Walks in Auckland


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.

12 Volcano Walks

Suggested Cafés:
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.

Walks in Auckland – Mt Eden/Maungawhau

Mt Eden/Maungawhau is one of the many volcano walks in Auckland, and one of the most popular places to visit.

Mt Eden boasts spectacular views of the city centre and surrounding region. Most people take a coach to the summit, hop out, take photos and then get back on the coach again.

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.

Auckland City provide a Mt Eden Heritage brochure for people who enjoy history.  More info online here.

Find this walk and other walks in Central Auckland here.