Rangitoto Island – Te Rangi-i-totongia-a-Tama-te-kapua
Rangitoto Island’s impressive symmetrical cone, sitting just off the coast, makes it one of our most distinctive natural landmarks, a constant inspiration to photographers and artists. And the views from the summit of this island volcano are something else.
Just a 25-minute ferry ride from the city centre, you can discover Rangitoto on foot or, for the more adventurous, even kayak across to the island. Walk or take the 4WD road train tour to the top, travelling through lava crops and New Zealand’s largest pohutukawa forest. Take the final steps to the island’s 260 metre high summit and take in the spectacular views that stretch into the distance in every direction. From this height you’ll see across to the peaks of the Hunua Ranges in the east, the Waitakere Ranges in the west, back to the city and out into the Hauraki Gulf.
Mount Eden – Maungawhau
At 196 metres high, Mount Eden – Maungawhau is the highest of our mainland volcanoes. Cycle or climb up to the summit for a sweeping outlook over the city and the Waitemata Harbour beyond.
Formed some 20,000 to 30,000 years ago, Mount Eden features three main craters in a row, creating an oval shape covered in green parkland. Get a glimpse into former Māori settlement with old occupation terraces, storage pits and housing sites.
The Ngati Whatua tribe is the guardian of the mountain and you can join a guided walk – Tāmaki Hikoi – of the mountain and its surrounds, led by a tribe member who will unlock the mountain’s rich history.
Please note: vehicles, including motorbikes and scooters, are no longer able to drive to the top of Mount Eden. This change was made to reduce congestion on the summit and to respect the spiritual and cultural significance of the summit to mana whenua, the original Māori inhabitants of Auckland.
One Tree Hill – Maungakiekie
One Tree Hill – Maungakiekie is one of our largest and most culturally significant volcanoes. Walk to the highest point and see the monument topping the summit and the grave of Sir John Logan Campbell, the 'founding father' of Auckland City.
With more than 170 constructed terraces based around three Māori Pa (fortifications), One Tree Hill is one of the largest former Māori settlement complexes in New Zealand, and has even been claimed to be the largest pre-historic earth fort in the world.
The volcano sits in One Tree Hill Domain, right next to the beautiful grassy parkland and gardens of Cornwall Park, so bring a picnic if it’s warm.
Mount Victoria – Takarunga and North Head – Maungauika
These two volcanic cones sit side by side in the scenic suburb of Devonport, surrounded by sea views. Walk to Mount Victoria’s summit and you’ll be rewarded with vistas across the North Shore, the Hauraki Gulf and back to the city.
After a wander at ‘Mount Vic’, spend an hour or two at neighbouring North Head. Jutting out into the harbour these are some of the best views in Auckland. Formed over 50,000 years ago, North Head is one of the region’s oldest volcanic cones. It’s also one of the most significant historical coastal defence sites in New Zealand. Check out the old gun emplacements and underground maze of connecting tunnels (bring a torch).
Walk up and around the volcano at your own pace, or cruise to the top on a personal segway tour for something a bit different.
Auckland’s best-preserved volcanic cone, Mangere Mountain sits 106 metres above sea level, looking out across the Manukau Harbour. Head up the trail and explore the remains of former Māori settlements, where low stone walls radiate out from the base of the mountain.
If you’re keen to learn more about the history of what you’ll discover on the trail, pop into the Mangere Mountain Education Centre at the base of the mountain first.
Auckland Domain – Pukekawa
Erupting over 100,000 years ago, Pukekawa is one of Auckland’s oldest volcanoes – and one of the most popular.
Auckland Domain is more than a volcano, it’s also Auckland’s oldest park and home to the Auckland Museum, a spectacular building sitting prominently on the crater rim with (you guessed it) great views. In the museum foyer, you can also get information on a self-guided walking tour that takes in the Domain’s feature sculptures, created by New Zealand artists.
The lush green grounds and century-old trees make for a photogenic scene – it’s common to see newlyweds having photos taken here on their big day – as well as providing countless shady picnic spots. And there’s plenty of room to kick a ball around with the family on a sunny Sunday.