Auckland sits on top of a large volcanic field that has produced some 53 volcanic scoria cones in the last 140 thousand years. From wherever you are, a volcanic slope is never far from view. Three of the more prominent examples include Mount Eden, One Tree Hill and Rangitoto; all offer a range of walks and like many of Auckland’s cones offer stunning city and harbour views.
The youngest – the bush-clad Rangitoto Island, a dormant marine volcano whose blue-green hulk dominates the downtown waterfront view – last erupted only six centuries ago, burying a Maori settlement on the adjoining Motutapu Island. Rangitoto Island is well worth a visit and can be easily reached by ferry. Highlights include a summit walk through New Zealand’s largest pohutukawa forest and a series of lava caves – be sure to take a torch to explore.
Three kilometres south of the CBD is the 196 metre high extinct volcanic cone of Mt Eden, which again offers splendid views. Nestled in an old lava pit on its eastern side is Eden Garden with its extensive array of camellia blooms.
Meanwhile the landmark cone of One Tree Hill at the centre of the 334 acre Cornwall Park has an obelisk at the top in memory of Sir John Logan Campbell, one of city’s most prominent businessmen who donated the park to Auckland. It is also the site of Acacia Cottage, Auckland’s oldest standing building, built in 1841.
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