New Zealand: Auckland Volcano Walk
Zeal is a volcano, the peak of which the grass of indecisiveness does not grow. — Khalil Gibran
Auckland is known to many as the City of Sails. I, however, would like to think that it should also be given the moniker “City of Volcanoes”. With more or less 30 volcanoes within the city, Auckland can be best marveled atop one of these volcanoes by sauntering your way to their craters and summits. I am fortunate to have had an enjoyable, leisure walk to four of them. And as expected, the view above is spectacular and beyond amazing!
Walking around the vast volcanoes of Auckland is a way of gaining an understanding of the city’s opulent geology. It was a cloudy (and the bit of a rain) kind of day when I did this volcano walking tour, but the experience didn’t disappoint at all. The 4 volcanoes I got to visit included Mount Wellington, Mangere Mountain (my personal favorite), Maungakiekie and Mount Eden. All four offered a panoramic view of Auckland, the city harbor and the neighboring islands. Along the way to each of these mountain’s peaks, various native animals and plants shouldn’t be missed.
Mt Wellington: Located 10 km southeast of the Auckland city center, it was named after the Duke of Wellington. Its Maori name is Maungarei. This 135 meters volcano is said to be the youngest of Auckland’s volcanic peaks having last erupted just over 10,000 years ago. It has a lovely deep crater featuring some volcanic rocks and flowers.
Mount Eden: Perhaps one of the most popular volcanoes in Auckland, is also called Maungawhau. It stands at 196 meters high and is regarded as the highest of the Auckland volcanoes. A lot of tourists/ foreign and local visitors alike, come to Mount Eden. It offers a spectacular viewpoint of the city and the Waitemata Harbour beyond. It is a lively, trendy area with a charming blend of culture and nature.
One Tree Hill: Also called Maungakiekie in Maori, is one of Auckland’s culturally significant volcanoes. The peak features a monument, and the grave of Sir John Logan Campbell, the ‘founding father’ of Auckland City. It is also Auckland’s largest and intact volcanic cone, 183 meters high with 3 craters. It was once the center of the Maori occupation and is claimed to be the prime pre-historic earth fort in the world. The grassy slopes and gardens of the domain are also home to sheep and cattle that still graze on the land. (Too bad cherry blossoms are no longer in bloom when I visited).
Mangere Mountain: From among the 4 volcanoes, this 106 meter above sea level beauty is my favorite. Considered to be Auckland’s best-preserved volcanic cone, Mangere Mountain boasts remarkable views across the Manukau Harbour. Besides Maungakiekie, it was also a former Māori settlement area. It is said that a big percentage of its lava output has been quarried away. The trail up to the peak is dotted with some picturesque trees and some cows grazing. Just lovely! It basically sums up the New Zealand view I have always pictured in my head.
Volcanoes seem to have helped furnace the Earth – from the land to the oceans and the atmosphere. Having an understanding of these amazing land features would make us appreciate the framework of life.
Don’t be a wasted soul, be ‘Juan”derlust. Take it easy ebriwan.