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Climb Auckland’s Volcanoes: A Unique Urban Adventure

Need a new challenge or want a unique way to explore Auckland? Climb all of Auckland’s volcanoes, our maunga, to truly be an explorer of Tāmaki Makaurau.

Our volcanoes – maunga – are one of the things that make our landscape so unique; they also hold huge historical, spiritual, and cultural significance to Auckland Māori.

For over 100,000 years, Auckland’s volcanoes have been breaking open all over Tāmaki Makaurau. The familiar harbors surrounding Auckland were once the “Manukau” and “Waitematā” Rivers. Several of the volcanoes, which are now harbor inlets (Orakei Basin, Panmure Basin) or islands (Puketutu), actually erupted onto dry land.

The beautiful parks, reserves, and open spaces in just about every suburb of Auckland are a vivid legacy of Auckland’s fiery and explosive past.

Thousands of years ago, a turbulent Auckland Volcanic Field threw up at least 50 cones of varying shapes and sizes, leaving a landscape of hills, valleys, and basins. Today, as we walk, drive, and cycle around our city, the landscape is a constant reminder of that ancient violent activity.

Pre-European Māori inhabitants of the isthmus saw Auckland’s cones as a wonderful natural asset. They provided defensive positions and refuge in times of danger, and the rich soil was ideal for cultivation. Estimates indicate Auckland supported several thousand residents, living on and around all the hill pā on the isthmus, with kumara plantations covering nearby fertile land.

Later, Pākehā settlers also saw the value of the volcanoes, quarrying the scoria cones and lava flows for materials for buildings and civic structures like roads, walls, private and public buildings, and kerbstones – still a familiar feature of Auckland streets. While some of the volcanoes have been irreparably damaged or even erased completely, most of those remaining are now preserved, and today Aucklanders enjoy easy access to the reserves, parks, and walks on these maunga.

As they are important sites of historical, cultural, and archaeological significance, visitors should be careful to keep to formed paths and tracks, and to avoid walking on or through sensitive features like the slopes, craters, and obvious features, such as historic pits.

Below is a list of Auckland’s volcanoes. Many can be driven to, some involve a short walk, and at least two need to be kayaked to. Auckland Sea Kayaks can help with access and offer guided tours including:

  • Day Trip to Rangitoto Island
  • Sunset Sea Kayak to Rangitoto Island
  • Day Trip  to Motukorea, Brown’s Island
  • Twilight Tour to Motukorea, Brown’s Island

Auckland Volcanoes: Locations and Heights

Volcano Age (thousand years) Height Location (Coordinates)
Albert Park Volcano 145 Unclear 36.8507°S 174.7675°E
Ash Hill 30.5 30 metres (98 ft) 37.002754°S 174.867545°E
Boggust Park Crater 130 5 metres (16 ft) 36.955413°S 174.813552°E
Cemetery Crater Unknown 33 metres (108 ft) 36.989828°S 174.841082°E
Crater Hill 30.5 36.986546°S 174.827135°E
Grafton Volcano 100 36.858440°S 174.763624°E
Hampton Park Unknown 35 metres (115 ft) 36.950925°S 174.89544°E
Kohuora 30.5 36.97873°S 174.842691°E
Mangere Lagoon 50 36.95702°S 174.77763°E
Matanginui/Green Mount 20 78 metres (256 ft) 36.939911°S 174.898267°E
Matukutureia/McLaughlins Mountain 50 73 metres (240 ft) 37°00′49″S 174°50′46″E
Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill 60 182 metres (597 ft) 36°54′0″S 174°46′59″E
Maungarahiri/Little Rangitoto 24.5 75 metres (246 ft) 36.875407°S 174.809636°E
Maungarei/Mount Wellington 10 135 metres (443 ft) 36°53′35″S 174°50′47.6″E
Maungataketake/Elletts Mountain 90 76 metres (249 ft) 36.994635°S 174.747548°E
Maungauika/North Head 90 50 metres (160 ft) 36.827751°S 174.81205°E
Maungawhau/Mount Eden 28 196 metres (643 ft) 36.877°S 174.764°E
Motukorea/Browns Island 24 68 metres (223 ft) 36.8306°S 174.8948°E
Mount Robertson/Sturges Park 24 78 metres (256 ft) 36.948477°S 174.841726°E
Ōhinerau / Mount Hobson 34 143 metres (469 ft) 36.877814°S 174.786156°E
Ohuiarangi/Pigeon Mountain 24.5 55 metres (180 ft) 36.888846°S 174.903116°E
Orakei Basin 120 Sea level 36.867124°S 174.81308°E
Otahuhu/Mount Richmond 30 50 metres (160 ft) 36°55′57″S 174°50′22″E
Ōtuataua 15 64 metres (210 ft) 36°59′10″S 174°45′15″E
Ōwairaka / Mount Albert 120 135 metres (443 ft) 36.890475°S 174.720097°E
Puhinui Craters 50 22 metres (72 ft) 37°00′53″S 174°49′59″E
Pukaki Lagoon 65 Sea Level 36.982998°S 174.810226°E
Pukeiti 15 30 metres (98 ft) 36.983756°S 174.757183°E
Pukekawa/Auckland Domain 100 36.859158°S 174.775808°E
Puketāpapa / Mount Roskill 105 110 metres (360 ft) 36°55′S 174°44′E
Pukewairiki 130+ 30 metres (98 ft) 36.944078°S 174.865887°E
Pupuke 190 −57 metres (−187 ft) 36.780115°S 174.766184°E
Rangitoto Island 0.6 260 metres (850 ft) 36.786742°S 174.860115°E
Rarotonga / Mount Smart 20 87 metres (285 ft) 36°55′6″S 174°48′45″E
Styaks Swamp 20 36.936138°S 174.900155°E
Takaroro / Mount Cambria 40 30 metres (98 ft) 36.824444°S 174.801933°E
Takarunga / Mount Victoria 35 87 metres (285 ft) 36.8266°S 174.7990°E
Taurere / Taylors Hill 30 56 metres (184 ft) 36.864223°S 174.869943°E
Te Apunga-o-Tainui / McLennan Hills 41 45 metres (148 ft) 36.929208°S 174.846468°E
Te Hopua-a-Rangi / Gloucester Park 20+ Sea level (reclaimed) 36.9295°S 174.784734°E
Te Kopua Kai-a-Hiku / Panmure Basin 25 Sea level 36.90495°S

Embark on an unforgettable adventure by climbing Auckland’s volcanoes, immersing yourself in the rich history and stunning landscapes of Tamaki Makaurau. Whether you hike, drive, or kayak, exploring these maunga offers a unique way to experience the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Auckland.

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Ain't no office better than the Hauraki Gulf 💯☀️
Dinner al fresco. Do the guides deserve a Michelin star? @dukeofednz #dukeofedinburghaward
Team New Zealand @emiratesteamnz training on the Hauraki Gulf yesterday. They tried to keep up with our kayaks but I think they had the wrong foils on 😂
Beautiful jellyfish found on the shoreline at Motukorea. Any marine biologists out there have some intel on this cool creature? @emr_nz
There are still some kayak spots available for the Upper Waitemata Coastal Cleanup this Saturday. Join us to get on the water and help cleanup the coastline.
Motunau Bay, Ponui Island. Everyone enjoying an afternoon swim at high tide on the Autumn Equinox, Wed, 20 Mar 2024.
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