10 Of The Best Volcanoes In Auckland To Climb

By Armelle Frimpong

10 Volcanoes To Climb This Weekend
10 Volcanoes To Climb This Weekend
If you’re anything like us, your resolution to get fit may seem like an uphill battle—literally. But here in the City of Sails, we’re lucky enough to be sitting on a whopping 53 volcanoes, and they all offer striking views of our wonderful city. 
While Auckland’s volcanoes may be considered dormant, you don’t have to be. With most Maunga now being closed to cars, it's even more rewarding to visit these sacred places around Tāmaki Makaurau. So to add a little spark to your world we’ve rounded up our top ten picks of the best volcanoes in Auckland to challenge your fitness goals. Remember that once you get to the peak it’s all downhill from there.

1. Maungawhau | Mount Eden

A view from the top of Maungawhau mount Eden.Get your glow on and get up Maungawhau. At 196m it is the highest of Auckland’s volcanoes, but don’t let that put you off because it has arguably the best inner-city views so let this be your motivation to push you through the long, sweaty ascent. Once you get to the top, survey New Zealand's biggest city from the new boardwalk around the crater complete with a viewing platform. While there's still a little tidying to finish, you can now walk around the entirety of the rim on its brand-new boardwalks complete with plenty of places to stop and take in views from all angles. Tip: If you want to look like a local then activewear is the only acceptable attire. 

2. Rangitoto

People stand at the summit of Rangitoto.To get the paramount panoramic views of our beloved city, New Zealand's youngest volcano Rangitoto is an absolute must-do. Walk the one-hour track through alternating lava rocks and native bush. And don’t forget to get sidetracked by the lava caves (check the link for up-to-date info). Take a ferry or charter a launch if you want to really ramp up your experience. 

3. Ohinerau | Mt Hobson

Don’t be sitting pretty. We get it; you may not have time to sail across for your chance to climb Rangitoto but Ohinerau Mt Hobson has stunning views of the island itself and takes half the time, so you have no excuses. 

4. Lake Pupuke

Lake Pupuke, a volcanic crater lake in Takapuna on the North ShoreHeart-shaped Lake Pupuke has cooled down a bit since its explosive days which formed this crater lake. So if you’re looking for something slightly easier let’s just say there’s not much of an incline. Go for a scenic stroll around part of the lake, or take to the water and try a kayak.

5. Pukekawa | Auckland Domain

We lava Auckland Domain—it’s got it all. Check out the museum (which sits on the crater rim) and maybe you’ll learn a little history about these fiery mountains. Why not spend the day there? Bird watch in native bush, warm in the winter gardens or swoon over those stunning sea views.

6. Maungakiekie | One Tree Hill

Our go-to city escape within the city, One Tree Hill emulates the countryside with cows and sheep, yet there’s no tree to be seen on its peak. Now the summit is closed to cars hoofing it up to the summit is cause for celebration (and a bit of sweat we'll be honest). Get lost in the expansive park, let out your inner child because YES there is a flying fox or do some stargazing at 2pm in the afternoon at the Stardome Observatory and Planetarium.

7. Maungauika | North Head

For a wee history lesson, head to North Head to explore the old tunnels and armaments built but never used during war times. Take a torch and someone to hold your hand cause it can get pretty spooky in there, but it’s totally worth it. 

8. Te Pane o Mataoho / Te Ara Pueru / Māngere Mountain

Venture South to the 70,000-year-old Māngere Mountain and not only will a huge LOTR-esque volcano greet you but the circuitous route to the summit will reward you with magical views of Manukau Harbour. Discover more about Māori lifeways at the visitor centre that's open during the week or maybe even sign up for a guided tour. Remember West is best in the evenings because, if you’re lucky, the sun will light up those skies in fifty shades of fire. 

9. Motukorea | Browns Island

One of the best-preserved volcanoes in Auckland ​and only accessible by water, Motukorea is one you probably haven’t thought to visit. Once home to the founders of Auckland Logan Campbell and William Brown you can get there with Auckland Sea Kayaks who offer a half-day tour. So what are you waiting for? Grab a date (be it a partner or a mate), enjoy some light refreshments at the peak, and then paddle back to the city, bliss. 

10. Owairaka | Mount Albert

Surrounded by suburban slopes, Owairaka is a great place to make some new friends of the furry kind. If you are like us, absolute dog-obsessives, stroll around the summit in the early morning or evening and you’ll find many a dog to moon over. With many spots from which to gaze out over views of Tāmaki Makaurau, a trip to Owairaka is always a good time.
Top off your active day by munching down on Auckland's best cheap eats
Image credit: Armelle Frimpong, Chris McLennan, Maungawhau Mount Eden by Armelle Frimpong, Rangitoto by Todd Eyre, Lake Pupuke by Mark Meredith.

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