Tag Archives: One Tree Hill

Mangere Mountain

Mangere Mountain is one of the largest volcanic cones in the Auckland volcanic field, with a peak 106 meters above sea level. It was the site of a major (Māori fortified village), and you can still see a lot of the earthworks there today.

Mangere Mountain from Ambury Regional Park
Mangere Mountain from Ambury Regional Park

It is a prominent landmark in south Auckland, and I had been visiting places in that area recently, so I decided to check out Mangere Mountain up close.

Mangere Mountain from near the Onehunga Mangere Soccer & Softball Club
Mangere Mountain from near the Onehunga Mangere Soccer & Softball Club

This is one of those places that panoramas are made for.  We parked at the Onehunga Mangere Soccer & Softball Club and walked up the cone in a clockwise direction.

Mangere Mountain
Mangere Mountain

A view of Puketutu Island opens up as you reach the western rim.

Puketutu Island
Puketutu Island

In the saddle between the two highest points you get a wider view of the Manukau Harbour that takes in Otuataua Stonefields, Puketutu Island, Awhitu Peninsula, Manukau Heads, the Waitakere Ranges, and Ambury Regional Park.

Manukau harbor from Mangere mountain
Manukau harbor from Mangere mountain
Details on the view above - Mangere Mountain
Details on the view above

The top also offers a good view of the cone, and what I assume is the plug.  Correction – that’s a lava dome, something that no other Auckland volcanoes have.

The large crater from the north rim
The large crater from the north rim

In the other direction you have great views over Manukau Harbor to the Mangere Bridge and central Auckland.

Mangere Bridge and central Auckland
Mangere Bridge and central Auckland

That view includes Mount Eden, the Sky Tower and One Tree Hill.

Mount Eden, Sky Tower and One Tree Hill
Mount Eden, Sky Tower and One Tree Hill

The perspective on the cone itself changed as we continued walking in a clockwise direction around the rim.

Crater of Mangere Mountain
Crater of Mangere Mountain

We continued clockwise around the smaller crater.

The smaller crater on Mangere Mountain
The smaller crater on Mangere Mountain

Soon after that we completed the circle, and returned to the carpark.

Mangere Mountain, in Mangere Domain, is a small park with the terrain for good short walk with a bit of climbing and some great views of Auckland.

Please enjoy the full gallery of 12 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

Otuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve

I discovered Otuataua Stonefields in the summer of 2014.  It is said that Auckland was born here; the local Maori tell stories of people settling in this area around 835 AD.  The reserve is waahi tāpu (a sacred place) to descendants of Te Wai-o-Hua and Waikato Iwi
of the Tainui waka (canoe).

Otuataua Stonefields
Otuataua Stonefields

Otuataua Stonefields is located on the Ihumātao Peninsula in the suburb of Mangere.  The 100 hectare reserve is full of volcanic rock, and features Māori stone garden mounds and Māori and European dry-stone walls.  I immediately recognized similar rock and stonework at Ambury Regional Park, about 7km away along the coast.

Otuataua Stonefields
Otuataua Stonefields

Otuataua Stonefields Historic Reserve is located on the Manukau Harbor near the Auckland Airport.  Sandy beaches on the coast here combined with the fertile volcanic soil, making this a desirable place to live for centuries.

Otuataua Stonefields
Otuataua Stonefields

It was a hot day in the summer of 2014, and I sought out the shade of some forest remnants along the long dry stone wall near the southern edge of the reserve.

Otuataua Stonefields
Otuataua Stonefields
Otuataua Stonefields
Otuataua Stonefields

My feelings about graffiti in a reserve, especially one of great historic significance, are mixed at best – but this is some pretty cool graffiti.

Graffiti near the coast
Graffiti near the coast

The pictures above surely look pretty green compared to many parts of the world, but by New Zealand standards, the summer of 2014 was apparently a fairly dry one – compare with the pictures below, taken in the wet March of 2017.

Otuataua Stonefields
Otuataua Stonefields

I was surprised at how much I found myself adjusting the saturation of these pictures downward in order to make them look real.  The grass was probably a brighter green than you see here.

Otuataua Stonefields
Otuataua Stonefields

With a friend, I explored the southern part of Otuataua Stonefields as I had in 2014.  But this time, on the way out, we found the avocado orchard.

Avocado orchard at Otuataua Stonefields
Avocado orchard at Otuataua Stonefields

There were several families using very long sticks to get avocados from the trees.  I hoped that someone would leave a stick behind for me to use, but that didn’t happen, and I couldn’t be bothered to find a harvesting stick of my own.

Avocado orchard at Otuataua Stonefields
Avocado orchard at Otuataua Stonefields

I regretted not taking any avocados home with me, as I had never picked one from a tree.  So on my next visit in May, I visited the orchard first.

There was a wedding party taking pictures.

Avocado orchard at Otuataua Stonefields
Avocado orchard at Otuataua Stonefields

There were fewer trees with fruit in May, and the low-hanging fruit had long been taken.  It was a lot of work – the avocados weren’t ripe and didn’t come off the tree easily, and it took a while to find a branch that I could reach by jumping to pull the fruit down into reach – but I managed to collect my limit of 5 small ones.  I let them sit at home for weeks before they ripened, and when they did so, it happened very suddenly.  Fortunately the flesh stayed nice and green, and the seeds were the easiest to remove of any avocado I’ve had.  This summer avocados were as cheap as I’ve ever seen in New Zealand, but by May the price was again so high that I don’t even consider it, so these free avocado were nice to have.  I enjoyed them with lemon and salt.

My avocado harvest
My avocado harvest

The grass in May was an even brighter green.  This time I checked out the Puketaapapa Cone, the smaller of the reserve’s two volcanoes.

Puketaapapa Cone
Puketaapapa Cone
Puketaapapa Cone
Puketaapapa Cone

Puketaapapa Cone is part of the geology walk in the northeastern part of Otuataua Stonefields.  It offers some nice views of Mangere Mountain, another volcano closer to Ambury Regional Park.

Mangere Mountain
Mangere Mountain

One Tree Hill is visible across the Manukau Harbor; in the picture below it can be seen beyond the palm grove in the foreground.

One Tree Hill over Manukau Harbor
One Tree Hill over Manukau Harbor

The geology walk also visits the lava caves.  I only saw what must be the most obvious of the caves, which has bars mounted to prevent entrance.  You have to look closely at the picture below to see it (lower center).

Otuataua Stonefield lava caves
Otuataua Stonefield lava caves

Otuataua Cone is what remains of the reserve’s larger volcano.  It is located in the southernmost corner of Otuataua Stonefields.  The crater was once the site of a Maori pa, or fortified village.  It was quarried in the 50s, and some of the stone was used to build the Auckland Airport.  Partial reconstruction left the Otuataua Cone a shallow, grassy crater.

Otuataua Cone
Otuataua Cone

It took me 3 visits and some research online to feel that I had experienced most of what Otuataua Stonefields has to offer.  I recommend that you Google it before you go.  When you arrive, snap a pic of the info board for reference, and follow the various walks.

Please enjoy the full gallery of 22 pictures below.  To view on imgur, click here.

One Tree Hill, Cornwall Park, and Kite Day

Upon returning from Hawke’s Bay to Auckland, we visited One Tree Hill, and I saw a poster for Kite Day in Cornwall Park.

One Tree Hill
One Tree Hill

The weather changed constantly the two days we spent driving back.  It was nice when we arrived at One Tree Hill, but we could see the rain rolling in over the city.

Incoming storm
Incoming storm

It rained hard, then cleared, and gave us one of the best rainbows I’ve seen in New Zealand.  It was a nice welcome home!

Rainbow over Auckland
Rainbow over Auckland

I saw a poster for Kite Day, and we returned for that the following weekend. One Tree Hill is located within the larger Cornwall Park in central Auckland.

We were a bit early, so we had a brief look around Cornwall Park before I figured out that we were in the wrong place for the kites.  Several groups of people did tai chi in the calm of the morning.

Cornwall Park
Cornwall Park

Deeper research on Google showed me where the kites were, and we went there.  There were ground-based activities, mostly for kids from what I saw, but I was interested in the kites.

Kite Day in Cornwall Park
Kite Day in Cornwall Park

I hadn’t really seen kites like this before.  They look best if the shape is successful at taking in enough air to keep them inflated so that they can keep their shape.  The air inside comes from the wind; no part of the kites are otherwise inflated.

The manta ray kite below kept its shape very well.

Manta ray kite
Manta ray kite

Many of them have smaller kites to help them stay in the air and/or keep their shape.

The squid got a bit flat at times.

Manta ray and squid kites
Manta ray and squid kites

But it had moments when it looked really good.

Squid kite
Squid kite

The big whale kept its shape much better than the smaller one, but it is pretty big to keep up enough air pressure inside.

Whale kites
Whale kites

For some reason the pig and dragon were paired up on the same set of strings.

Pig and dragon
Pig and dragon

These bird kites were small and flying low, but they looked great.

Realistic bird kite

Kite Day was small, but I was impressed with a lot of the kites, and I’m glad I went.

Ray and squid flying higher than the birds
Ray and squid flying higher than the birds

Before we left the second ray went back up.

Colorful ray kite
Colorful ray kite

Enjoy the full gallery of 15 pictures below!

Hamlins Hill Mutukaroa

Hamlins Hill Mutukaroa Regional Park is an island of green in the middle of the urban and industrial sprawl of central Auckland.  The views are fantastic all the same, and the green pastures and bush are a great escape from the city.  Don’t be discouraged by the scenery where you park, it gets better.

Check out the park and its surroundings on Google Maps.

Parking for Hamlins Hill Mutukaroa Regional Park
Parking for Hamlins Hill Mutukaroa Regional Park

First you’ve got to clear the businesses fronting on Great South Road.

Entering Hamlins Hill Mutukaroa
Entering Hamlins Hill Mutukaroa

Once I gained some altitude and got a look around it started to become clear what Hamlins Hill Mutukaroa has to offer.

First look at the pastures and bush of Hamlins Hill Mutukaroa
First look at the pastures and bush of Hamlins Hill Mutukaroa

It was looking like nearly all pasture, so when I saw a path through the bush I took it.

Gate to Hill Track and Farm Track
Gate to Hill Track and Farm Track

This path ascends through the bush but emerges near the top of the highest hill in the park offering views in all directions.

360° from the top of Hamlins Hill Mutukaroa
360° from the top of Hamlins Hill Mutukaroa
North toward Mount Maunganui and Rangitoto
North toward Mount Maungarei and Rangitoto
West southwest toward Mount Mangere
West southwest toward Mount Mangere
Northwest toward the Sky Tower from Hamlins Hill
Northwest toward the Sky Tower from Hamlins Hill
Northwest toward One Tree Hill
Northwest toward One Tree Hill

I think I was heading for the exit when I passed this little picnic area.  Another bush walk starts here, so I did that instead.

Don't ignore the tiny picnic area
Don’t ignore the tiny picnic area

It’s a nice break from the sun, with a little stream and a few clearings along the way.

Hamlins Hill Mutukaroa bush walk
Hamlins Hill Mutukaroa bush walk
In the Hamlins Hill Mutukaroa bush
In the Hamlins Hill Mutukaroa bush

One branch of the path emerges into a sidewalk running alongside of Highway 10.  Behind that is Highway 1, which runs from the northern tip of the North Island to the southern tip of the South Island of New Zealand.

Highway 10 and Highway 1
Highway 10 and Highway 1

I left the bush to explore other pastures, with dry stone walls and more city views.

Dry stone wall at Hamlins Hill Mutukaroa
Dry stone wall at Hamlins Hill Mutukaroa

The residents of this park are the friendliest cows I’ve met.

Residents of Hamlins Hill Mutukaroa
Residents of Hamlins Hill Mutukaroa

There are a lot of hills in Auckland, and therefore a lot of places to enjoy views of the city, but Hamlins Hill Mutukaroa holds its own, and is worth a visit for other reasons as well.

You can view the full gallery of 20 pictures below.  To view on imgur click here.