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Hike a volcano this summer

Published: 16 December 2020

Tāmaki Makaurau is blessed with a multitude of maunga with many located on the isthmus.

With so many dotted across the region, there is one near to most Aucklanders so why not consider exploring one of the maunga closest to you.

Here are a few that are worth climbing.

Te Tātua a Riukiuta / Big King Path

Te Tātua a Riukiuta is the last of the three scoria cones still standing with the other two having been quarried away.

A great family walk, there is an off-leash area for dogs to get some exercise too.

Be sure to head to the tihi (summit) for great views of the surrounding Three Kings suburb as well as neighbouring maunga including Maungawhau / Mt Eden and Ōwairaka / Te Ahi-kā-a-Rakataura/ Mt Albert.

There is a bench at the tihi for a short rest while you take in the views.

Ōhuiarangi / Pigeon Mountain

Ōhuiarangi is another volcano that has been severely quarried with only half the cone left standing.

However, what remain has great examples of defensive earthworks of a pā that once stood on the maunga.

Most of the path is unsealed or across grass with some flights of stairs along the way.

Enjoy the great mahi (work) of the community at the start of the walk with native trees and shrubs planted to restore what remains to the original habitat.

Ōtāhuhu / Mt Richmond

Ōtāhuhu may seem small in comparison to other maunga but it was hugely strategic. The name Ōtāhuhu is an abbreviation of ‘Te Tahuhutanga o Te Waka Tainui’ which translates as ‘the ridgepole of the Tainui canoe’, refering to the portage of the Tainui waka from the Waitematā to the Manukau Harbours.

Ōtāhuhu commandeered the portage between the two harbours and a number of kūmara pits and the defensive terrace works show how important Ōtāhuhu was.

Travel off the sealed path up to the tihi for great views to the south and north as well as views to the Manukau. Also note the former quarry as you wander around the northern part of the maunga.

Maungaukia / North Head Path

Maungaukia sits at the entrance of the Waitematā and is always a great place to view ships and yachts coming and going.

Due to its location Maungaukia has been seen as a strategic coastal defence position, resulting in the disappearing fun batteries that once dotted the maunga.

The best access is from Takarunga Road and with the path following the former road it is handy for pushchairs and strollers.

There are stunning views all around the maunga whether it is across to the central city or across to Tāmaki Makaurua’s youngest volcano, Rangitoto Island.

Take a torch and explore the tunnels or check out the historic military buildings that sit just below the tihi.

Pukewīwī / Puketāpapa / Mt Roskill Path

Pukewīwī / Puketāpapa sits in the suburb of Mt Roskill and has the southwestern motorway running along its base.

Storage pits and terracing are still visible around the western and southern slopes of the maunga indicating its use as a pā in pre-European arrival.

The climb to the tihi is a short steep one but the views across the western suburbs is worth it.

Grab a seat on one of the benches atop Pukewīwī / Puketāpapa and enjoy seeing the neighbouring maunga including Maungawhau / Mt Eden, Maungakiekie / One Tree Hill, Te Tātua-a-Riukiuta / Big King and Ōwairaka / Te Ahi-kā-a-Rakataura / Mt Albert.

Read more: Summer Walkways


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