Green hillsides rolling like ocean waves. Prolific forests with towering trees. Volcanic cones that rise over the land like slumbering giants from a bygone era. Fine-sand beaches that kiss the enchanting blue-watered bay. It may sound like the setting of a fantasy novel but rest assured it’s a real place—and makes for a stunning adventure.
As a world-class city boasting the largest urban population in the country, sporting resort-worthy beaches and 53 volcanoes, nothing encapsulates Auckland’s unique identity like its myriad of parks. While there are more options than you could possibly experience in a weekend, here are three you should seek out first.
Known as Maungawhau in the Māori language, Mt. Eden is a dormant volcano brimming with scenic views of the city instead of lava. Formed over 20,000 years ago, the unique landmass makes for a pleasant hike or bike ride and excellent escape from the bustle of downtown Auckland. Supplement your breath of fresh air with a history lesson by signing up for a guided tour. Discover occupation terraces, storage pits and housing sites of the former Māori settlement, as well as the rich history this mountain has in indigenous culture.
Just 28 miles southeast of Auckland, Duder Regional Park is a slice of picturesque farmland bordered entirely by expansive beachfront. This farm-park peninsula makes for a nature excursion unrivaled by anywhere else in the world—hikes over verdant rolling hills contrast majestically with the cool azure-colored water in the bay. The views, while impressive, aren’t still-life: adorable sheep dot the hillsides, adding to the ambiance of a potential picnic.
Maybe the only volcano more lush with intrigue than Mt. Eden is Rangitoto Island. A volcanic island jutting out of the picturesque horizon as seen from Auckland, it is an oasis on the edge of paradise. Only a 25-minute ferry ride across the water from downtown Auckland, there is the unique chance to upgrade your adventure by joining a kayak tour out to the island in lieu of the ferry. Once there, you can either walk or hop aboard a 4WD road-train with a guide to the top of the 853-foot summit—the views are stunning either way.
No matter where your adventures in Auckland take you, it’s important to know the threat of kauri dieback. Kauri dieback is an incurable disease threatening the legendary native kauri trees. Capable of being spread with just a pinhead of infected soil, saving the kauri trees comes down to preventative precaution from responsible visitors like you. Here are three easy steps you can take to help save the kauri for generations to come:
Ready to trek your own adventure through beautiful Auckland parks? Talk with one of our specialized travel advisors to begin charting a vacation you’ll never forget!