Maungawhau / Mt Eden might be the highest volcano in the
centre of Auckland but it only rises 196m (643ft) above sea level, barely
popping up above the surrounding swathes of white wooden villas and bungalows. Its
lush, grassy slopes make it a beautiful spot to spend an hour, strolling around
the crater rim or simply admiring the close-up views of the city centre and the islands
of the Hauraki Gulf beyond.
Tour buses once choked the summit area but, in 2016, all
vehicles were banned from the summit area. The peace that has descended is
accessible on a 10-minute walk from the carpark. The vehicle ban came as a
result of a 2014 Treaty of Waitangi settlement which transferred ownership of 14
Auckland volcanoes, including Maungawhau, from Auckland Council to a joint authority
comprising the council and 13 Maori groups with long-standing claims to the
Now the traditional owners, who once lived hereabouts, have
greater say in the area’s management. Keep your eyes peeled for metre-deep
sculpted hollows on the volcanoes flanks. These are the remains of kumara pits
where native sweet potatoes were stored for later consumption.