Auckland hidden gems

By Alessandro Carosi

If you don’t have anything to do in Auckland here an idea, that’s what i did in one of my days off, take a train to


The name Onehunga is Māori and probably means “burial place”,[9] referring to the Māori burial caves in the area, probably among the lava flows issuing from One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie). Onehunga was close to one of the richest areas of the Auckland Isthmus, and saw many battles in pre-European times.[2] In the 1830s decades before the Europeans arrived in larger numbers in the area, the area was the main Ngati Whatua settlement, who had begun to slowly move back to places north of the Manukau Harbour after the Musket Wars.[10]

Onehunga is a suburb of Auckland in New Zealand and the location of the Port of Onehunga, the city’s small port on the Manukau Harbour. It is eight kilometres south of the city centre, close to the volcanic cone of Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill. It was formerly governed by Auckland City Council until the merger of all of Auckland’s councils into the ‘super city‘ in 2010.

Onehunga is a residential and light-industrial suburb. According to the 2013 census, there were 14,733 residents in Onehunga.[1] There are almost 1,000 commercial and industrial businesses in the area.[2] Onehunga stretches south from Royal Oak to the northern shore of the Manukau Harbour. To the east are the areas of Oranga and Te Papapa; to the west, Hillsborough. On the southern shore of the Manukau Harbour, and linked to Onehunga by two bridges, is the suburb of Mangere Bridge.

From there start to walk to the city through


The Māori name Maungakiekie means “mountain of the kiekie vine”.[2] Māori also knew it as “tōtara that stands alone”.[3] The mountain and its surrounds were home to the Te Wai ō Hua tribe from the early 1700s and probably before that time. Other Māori tribes in the Auckland area can also trace their ancestry to the mountain.

Maungakiekie was the largest and most important Māori pā in pre-European times. The cone and its surroundings are estimated to have been home to a population of up to 5,000.[4] At this time, the Nga Marama chief Kiwi Tamaki held the pa and used its strategic placement to exact tribute from travellers passing from Northland to the rest of the North Island through the rich isthmus. Its position between the Waitematā Harbour to the east (opening upon the Pacific Ocean) and the Manukau Harbour to the west (opening onto the Tasman Sea) offered a wide variety of seafood from the two harbours. The volcanic soil on the scoria cone was highly fertile, and the inhabitants terraced the slopes extensively. The hill was relatively easy to defend from raiding parties from other tribes by its steep sides and imposing wooden palisades. Waiohua occupation of the Māori pā ended around 1740-1750 AD when they were defeated in a war against the invading Ngati Whatua-o-Kaipara[5] The  was abandoned around 1795 AD with the death of Te Taou leader Tuperiri.[6]

In 1845 the Ngati Whatua, with the concurrence of representatives of the Waiohua people, sold a block of land which included Maungakiekie / One Tree Hill to a merchant, Thomas Henry. The Government under its preemptive rights excluded 115 acres of the hill itself from the sale and this was vested in the Crown. This is now One Tree Hill Domain.[7] In 1853 Brown & Campbell purchased Henry’s land surrounding the recently protected One Tree Hill Domain. This land ultimately became Cornwall Park in 1901.[8]

In 1964 the government led an initiative to restore the mountain. After two years the initiative was cancelled and the mountain left alone.

Maungakiekie / One Tree Hill is a 182-metre (597 ft) volcanic peak in Auckland, New Zealand. It is an important memorial place for both Māori and other New Zealanders. The suburb around the base of the hill is also called One Tree Hill. It is surrounded by the suburbs of Royal Oak to the west, and clockwise, EpsomGreenlaneOranga, and Onehunga. The summit provides views across the Auckland area, and allows visitors to see both of Auckland’s harbours.

The hill’s scoria cones were erupted from three craters – one is intact and two have been breached by lava flows that rafted away part of the side of the scoria cone. Lava flows went in all directions, many towards Onehunga, covering an area of 20 square kilometres (7.7 sq mi), making it the second largest (in area covered) of the Auckland volcanic field, behind Rangitoto Island. The age of eruption is currently unknown, but it is older than 28,500 years as it has a mantling of volcanic ash erupted at that time from Te Tātua-a-Riukiuta volcano.[1]


Mount Eden is a suburb in AucklandNew Zealand whose name honours George Eden, 1st Earl of Auckland. It is 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) south of the Central Business District (CBD). Mt Eden Road winds its way around the side of Mount Eden Domain and continues to weave back and forth as it descends into the valley; it runs south from Eden Terrace to Three Kings. Mt Eden village centre is located roughly between Valley Road and Grange Road. The domain is accessible on foot from many of the surrounding streets, and by vehicle from Mt Eden Road. The central focus of the suburb is Maungawhau / Mount Eden, a dormant volcano whose summit is the highest natural point on the Auckland isthmus.

In pre-European times Mount Eden was utilised as a fortified hill pa by various Māori tribes. The pa is thought to have been abandoned around 1700 AD after conflict between the resident Waiohua people and the Hauraki tribes[1] The earth ramparts and terraces from this period contribute to the distinctive outline of the hill today.


Royal Oak is a small suburb in New Zealand’s largest city of Auckland. It is situated between the suburbs of Epsom (north) and Onehunga (south).

Royal Oak is under the local governance of the Auckland Council. The population was 5,562 in the 2013 Census, an increase of 168 from 2006.[1]

It is named after the Royal Oak hotel that was located on the Royal Oak Roundabout. In 1909 the hotel lost its licence to sell alcohol. For many years it was a pharmacy before being used as the premises of Barfoot & Thompson Real Estate Agency. Royal Oak refers to the tree Charles II hid up during the Battle of Worcester to avoid capture.

In the middle of the Royal Oak Roundabout was once located the Seddon Memorial. Designed by John Park, a local architect who was also Mayor of Onehunga at one time, the structure was erected in memory of Prime Minister Seddon who died suddenly in office in 1906. Richard John Seddon (1845 – 1906) was immensely popular and there are several monuments to him around the country. The Royal Oak Monument was in the form of a Gothic Market Cross and was a combined tram shelter, gas lamp standard and drinking fountain.

By the middle of the 20th century it was decided that the memorial was an obstruction to traffic and it was removed during September and October 1947.[2] The Royal Oak roundabout served six converging roads but one has been closed off in recent years.

Royal Oak became the site of New Zealand’s first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in 1971.[3]

Royal Oak Mall was expanded significantly in the 1980s to become a significant source of commerce in the area.


Three Kings is a suburb of AucklandNew Zealand that is built around the Te Tātua-a-Riukiuta volcano. It is home to an ethnically diverse population of about 5,000 people.

View north-east from the summit of Big King, showing terracing on the slopes from when it was a Maori pa

Three Kings is located six kilometres south of the city centre, between the suburbs of Royal Oak and Mt Roskill.

Three Kings features a small shopping mall and supermarket complex called Three Kings Plaza. It also has a commercial area, and an accident and medical clinic. The Mount Roskill library is situated above the Fickling Convention Centre which hosts a wide range of community events.

The office of Phil Goff, former Labour Party leader and MP for the Mt Roskill electorate, is in Three Kings. Goff attended Three Kings Primary School. The local state secondary school is Mount Roskill Grammar School. Catholic students attend Marcellin College (coed), St Peter’s College (boys) or Marist College (girls). The local state primary schools are Mt Roskill Primary and Intermediate, Three Kings Primary, May Road Primary and Dominion Road Primary.

Te Tātua-a-Riukiuta, also known as Three Kings, had three prominent peaks and a number of smaller peaks until most of them were quarried away, leaving a sole remaining large peak (often called Big King). It was probably the most complex volcano in the Auckland volcanic field.[1]


The Auckland Domain is Auckland‘s oldest park, and at 75 hectares one of the largest in the city.[1] Located in the central suburb of Grafton, the park contains all of the explosion crater and most of the surrounding tuff ring of the Pukekawa volcano.[2]

The park is home to one of Auckland’s main tourist attractions, the Auckland War Memorial Museum, which sits prominently on the crater rim (tuff ring). Several sports fields occupy the floor of the crater, circling to the south of the cone, while the rim opposite the Museum hosts the cricket pavilion and Auckland City Hospital. The Domain Wintergardens, with two beautiful glass houses, lie on the north side of the central scoria cone. The fernery has been constructed in an old quarry in part of the cone. The duck ponds lie in the northern sector of the explosion crater, which is breached to the north with a small overflow stream.

Pukekawa was identified by the Māori early on as one of the best sites in the isthmus area, with the north-facing side of the volcanic cone well-suited for growing kumara, while the hill itself was used for storage and as a  site. The crater swamp meanwhile provided eels and water.[2]

“Pukekawa” is a Māori-language word meaning ‘hill of bitter memories’, and likely refers to various hard-fought tribal battles between the Ngapuhi and the Ngati Whatua iwi. A sacred totara, commemorating the battles and their eventual settlement, was reputedly planted by princess Te Puea Herangi and still stands on the central volcanic cone.[2]

In 1828 the central cone was the site of a peacemaking meeting between Northern and Waikato iwi.[4]


Albert Park is a public park in central Auckland, bounded by Wellesley Street East, Princes Street, Bowen Avenue and Kitchener Street. From the entrance at the corner of Bowen Ave and Kitchener St, sealed footpaths climb steeply through native trees to the large flat area at the summit, where a formal layout of paths and flower gardens encircle a fountain.

Albert Park occupies much of the site of the Albert Barracks, one of Auckland’s early European military fortifications, which in turn was built on the previous site of Te Horotiu pa. The barracks consisted of a number of wooden and masonry structures standing in an enclosed area surrounded by a rock fortification built of the local volcanic stone. A portion of this wall remains visible in the adjacent University of Auckland grounds, and is registered by Heritage New Zealand as a Category I historic place.[1]

The Park was laid out in the 1880s and originally had commanding views over the city and harbour. The view now is of modern office blocks, except where mature trees have hidden the buildings. The Park contains a number of interesting specimen trees dating from the 1880s to the first World War. A caretaker’s residence was provided which still stands on the eastern side of the part adjacent to Princes Street. After 1906 this Gothic-styled cottage was occupied by the City Park Superintendent Thomas Pearson, who died here in 1931. It is currently empty.


The Sky Tower is a telecommunications and observation tower in Auckland, New Zealand. Located at the corner of Victoria and Federal Streets within the city’s CBD, it is 328 metres (1,076 ft) tall, as measured from ground level to the top of the mast,[4] making it the tallest freestanding structure in the Southern Hemisphere[5] and the 25th tallest tower in the world. It has become an iconic landmark in Auckland’s skyline due to its height and unique design.

The tower is part of the SkyCity Auckland casino complex, originally built in 1994–1997 for Harrah’s Entertainment.[3] Several upper levels are accessible to the public, attracting an average of 1,150 visitors per day (over 415,000 per year).[6]

I went back home like we say in Italy walking with my feet and hands, I was exhausted but happy for the chance to discover more about my loved Auckland, if wasn’t for that walk I would never know about those hidden gems of the Little Big City

18 km in 6 hours, not bad.

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