A park built on the site of what was once an active volcano, today is a beautiful spot with towering trees, sculptural works and even a museum.
A public garden that dates all the way back to 1860, Auckland Domain (known by locals simply as The Domain) was once a Maori 'pa' – a defended settlement where tribesmen would grow crops and store their food. The 75 hectares of volcanic landscape remains captivating, home to naturally formed amphitheatres where visitors come to play sports as well as admire the exotic trees and native bushland, fed by the rich and fertile volcanic soil.
Stroll across the exquisitely tended lawns and along the tree-lined pathways and you’ll spot all kinds of artworks on display. The Domain has its own Sculpture Walk with eight different sculptures on show. Head for the park’s Wintergarden and you’ll find even more, with marble statues dating back to the 1920s along with a more recent addition in the form of a sculpture by the Chinese-New Zealand artist Guy Ngan.
Explore the changing plant displays that can be found in the park’s stunning historic glasshouse, which has been standing for nearly a century. In the café nearby, stop off for a coffee or a bite to eat while you admire the view over a duck pond formed by the same natural springs that used to supply water to Auckland back in the 19th century.
One of the park’s most popular attractions is the Auckland War Memorial Museum, built back in 1929 in a stunning Greco-Roman design. On display inside, you’ll find military exhibits along with displays on the Maori heritage and culture.
Every autumn, the Domain plays host to an arts festival. Pay a visit at the right time and you’ll get to enjoy performances by local and global acts. Whether it’s theatre, dance, music or visual art, you’ll find something to enjoy.
Easy to reach from most parts of Auckland, you can get to the Domain by boarding the LINK Bus or Explorer Bus. If you’re driving, on-site and street parking is available which is free of charge to visitors for up to two hours.