Grab your walking boots and explore the historic buildings of the local village as well as a 19th century prison, before taking a peek into the volcano crater.
A historic spot of great significance both to the Maori people of New Zealand as well as to the British settlers who arrived here, Mount Eden is Auckland’s tallest volcano – as well as the name of the suburb that lies to its side. Once used as a Maori defensive citadel, the mountain still witnesses Maori rituals that are regularly performed here on the terraced steps cut into the landscape.
Today, the volcano is no longer active, but nonetheless it still dominates the city skyline, rising high to a dizzying 196 metres above sea level. If you’re feeling brave, there’s a trail to the top of the volcano where you can to look down into the 50-metre deep crater. You can also drive around by car or take the shuttle bus from the Mount Eden kiosk. You’ll be rewarded with striking views of Auckland and its beautiful surrounding landscape.
It was not until around the 1840s that European settlers first moved onto the spot. Many of the churches, houses, shops and schools that were built in Mount Eden village in the early 20th century still stand as heritage-listed buildings. Today, the village itself is a popular haunt for artists, writers and photographers and you can stop off to visit the local galleries or enjoy a coffee in one of the nearby bohemian cafes.
Visit the English-style prison on Mount Eden reminiscent of the famous Dartmoor Prison, built between the late 19th and early 20th centuries by the prisoners themselves who were tasked with lifting stones from the quarry nearby to construct its wall. Elsewhere, Eden Garden is a lovely tranquil spot which has many beautiful New Zealand plants and flowers growing across its 2.2 hectares. Here you’ll find volcanic rocks not simply for decoration, but also to heat the tropical plants.
You can take the bus from the heart of Auckland to Mount Eden. If you want to drive, however, there are private car parks available as well as paid street parking.