The highest one of all

by | Feb 22, 2014 | Uncategorized | 12 comments

 Are you ready for a walk? You need to be fit for this one, because we will be climbing the highest of Auckland’s cones.

 Most people drive to the top, but we can gently wind up the first part, following the paths and steps. The red colour of the path comes from the scoria that makes up the central part of the cone.

 Already we are high enough for some views to the south. The weather is a little cloudy and misty as we begin, but you can make out the shape of Owairaka (Mt Albert). This one is next on our list for exploring.

 But for now we will take a look at the revegetation planting, done no doubt by the ‘Friends of Maungawhau.’ I lived in the suburb surrounding this mountain for 22 years, and at that time the Friends were formed, with the intention of restoring the plant after which the mountain was named: the whau. You can see one doing very well at the top of this little cluster of new trees.

The whau has a white fluffy flower. Its wood is light, like balsa wood, and it was used by Maori to make fishing floats. Later, with cattle grazing the mountain, the whau disappeared because cattle love these lush leaves, but now the cattle are gone and the whau is forming its late summer seed-heads.

 As we climb higher we can look out to the last of Te Tatua a Riukiuta: the Three Kings. Sadly, the other two were quarried away.

 If you listen carefully, above the sound of the summer cicadas, you will hear the gurgling of many happy tuis. They love the nectar and pink berries of the puriri trees.

 It’s getting steeper now, and we have to scramble up the hillside. But the evening light is shining through the clouds, and revealing Ohinerangi (Mt Hobson), which featured in an earlier post.

We are also high enough to look down on the first volcano that we climbed in this series: Te Kopuke
This is the most hidden of them all, as if the trees that cover its slopes are all conspiring to keep it a secret.
We are on our way to the highest point on the Auckland ismuth. Governor Hobson who named the first mountain he climbed after himself, then named Maungawhau after his superior officer George Eden. As you see from the sign at the beginning of this post, the original Maori name is being used once more.
The best is yet to come. But for now we are tired from climbing and will take a wee break. Join me in the next post to discover a surprise at the summit.


  1. Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Hi Juliet – I’ve loved joining you on our tour of the Auckland cones .. wonderful scenery, good walks and quite stunning views …

    Looking forward to the surprise .. cheers Hilary

  2. Juliet Batten

    * Hilary, nice that you could follow them all in sequence. The views are fantastic, in all directions. Keep posted!

  3. silkannthreades

    Lovely getting to know Auckland through your eyes. I admire your stamina!

  4. Juliet Batten

    Gallivanta, thank you. I have been getting fit this summer!

  5. Hotly Spiced

    It’s very beautiful. How long does it take to climb to the top? It certainly looks like you need to be fit as it does look steep in some parts and I see there are stairs! xx

  6. Juliet Batten

    The climb to the top, walk around the summit and back down again took about an hour. But we stopped a lot to look at the views. It can be done in a much shorter time, and with the steps and winding paths, the first part is not too arduous.

  7. Penny O'Neill

    How I have enjoyed this part of our walk, Juliet, and I look forward to seeing the surprise at the summit. your words and photos have made me quite interested in New Zealand’s cones.

    I see you are climbing toward evening. Is this because it is cooler?

  8. Vicki Lane

    How nice that the native vegetation is being restored! Thank you for the views!

  9. Juliet Batten

    Vicki, it’s so encouraging. cattle and young plants don’t mix and they had to get the cattle off first. That will be why the grass is so long. Thank you, glad you enjoyed the views.

  10. Juliet Batten

    * Penny, I’m glad you are enjoying these walks. Yes, you are absolutely right; we have to wait for the heat to go out of the day before doing the walks. Well spotted! Thank you for joining in.

  11. Lynley

    I am puffing and panting as I realise just how high I have climbed with you Juliet.

    You must be very fit!

    It is easy to perceive Auckland as flat and sprawling but that is definitely not the case as you are showing us.

  12. Juliet Batten

    Lynley, you are so right; Auckland seems flat but the cones are everywhere. I’m getting fit this summer, which feels good and climbing the cones is extending me nicely. Thank you.


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