When asking advice on the best things to do in Auckland, the overwhelming response was that I had to visit Mt Eden. Bonus points if I went at sunset!
Please note, I do NOT recommend anyone visits Mt Eden summit right now. Please stay at home and stay local for daily walks.
I will be revisiting this blog post in a few months with updated information, once the current situation has caused the area to be reopened.
Mt Eden is both a suburb of Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city, as well as being the name of the suburb’s focus, an extinct volcanic peak also known as Maungawhau. This dormant volcano boasts the highest natural summit in Auckland.
HOW TO GET TO MT EDEN
The car park is usually easy to park in and is about 300m from the top. It is free to park here.
You are not allowed to drive all the way up to the peak unless you have limited mobility. Call Auckland Council customer service centre (09 301 0101) beforehand if this is the case.
BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT:
Take the train from Auckland Britomart or Newmarket to Mt Eden Station. From here it is a 25-minute walk to the summit.
Take the bus. Various buses stop at Mt Eden Road, from where there is a short walk to the summit (usually 600m – 1km depending on the direction you are coming from).
The Mt Eden summit is also a stop on many city tours including the hop-on-hop-off bus route.
It is a beautiful uphill walk to the volcano’s peak. The view is constantly revealing more as you stroll further around the winding road to the top. It’s an hour-long walk from Auckland CBD which lies 4km away.
The Mt Eden Road and Tahaki Drive entrances to the park are open from 7am-8.30pm in summer and 7am- 7pm in winter, aligning with daylight saving.
(Information is taken from helpful local website https://www.mounteden.co.nz/)
MT EDEN VOLCANO, VIEWS AND SUNSET
Mt Eden’s grassy crater is the first thing you’ll notice when walking up to the summit – it’s 50m deep and very photogenic with the Auckland city stretching out beyond it. The volcano last erupted 15000 years ago.
TIP: Of course, check the weather beforehand! You will be able to see much further on a clear day.
When you reach the top – at 196m high – you get a 360 panoramic view over Auckland surrounds – you can see everything from the famous Auckland Sky Tower and the North Shore beyond to the Waitakere Ranges and the Pacific Ocean. It’s this 360 vantage point that makes Mt Eden the perfect sunset spot – no matter what time of year you visit, you will always get to see the sunset in one direction!
The circular signage below shows you what you are looking at so you can get a sense of where you are and how far away you are from various landmarks around New Zealand. It also tells you how many kilometres you are from many cities around the world which is quite cool if you are travelling. I realised I was 18339km from all my friends in London!
TIP: Check the sunset time and arrive at least 30-minutes beforehand to enjoy the calming experience of watching the sunset over Auckland.
Mt Eden is also one of the many beautiful spots to visit on a walk across Auckland, from coast to coast in one day.
SNACKS AND PUBLIC TOILETS
There is no food or cafe available at the top of Mt Eden. The nearest cafe is Whau Cafe located in the visitor centre.
However, there are public toilets located near the lower car park.
MAUNGAWHAU VISITOR EXPERIENCE CENTRE
The newly opened Visitor Centre has information about the Māori cultural past of this area while also highlighting the geological history. It’s a recommended stop for families, with an interactive display that re-enacts the eruption of Mt Eden, one of the 48 extinct volcanoes in the Auckland area, and a ten-minute video.
The aforementioned Whau Cafe is located in the visitor centre.
WHAT TO TAKE
Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat or a raincoat depending on Auckland’s changeable weather!
Comfy shoes for the walk up – it’s an easy, paved walk, so no proper walking shoes required. It’s a short 300m uphill walk from the car or a bit more strenuous from public transport.
A camera! And tripod if you want to get a pretty sunset shot.
And don’t forget your glasses. : )
MT EDEN VILLAGE
Historically, the area was inhabited by Maori tribes who utilised the fortified hill, the area is now home to a charming ‘village’ centre. In fact, you can still visit other traditional sites in this area – a popular activity to do with one of Auckland’s guides.
After watching the sunset from Mt Eden, you can walk down to the village and enjoy a meal. Or you could visit earlier in the day and visit the local galleries.
The village centre all hosts small community-based events throughout the year.