Table of Contents
- Free Things To Do In Auckland
- Auckland Botanic Gardens
- Arataki Visitors Centre
- Visit Any One Of Our Auckland West Coast Beaches
- Safety at Piha
- Lion Rock
- Why is Lion Rock called Lion Rock?
- Can people climb Lion Rock?
- Te Henga (Bethells Beach)
- Film Location at Te Henga (Bethells Beach)
- Karekare Beach
- How To Get To KareKare?
- One Tree Hill/Manungkiekie
- Maori Pa Site ( Fort)
- Cornwall Park
Free Things To Do In Auckland
Now we all love free stuff! So I have put a list together of some “Free Things To Do In Auckland, New Zealand”
Auckland Botanic Gardens
Auckland Botanic Gardens was opened to the public in 1982 and is a young garden by world standards and has around 950,000 visitors each year. There are around 10,000 variety of plants from around the world.
Winter hours (April to September) The Auckland Botanic Gardens are open daily from 8 am to 6 pm. Visitor Centre Huakaiwaka is open from 8 am to 4.30 pm. There is a Cafe on site called Miko which is open daily from 8 am to 4 pm.
Summer hours (October to March) The Auckland Botanic Gardens are open daily from 8 am to 8 pm. The Visitor Centre Huakaiwaka is open weekdays from 8 am to 4.30 pm. Cafe Miko is open daily from 8 am to 4 pm.
*Please note the Visitor Centre and Cafe Miko are both closed on Christmas Day (25 December), the gardens remain open to visitors.
For more information please visit the Auckland Botanic Gardens website www.aucklandbotanicgardens.co.nz
Arataki Visitors Centre
It’s 250km of walking and tramping tracks provide access to beaches, breathtaking views, and spectacular rocky outcrops, including the Hillary Trail, black sand beaches, waterfalls and giant kauri trees.
The Park Rangers here will help you make the most of your visit. They know the latest track and weather conditions and the directions to the best places in the Park.
If you are staying in the Park overnight, ask for the best camping & campervan sites.
How to get to Arataki Visitor Centre Physical Address: 300 Scenic Drive, Titirangi The visitor centre is at 300 Scenic Drive, 6km from Titirangi. From Auckland City, take State Highway 16 (northwestern motorway) and head west.
Take Exit 2 onto Great North Road and follow signs to Titirangi. Drive through Titirangi Village and at the roundabout, take the Scenic Drive exit. Continue for 6km and the visitor centre is on the left.
Opening and Closing Hours
For more information please visit http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Visit Any One Of Our Auckland West Coast Beaches
Piha is one of New Zealand’s favourite surf beaches and is very popular with surfers. In the summertime, Piha is very popular with the locals, surfers and tourist.
Piha was the birthplace of New Zealand board riding in 1958 and has been the scene of both New Zealand national and international surfing championship competitions.
Safety at Piha
The rip currents along this section of coast are very unpredictable and can shift with little warning. They claim many lives despite the efforts of surf life-savers.
Most of these drownings, however, occur after lifeguards are off duty or after rock fisherman wearing heavy clothing are washed off rocks, out of sight of the lifeguards. Lifeguards advise swimming between the red and yellow flags, during patrol hours.
After the death of two men at Piha in February 2013, lifeguards say the water fools swimmers by appearing deceptively calm, obscuring strong rips, and people should stay out of the water if they aren’t confident swimmers.
Lion Rock is a natural formation It is an eroded 16-million-year-old volcanic neck and sits between South Piha and North Piha beaches.
Why is Lion Rock called Lion Rock?
Lion Rock was named Lion Rock because if you look from behind Lion Rock (Shore Line) you will see the shape of a male lion lying down facing towards the sea.
Can people climb Lion Rock?
Yes, people can climb Lion Rock, a few years ago you could climb to the top of Lion Rock and have 360 degrees view of Piha beach.
But now you can only climb halfway as there is a fence that restricts access for people climbing to the top because of a rockfall a few years ago which has made it dangerous for people to climb to the top of Lion Rock.
Te Henga (Bethells Beach)
Te Henga (Bethells Beach) is a little coastal community just north of Piha. The Māori name for the area is”Te Henga” in reference to the long foredunes which run along the beach and look like the “Henga” or “Gunwhale” of an upturned waka hull
Te Henga (Bethells Beach) is 30 kilometres from downtown Auckland, in the summer months, Te Henga (Bethells Beach) becomes popular with Aucklanders who travel from other parts of Auckland to relax with their families by the sea.
Film Location at Te Henga (Bethells Beach)
Te Henga (Bethells Beach) has been used for a variety of films, Television series and music videos over the years. The music video Shania Twain single “Forever and for Always”(2003) And Taylor Swift’s music video“Out of the Woods” were all filmed at Te Henga (Bethells Beach).
Kare-Kare is surrounded by steep, high ridges, along with a creek and lagoon which cut the beach in half. These all create a relatively natural and interesting beach environment.
However, if swimming or surfing use caution as it is a high energy hazardous beach that has been the scene of many rescues.
How To Get To KareKare?
It takes approximately 30 to 40 minutes from Auckland city centre to travel to KareKare Beach by car.
Follow Piha road and just before Piha you turn left onto KareKare Road, and then you follow the road till you get to the carpark which will be on the right. Once you park your car it takes 15 minutes to KareKare beach.
Whatipu is a remote beach on the west coast of Auckland and is South of KareKare beach.
The road to Whatipu is unsealed, just to the south of Whatipu is the Manukau Harbour.
The most tragic shipping disaster in New Zealand history occurred on the sand bar in 1863 on 7 February when the HMS Orpheus ran aground in clear weather with a loss of 189 lives out of 259 crew making it the worst maritime tragedy to occur in New Zealand waters.
One Tree Hill/Manungkiekie
One Tree Hill (Maungkiekie) is a 182 meter (597 ft) volcanic peak in Auckland, New Zealand. The suburbs that surround One Tree Hill are Royal Oak, Epsom, Greenlane, Oranga, and Onehunga.
The summit provides 360-degree views across the Auckland area and allows visitors to see the Waitematā, Manukau and Auckland Harbours.
Maori Pa Site ( Fort)
The Māori name Maungakiekie means “mountain of the kiekie vine. Māori also knew it as “tōtara that stands alone”.
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.
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.
The pā was abandoned around 1795 AD with the death of Te Taou leader Tuperiri.
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. In 1853 Brown & Campbell purchased Henry’s land surrounding the recently protected One Tree Hill Domain. This land ultimately became Cornwall Park in 1901.
In 1964 the government led an initiative to restore the mountain. After two years the initiative was cancelled and the mountain left alone.
Cornwall Park is an expansive parkland in Epsom near the heart of Auckland, New Zealand, surrounding the park containing Maungakiekie pa or the hill of One Tree Hill. The two independent parks form one large park of 670 acres (270 hectares).
The Park has centuries-old heritage sites, wide-open spaces, tree-lined avenues and walks, places of peace and tranquillity in a large city, sports grounds including tennis and bowls and a working farm for the education of city children.
John Logan Campbell, Auckland resident since 1840 and, at the time of this gift, mayor, gave the park’s 230 acres to a private trust on 10 June 1901.
Maungakiekie had been purchased by the national government in 1845 and since 2012 belongs to Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau Collective.
Campbell chose to present the deeds the following day to the visiting heir to the throne, the Duke of Cornwall and York later George V asking his consent for it to be named Cornwall Park in honour of the Duke.
A few weeks later the adjoining Alexandra Park was named in honour of the Duke’s mother.