A significant Maori settlement in 18th-century New Zealand and named for a long-dead pohutukawa tree that stood alone at the top of the hill, One Tree Hill is a massive public park that sits on the edge of central Auckland. From the summit, take in gorgeous panoramic views of Auckland and stroll around its green volcanic grounds.
One Tree Hill (Maungakiekie) is a significant site in the history of Auckland city’s settlement. The hill used to be home to the Te Wai ō Hua iwi (tribe) before they were defeated in war; in 1845, the land was sold to the Crown and became One Tree Hill Domain, so named for a pohutukawa that stood alone on the hill’s summit until it was chopped down in 1852. A pine tree was planted there in 1870 to replace the pohutukawa, but it was attacked twice by activists and ultimately removed in October 2000.
Today the only thing on the summit is an obelisk commemorating the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi; beneath the obelisk is the grave of Sir John Logan Campbell, a prominent Aucklander during the city’s settlement who helped establish the surrounding Cornwall Park. Guided tours typically include a drive up to the summit, from where you can see Auckland city stretch out in front of you.
Things to Know Before You Go
- One Tree Hill is ideal for history buffs and those seeking lovely views of Auckland.
- Stop in at the Huia Lodge Information Centre to discover more about One Tree Hill’s history.
- There are three on-site eateries, barbeques for rent, and picnic tables all around the park.
- Cornwall Park is a private, fully operational farm as well and has a wide range of animals and native birds—but please don’t touch them.
- One Tree Hill offers limited accessible parking, a drop-off zone, and some accessible facilities (including restrooms).
How to Get There
Cornwall Park has multiple entrances around the park. If you’re driving from central Auckland, follow the Southern Motorway to Green Lane West (State Highway Nine). Take the third exit and drive until you reach Pohutukawa Drive. Alternately, take a train from Britomart to Greenlane Station and walk down Green Lane West to the park.
When to Get There
Visit during the summer or fall months to enjoy views of the city undisturbed by fog or rain. You can watch the sunset from the summit, but be careful if you’ve driven up there—the roads up to One Tree Hill close when night falls.
Check Out Cornwall Park
One Tree Hill’s surrounding Cornwall Park is also home to the historic Acacia Cottage, Auckland’s oldest wooden building and a rare example of colonial architecture in the city. You can also visit the Stardome Observatory at the edge of Cornwall Park. The observatory offers a number of educational activities and attractions, and is great for the whole family.