Every city needs a large central park, and Auckland Domain provides 185 acres where you can escape the bustle of the city. Set on the slopes of an extinct volcano and protected since the 1840’s, Auckland Domain is not only the largest, but also the oldest park in Auckland.
Located just east of the city center, Auckland Domain has a network of walking trails which weave their way through the forest. Unlike the pace of nearby downtown, peaceful moments abound in the park such as watching ducks land on the pond or relaxing on a bench in the shade. In the spring, cherry groves pepper the forest with a pink and vibrant hue, and during most times of the year you can find teams playing rugby on any of the large open fields.
For all of the open space, however, the largest draw of Auckland Domain is the building atop the hill. Constructed in 1929, the Auckland War Memorial and Museum is a three-story, neo-classical building with displays on everything from the nation’s war history to exhibits on Maori culture. While the museum itself is free of charge (though donations are often suggested), there is an extra fee to watch a performance such as a traditional Maori haka.
While visitors scour inside of the museum and pore over cultural artifacts, you’ll find people outside of the museum enjoying the expansive lawn. Or, further down the hill, wander the greenhouses of the famous Wintergardens for a sea of flowers and color.
Much of the park’s attraction, however, is simply enjoying the open space, and whether it’s eating a picnic while gazing at the skyline or going out for a jog, Auckland Domain is where city residents come to escape to nature.