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Volcano Views in Auckland
Auckland is built on and around 48 volcanoes, and the tops provide sweeping views of the city.
Mt. Eden. This is the highest volcano on the Auckland isthmus. Several bus tours include this central site. It's a popular spot at night when the city's lights below make a spectacular show, and many go there to canoodle or even propose! At the base of the mountain is Mt Eden village, known for its good places to eat and boutique stores. www.mounteden.co.nz/.
One Tree Hill. One Tree Hill, the largest of Auckland's extinct volcanoes, was the site of an early Maori settlement. www.cornwallpark.co.nz/.
Rangitoto Island. Rangitoto Island has an even better vista than One Tree Hill. This volcano emerged from the sea 600 years ago, no doubt much to the wonder of the Maori people living next door on Motutapu Island. Take a ferry to the island; then take a short ride on a covered carriage towed by a Jeep or walk an walk to the top to get a 360-degree view of the city and the Hauraki Gulf islands. There are paths round the island where you can take a peek at some holiday homes. www.rangitoto.org.
It's thought that Maori settled on the volcanoes beginning in the 14th century, taking advantage of the fertile soils. There's evidence that in the 16th century the Maori used the cones as defensive pa (fortified villages). Evidence of complex earthworks can be seen on Mt. Eden and One Tree Hill where Maori cleared volcanic stone to develop garden plots and formed the terraces that are features of pa.
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