Due to the geography of New Zealand around Auckland, we did in fact walk across the whole North Island in one day, from the Pacific Ocean to the Tasman Sea. The Coast-to-Coast walk is not terribly well publicized– the only reason we could follow it was due to a map we happened to pick up at the airport– but it was an enjoyable survey of Auckland and its suburbs. We cheated a little and started at our hostel rather than 200 meters down the street at the ferry dock. First, though, we needed fuel for our journey so we stopped at No.1 Pancake.
These Korean pancakes are fat and greasy and stuffed with a variety of fillings. We had a potato and cheese savory pancake and shared a red bean sweet pancake for dessert. Amazingly delicious, fresh and cheap, these need to be the next hit Asian food!
After we ate, we passed through Auckland University and headed on to Auckland Domain, a park built on an extinct volcano, a quality it shares with many of Auckland’s parks. Unlike other parks though, this one was fairly well developed with formal gardens and the Auckland Museum. The crater here is one of the older ones in the city and fairly worn down these days— so much so they’ve built rugby pitches in it! There was in fact a tournament being played as we walked by; New Zealanders love their sports and we saw a lot being played throughout the walk. Luckily, the next stop on the tour was more of a proper volcano: Mt. Eden. Mt. Eden is the highest of the extinct volcanic peaks in Auckland and is preserved as a park and sacred site. After a steep climb we reached the crater and were rewarded with nice views over Downtown Auckland, as well as a preview of what was yet to come.
We got a little off-track as we headed down the mountain, going down some precarious and unsettlingly bouncy wooden stairs into a suburban street, but we managed to pick up the trail again using our handy map. We headed through a different campus of Auckland University before reaching Cornwall Park, the site of our next destination One Tree Hill. A famous Auckland landmark and working farm, this hill has either lots of trees or none, depending on whether you count the slopes or the summit. Instead, it does have a large stone obelisk marking the grave of John Logan Campbell, who donated the park to Auckland. The obelisk also commemorates his admiration of the Maori people, as seen on the plaques.
At this point, our guidebook suggested turning back as the most interesting bits were behind us, but since we could see our destination from the top of the hill, we decided to press onward. We descended the hill past an observatory and into a neighborhood of Auckland that looked like a lovely place to live, but was in fact not very interesting. After another hour though, we reached our destination, the Manukau Harbor and the end of the trail!
We obviously didn’t want to repeat it in reverse, so we caught a bus back to the downtown. Overall, this was an excellent walk with some great views covering quite a few of Auckland’s attractions. Therefore, for our next trip we headed out of the city … stay tuned!
PS: M wants it known that we did complete the first 200 meters of the walk a few days later.