Kia Ora! Auckland City Discovery Tour – featuring historical Bastion Point, MJ Savage Memorial, Mount Eden and more…

I am excited to take a half day tour exploring the sights of Auckland which starts at 8.30am sharp from the lobby of my hotel. It’s a gloriously crisp and sunny autumn Auckland day, made all the more warmer by the friendly welcome by Warren. We head around to a couple of hotels in the CBD picking up other tourists before we set off. Auckland is mid-way through building an underground train line, which provides an unexpected extra adventure navigating the obstacle course of orange cones!

Having successfully conquered the cones, we are off to a leisurely start following the traditional Maori welcome by Warren. We meander along the waterfront taking in the view out to various volcanic islands which are enjoyed by the multi-million dollar homes and plenty of coffee-carrying Lululemoned power walkers and their pups. Our first stop is the spectacular MJ Savage Memorial Park, which is also the place of Bastion Point. The Memorial Park is very tranquil with a beautiful garden surrounding the main monument recognising New Zealand’s first Labor Prime Minister for his efforts post the Depression era in rebuilding Auckland’s economic fortunes and starting to repair relations with the Maori.

Bastion Point is where the main Maori tribe of Auckland is based, and we learn a lot from Warren about the history of the Maori journey prior to and following the development of the 1840 treaty with the English colonies. Bastion Point is a significant cultural hub as it was an ongoing place of conflict between the Crown and the local indigenous people, eventually becoming a site of protests in the late 1970’s which has since led to 50 years of reparations and rewriting of NZ history in the school curriculum.

From here, we journey through the hills to Achilles Point, a rocky cliff overlooking the calming waters towards Rangitoto island. It is so named after the HMNZS Achilles battleship that was victorious in 1939 against the Germans.

Views for days from Achilles Point

We travel past the historic One Tree Hill and on through some of the older suburbs. It is lovely travelling through the winding roads surrounded by autumn leaves and older style homes and buildings, schools and medical centres. We briefly stop at the beautifully designed War Memorial Museum on Observatory Hill for the views and to pay respect to the fallen New Zealand soldiers.

From here, we wind our way around through Mt Eden and head to the base of Mt Eden’s dormant volcano and ancestral mountain, which is the highest summit in Auckland at 196 metres above sea level. It last erupted over 28,000 years ago. The drive up to the summit has been closed since 2011 to respect the historical and spiritual significance of the land. We park at the base and walk on a steep incline for about 25 mins, passing several points of interest such as the crater where a deity was said to live who possessed the secrets of the earth. The new boardwalk has been well designed and maintained, showcasing all the main vantage points along the way, whilst protecting the land. At the top, you can see spectacular views across the city and beyond in all directions, especially on a clear day like today.

After making my way down the hill, it is time to wind our way back through the leafy suburbs via the village of Ponsonby back to the CBD, just in time to think about lunch for the day, which I have definitely earnt after climbing the summit!

Especially for someone only in Auckland for a couple of days, it was perfect to do this tour to get my bearings, see some magnificent sights and pick up ideas of what else to do whilst in Auckland. The bus seats 22 very comfortably and our guide, Warren was extremely knowledgeable, friendly and added humour whilst also catering to everyone’s backgrounds and interests. I highly recommend doing this tour, especially if you have a short stay. If you are in Auckland for longer, Auckland and Beyond Tours have plenty of other options to choose from. Kia Ora!

Auckland and Beyond Tours
Tours run daily 8am-10pm

About the author

Having wined, dined and socialised her way around the world, Kelly now calls Sydney home and loves to share her discoveries – lucky us! Most often found with a glass of champagne in her hand, something delicious to eat in front of her and telling a tall tale.


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