Getting Outside in Auckland

Lisa Penfield headshot
Lisa Penfield
April 21, 2024

In the past month, I’ve been trying to get outside more, taking advantage of the warm weather in Auckland. This list has a few places I’ve visited, starting from closest to furthest from the Carlaw Park Student Village: 


1. Auckland Domain

Right behind the Carlaw Park Student Village is the Auckland Domain, the oldest park in Auckland. The Domain is large with numerous paved paths, a garden area, a fernery, and a museum. When I first visited, I found it quite peaceful; the area is so big that even on the busiest days you can still find quiet areas to sit, relax, and read a book or listen to music. The area is also well-shaded, making it a great choice to visit on the hottest days. The gardens showcase a range of colorful, vibrant flowers with a lily pad pond in between the two glasshouses (pictures below)! The fernery is no exception to the peacefulness of the Domain as it has a nice walking pathway that features a koi fishpond at the bottom! 

As the Domain is so close, I’ve returned a few times, mostly to run, relax, and stargaze. Running at the Domain is tricky as it is a hilly area, but overall, it is easy to run with the various paths. While I have yet to do this, the Domain would also be a great place to have a picnic! 


2. Running along Tamaki Drive

If you’re looking for a new walking, running, or biking path, then going along Tamaki Drive is a great option, especially during sunrise or sunset. The road is close to the student accommodations and has a nice, paved pathway that provides a great view of the water. The only catch is that the path is right next to a main road so it can be quite noisy. At the end of Tamaki Drive (about ~6 mi/10 km from the Carlaw Park Student Village), there is St Heliers Bay, which hosts a small playground, a lot of sand, and a few rocky features, perfect to sit and watch the sunset! This route is my favorite to run as it’s convenient, close, and beautiful! There are a couple photos attached below. 


3. Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill Domain

Cornwall Park and the One Tree Hill Domain are a bit further than the Auckland Domain and Tamaki Drive, requiring a 30-minute bus ride to get there. Similarly to the Auckland Domain, the area is also large with various paved paths and open green areas. When I visited, I opted to do a loop that led to the summit, which housed a historical monument, placed as a memorial to the Māori. The summit is a great area to look at Auckland’s skyline!

In the future, I plan to revisit Cornwall Park and check out the Stardome Observatory & Planetarium!


4. Cornwall Park and One Tree Hill Domain

Further than Cornwall Park and the One Tree Hill Domain is Ambury Farm, which is about an hour bus ride away. The farm sits in a suburban area that overlooks the Manukau Harbor. As the farm allows visitors to freely wander around, my friends and I walked on a trail that took us along the water and looped us back to the main area. In the main area, we saw many cows, sheep, chickens, and pigs. We also saw two bulls having a stare-off. Near the end of our visit, we entered the pens with the chickens, as well as the fenced areas with the horses! Overall, on a nice, clear sunny day, the farm is a perfect place to visit to see some cute animals.


5. Rangitoto Island

Further than the first four places is Rangitoto Island, which requires a ferry ride to get to. Tickets are about 50 NZD roundtrip, and the ride is about half an hour. I visited Rangitoto Island for a day hike with Auckland University’s Tramping Club (AUTC). The route was about 11 km and took around five-ish hours with a few breaks. The hike was a bit rocky initially, but later the path became flat and wider. We ended the hike at a lookout of Auckland’s skyline! Overall, a tiring, but fun and rewarding day! 

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Lisa Penfield headshot

Lisa Penfield

At Tufts University I’m a Sustainable Solutions Fellow, a member of the Chinese Students Association, and a Volunteer Coordinator for the Food Rescue Collaborative. Outside of school, I enjoy running, baking, and learning to play frisbee!

Home University:
Tufts University
Engineering - Environmental
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