There are several extinct volcanic formations in Auckland. When the Maori settled this area in the 14th century, they began using these high points for a defensive advantage over invading tribes. Most of these pictures were taken from the top of Mount Eden. At 196 metres (643 feet), it's the highest of the mounds in the city.
These two views of Auckland show the rim and part of the crater at the top of Mt. Eden. If you have an interest in geology as I do, the Auckland Regional Council has created an excellent website on the "Volcanos of Auckland".
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On the left is a picture of Rangitoto, the largest and most recent volcano in the Auckland Volcanic Field. It was formed about 600 years ago and sits just outside the entrance to Waitemata Harbor. The smaller mound at the harbor entrance is North Head which was used for strategic defense of the harbor in the late 1800's and right on through WWII.

The picture on the right is looking approximately south from Mt. Eden toward two smaller volcanic mounds: Mount St. Johns (closest) and Mount Hobson. As you can see, Auckland is a very large and sprawling city. For more on that, see the interesting facts that I listed lower on this page following the city pictures.

In this picture, the volcanic hill on the right with the spire on top is "One Tree Hill". It was named because one lone pine tree stood on top of the hill for about 125 years. However, it's currently more like "No Tree Hill". That's because the tree was becoming unstable, so it had to be cut down in October of 2000. The council is working on plans to plant a small grove of native trees around the summit.

Finally, this picture is looking toward West Auckland. The famous Waitakere Ranges in the background dominate the western views of the city. That's an area of New Zealand that I didn't make it to due to time limitations, but I understand that it's beautiful.

INTERESTING FACTS (At least to me!):

Size of New Zealand (North & South Islands): Similar to Colorado
Population of New Zealand: Approximately 4.2 million as of March, 2007

Size of Auckland: Less than 2% of the total land mass of New Zealand
Population of Auckland: Approximately 1.3 million as of March 2007

So... Auckland is a tiny little speck of the total land mass, but contains nearly a full third of the entire country's population!

Something else I found interesting is that the SOUTH island is called the Mainland. That's because, according to Maori legend, it existed first. Also, it's larger. Yet the NORTH island has the capital city of Wellington, the largest city of Auckland and overall has about 75% of the total population.

I took these flower pictures in various places around New Zealand, so they aren't specific to Auckland. In fact, the last three probably aren't even unique to New Zealand! I don't know my botany, but I think I've seen variations of them in the US. I just like to photograph flowers and I like how they look at the bottom of this page. However, the FIRST picture is most definitely unique to New Zealand. It is the flower of the Pohutukawa Tree, know as the New Zealand Christmas Tree.
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