From the top of Auckland’s highest volcanic cone (196m), the entire isthmus and both harbours are laid bare. The symmetrical crater (50m deep) is known as Te Ipu Kai a Mataaho (the Food Bowl of Mataaho, the god of things hidden in the ground) and is considered tapu (sacred). Do not enter it, but feel free to explore the remainder of the mountain. The remains of pā terraces and food-storage pits are clearly visible.
Until recently it was possible to drive right up to the summit, but concerns over erosion have led to vehicle access being restricted to travellers with limited mobility.
Paths lead up the mountain from six different directions and the walk only takes around 15 minutes, depending on your fitness. A network of boardwalks was established in mid-2020 to help protect the historical and cultural significance of the site. Catching bus 27 from Britomart to stop 1870 near Tahaki Reserve is recommended.
Start and finish your exploration of Mt Eden at the nearby Maungawhau Visitor Experience Centre. Opened in late 2019, this excellent visitor centre showcases the geological and Māori cultural history of Maungawhau/Mt Eden. Highlights include an interesting 10-minute video about Auckland's volcanic field, and there's a good cafe with innovative brunch fare and fine views of the city's isthmus location.