This volcanic cone was the isthmus’ key pā and the greatest fortress in the country. At the top (182m) there are 360-degree views and the grave of John Logan Campbell, who gifted the land to the city in 1901 and requested that a memorial be built to the Māori people on the summit. Nearby is the stump of the last ‘one tree’. Allow time to explore surrounding Cornwall Park with its mature trees and historic Acacia Cottage (1841).
The Cornwall Park Information Centre has fascinating interactive displays illustrating what the pā would have looked like when 5000 people lived here. Near the excellent children’s playground, the Stardome offers regular stargazing and planetarium shows (usually 7pm and 8pm Wednesday to Sunday, with extra shows on weekends) that aren’t dependent on Auckland’s fickle weather.
To get to One Tree Hill from the the city, take a train to Greenlane and walk 1km along Green Lane West. By car, take the Greenlane exit off the Southern Motorway and turn right into Green Lane West.