Set adjacent to the park at One Tree Hill, Cornwall Park is a 296-acre green space that rises above the suburbs of Auckland. Strategically located between Waitemata and Manukau harbors, the area was once the site of a Maori settlement which once housed thousands of residents.
Today, visitors enjoy Cornwall Park for its archeological remains, views of the city, and ornately-landscaped gardens. Although the Maori settlement had been completely abandoned by the time of European arrival, remnants of the ancient fortress, or pa, lay scattered about the hillside. One notable relic within the park is the Rongo Stone, a large, carved stone which was part of a Maori shrine. While a few remains are evident on self-guided walks through the park, guided tours also take place which dig deeper into the Maori history.
Aside from the park’s intriguing past, the forested gardens provide a rural escape in the middle of the bustling suburbs. Some areas of the park are still working farms, and crops such as the kumara (sweet potato) thrive in the volcanic soil. The park is also pockmarked with various grazing animals, and cattle and sheep trot their way through pastures which sit next to oak-lined walking trails.
While the park is popular with travelers who visit for the panoramic view of the city, it’s also popular with picnicking locals who enjoy the barbecues and lawn. Combined with neighboring One Tree Hill, the entire area around Cornwall Park is a relaxing respite from the bustle of Auckland and a glimpse into rural New Zealand.