Maungauika / North Head Historic...

Maungauika / North Head Historic Walk




3 Rankers Reviews

0 Face-to-Face

411 Walking

76 Auckland



1 km one-way | 1 hour one-way

When Russians were the enemy, New Zealand thought it best to construct coastal defence systems to keep out those Russians. The series of guns, tunnels and emplacements are now east to wander around on a network of tracks.


From Devonport Wharf, follow King Edward Parade past Torpedo Bay and turn left into Cheltenham Road. Takarunga Road on the right leads up the hill to the parking areas. There are toilets at the southern end of the summit buildings.


The track is marked from the lower carpark with white arrows on green posts, which lead through most of the points of interest on the walk.

There is a Coastal Loop (30 minutes one-way), Summit Loop (25 minutes one-way) and Tunnels Loop (20 minutes one-way).

The grassed track on the hill summit area is sometimes difficult to follow.

The coastal section of the walks starts from the south-western corner of the reserve. Pass through the tunnel (a torch is handy but not necessary) and follow the rocky coastline to below the carpark.


North Head is one of the volcanic cones comprising the Auckland Volcanic Field. It erupted around 50,000 years ago.

European History

The first pilot station in Auckland was installed here from 1840 to guide ships.

It’s main use however came as a defence station against impending Russian attach in the 1880s. With paranoia in the wings, the three gun batteries and associated buildings were hastily constructed. Prison labour, housed in the barracks, was used to rebuild the site and over 40 prisoners toiled under the Public Works Department scheme.

The 3 guns were state-of-the-art and the barrels alone weighed 13 tonnes. An example still remains at the South Battery.

By the time WW2 arrived, North Head was used as the defence headquarters for Auckland. An anti-submarine boom pincered any attacking vessels with two guns at sea level.


Feature Value Info


North IslandAuckland RegionAuckland


  • Walking
  • Free



Lucie Revay's avatar

Lucie Revay

Ranking: 9/10

A very nice place for walking with great views of Auckland CBD, Rangitoto Island and Cheltenham Beach.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

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Sandy Stamp's avatar

Sandy Stamp

Ranking: 8/10

An enjoyable walk around the headland. From the top, lovely views across the Gulf and over Auckland. Informative boards around the site.

Reviewed over 4 years ago

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Dogoneit's avatar


United Kingdom

Ranking: 8/10

Really enjoyed this walk through the old tunnels and gun positions etc. Great view of Auckland and northshore. Excellent for families.

Reviewed over 9 years ago

DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Nick Morrison's avatar

Nick Morrison

Rankers owner