15. O Huiarangi/Pigeon Mountain

Pigeon mountain

Pigeon Mountain, Pakuranga Domain (Thanks Google)

At 55 metres this is Auckland’s easternmost volcano but before I started this journey I didn’t even know it existed. I think we saw a few blackbirds but ironically, no native wood pigeons for which the mountain was named in early European times. We parked in the shade of a tree on Gills road then pointed ourselves in the direction of the mountain and just walked up the side of it -there are no real paths until near the top, where you’ll want to use the steps.

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Ascending the southern slope

It was a baking hot Auckland Anniversary day this year and this was our last volcano for the day. We started out following the tree line but that didn’t last very long. At least there is some shade on the summit -that made for a very pleasant rest.

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Exposed shells halfway up the mount

This was a former pa site so some of the earthworks and terracing can still be seen. Some Pakuranga College students found artefacts, including skulls, in the 1960’s. All I found were these shells that seem to decorate all the maunga still remaining in Auckland.

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Facing west overlooking the go-kart track

I didn’t know what I was looking at far out at sea as I hadn’t yet been to Motukorea/Brown’s Island. From here it just looks like 4 groups of trees with 2 brown humps on the right.

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Looking north from the summit (Brown’s Island in distance)

See that fence? That protects walkers from an almost sheer drop of 30 metres. You might recall from the first image that Pakuranga Domain looks to be roughly triangular with half a cone of scoria part way along the longest side. Well, that’s no illusion. That’s because the southern side  was set aside to be a domain in 1881 but the northern half was left private ownership and as such succumbed to the ravages of quarrying. This started out in a small way at first but then excavation ramped up in the 1950’s as the area became more urbanised. By the 1970’s the northern half was no more.

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Looking east along Gills road

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View south from the summit (there’s a tree in that pit)

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Resting near the summit

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Small hollow area near the top (rocks are pretty loose here)

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Ashy dirt just lying on the surface of the ground

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This is not a cow pat

 

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