49. Ash Hill

Visited 28 February 2015

Ash Hill truck park. We visited the green space by the Oak Road cul-de-sac

Ash Hill truck park. We visited the green space by the Oak Road cul-de-sac (Thanks Google Maps)

There’s a little irony behind the name of this volcano; first of all it’s not a hill, the swampy, mud-filled crater being about 30 metres below ground level. I usually talk with such passion about the volcanoes of Auckland but I’m pretty sure my friends wondered why I was taking them to a litter-filled industrial area. Much like Styaks Swamp, this is definitely one to just tick of the list. It’s not your Sunday afternoon picnic kinda deal.

It took me 5 seconds maximum to climb to the top of Ash Hill

It took me 5 seconds maximum to climb to the top of Ash Hill

View from the top :-)

View from the “top”

This shallow crater spent only a few decades as a recognised and recognisable volcano before it was flattened by industrialisation. It is thought that the site has no Maori name and was first called Ash Hill after the nearby Ash Road but, get this, the road wasn’t named for volcanic ash but originally for a row of ash trees growing there!

Slight grassy slope of

Slight grassy slope of Ash “Hill”

Truck park from the (top) of Ash Hill

Truck park from the “top” of Ash Hill

Signs of an explosive past are all around us -we just have to notice them. These volcanic rocks are on Ash Road

Signs of an explosive past are all around us -we just have to notice them. These volcanic rocks are on Ash Road itself

28. Mount Roskill/Puketapapa

Visited on 29 June

This volcano I was sure would be amazing -the aerial shots of it are rather striking. Maybe it’s because I didn’t properly conquer it (just drove to the top and barely circumnavigated the cones) but I found it kinda boring and a little bit creepily isolated. There’s no definite point of interest and no pedestrian path beside the roadway yet there were enough people coming and going (in their vehicles).

Near the entrance. Interesting subjects for linear perspective vanishing point

Near the entrance. Interesting subjects for linear perspective vanishing point

I had no end of trouble trying to find this one -far out, the jolly thing isn’t even called Mt Roskill on the map but some Winstone Park in honour of the last European fulla to have owned it but who so kindly gave it to the council in 1928 to be a recreation reserve. My journey started out at Three Kings and went via Mt Albert (& Unitec) and just as I was driving down Dominion rd towards it, had it in my sights and everything, I had to go and turn right a few metres too early and ended up on the West bound on-ramp of the North Western motorway. Not to worry, volcanoes are round and I have a good sense of direction so I didn’t even need to stop and check a map but decided I would approach it from the other direction. Even knowing it was coming up and being in the correct (left) lane, I still had to make a last minute swerve to avoid the beckoning gulf of that dreaded on-ramp looming up ahead.

Steepness! On the all too common boulder-lined drive.

Steepness! On the all too common boulder-lined drive.

Finally I was on Winstone Park Domain soil! But still in my car and not wanting to be in the way I just sort of pointed my car forward and drove up the hill and when I reached a safe place to park, I got out and had a wee wander. It’s Auckland from another point of view, on a lovely clear late afternoon.

The hairy mop of Mt Albert silhouetted against the setting sun. Aaaaand that New World supermarket on Stoddard Rd gets fresh goat meat in every Tuesday.

The hairy mop of Mt Albert silhouetted against the setting sun. Aaaaand that New World supermarket down on Stoddard Rd gets fresh goat meat in every Tuesday.

Sky Tower & Mangawhau/Mt Eden (and my little blue car)

Sky Tower & Mangawhau/Mt Eden (and my little blue car)

This North facing view is taken from the highest point on the South side accessed by a short track and over a stile & another tiny track -it’s pretty obvious once you’re there. Mt Roskill was named by Alexander Kennedy, the first European to give Puketapapa a name, after Roskhill in Scotland but was sometimes known as Mt. Kennedy in the 19th century. In pre-European times there were two shallow craters on the summit and earthworks & pits round about but that all pretty much went when the water reservoir was installed inside the craters -yeah, the flat tops ain’t natural, surprise, surprise.

Industrial art (or some geo-survey marker thingy and a signal tower of some sort)

Industrial art (or some geo-survey marker thingy and a signal tower of some sort)

I confess that I do not know the significance of this rock plonked by the entrance. I thought there might’ve been some plaque or description on or nearby but I could see none. Maybe it’s as simple as “Hey! this mountain used to be a fire-spewing, rock-chucking volcano so just you look out, you”. And please appreciate the length I went to to snap this for you. You can’t tell but I’m basically perched on ledge 2metres high and one wrong move & I’d be sprawled in the traffic. Don’t tell Mum! (Hi Mum, just checking that you read my blog -you know I’m pretty nimble on my feet and trust my climbing instincts ay?)

The random rock of importance.

The random rock of importance.

8. Outhwaite Park (Grafton Volcano)

Visited on 4 January 2013

Outhwaite Park Flower Beds

Outhwaite Park Flower Beds

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Outhwaite Park (Grafton volcano) is the volcano nearest my work (in fact Auckland Hospital is founded on a base of basalt bedrock from this very volcano/actually just perched on the opposite side of this long lost crater), so near in fact that I decided to visit there after work one fine sunny afternoon. The place is just a section worth, a pretty decent section -a few acres perhaps.

A little bomb resting on lapilli

A little bomb resting on lapilli

There are mature oak trees, a garden complete with dedication plaque and playground. The only clue as to what lies beneath is the russet dirt and a few scoriacious pebbles scattered around the base of the oaks.

I will give the council the benefit of the doubt and say it was just after New Year celebrations.

I will give the council the benefit of the doubt and say it was just after New Year celebrations.

It was nice place to duck into and out of the hustle and bustle of Grafton/Newmarket but I personally will always favour the Auckland Domain just across the road.

Mt. Hobson in the near distance.

Mt. Hobson in the near distance.

From the back of this park there is a view through the trees of a large green hill which looks to be in walking distance (it was! and only about 30 minutes away). I used my fancy new phone to tell me it was Mt Hobson… then off I went…

Looking back at the second entrance/exit from the back of the park

Looking back at the second entrance/exit from the back of the park

Recommended for if you want to find a playground only a two minute walk on level ground from Auckland Hospital