An Auckland man was astonished to see campsites and trails of rubbish in the Auckland Domain, but it was what he found on closer inspection that is frightening - a corpse.

Michael Littlewood was walking towards his inner-city apartment from Whitecliffs College of Art and Design in Parnell when he decided to take a shortcut about 3.30pm on Tuesday.

"I thought I would just cut up through the Domain bushes and come up on the other side of the grounds."

As he was walking through the bushes, he came across a trail of rubbish and debris.

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"I came across all of these things and I was quite fascinated by the trail of destruction that appeared to have been left behind.

"Then I came across a tarpaulin all wrapped up, I thought it was a Guy Fawkes or a prank someone had left there."

Littlewood said he called out and approached the tarpaulin, and realised the "prank" was actually a human.

"But I wasn't 100 per cent convinced so I called the police and they came and confirmed it was in fact a deceased person."

He said the dead man "had been there for a while".

"It wasn't very nice. He was all covered up - his face was in a balaclava and his body was wrapped in the tarpaulin.

"It felt like a horror movie."

Littlewood said the body was close to a "campsite" of small tents and camouflaged tarpaulins.

He reported those to police as well.

"I don't think anyone would want to be sleeping so close to a dead body."

A police spokeswoman said the areas were checked and no other people were located nearby.

The death was not believed to be suspicious, she said.

The man was believed to be homeless, which Littlewood said made the discovery even more saddening.

"The fact that someone could be there dead and everyone is just walking past, it beggars belief."

Police were still in the process of identifying the man and notifying his next of kin, said a spokeswoman.

"The site is in a bush area, between pathways on the lower side of the domain, heading towards the tennis centre.

"It appears the person who has died has been rough sleeping, and has been there for several days at least."