From Pigeon Mountain in Half Moon Bay, you can see the Waitemata Harbour, the Tamaki River and the Manukau Harbour, as well as the wetlands and mangroves of the Wakaaranga Creek Reserve. Check out the boardwalks for pukeko nests (keep dogs on a leash at all times), join the 5km Pakuranga Rotary walkway for a great hike or cycle all the way through to Beachlands.
68 Pigeon Mountain Rd (or start from Gills Rd), Pakuranga
2. Mt Richmond (also known as Otahuhu)
Sir George Grey named this Mt Richmond, but Maori knew the mountain as O-Tahuhu (one of the leaders of the fleet which settled thereabouts in 1350AD). A reserve since the 1870s, this is a designated archaeological site with a cone pa. Although it has been altered, you can see the original explosion crater is vast — experts can spot numerous vents. The McLennan Hills to the east, plus Sturges Park at Otahuhu separate the Waitemata and Manukau Harbours. Portage Rd follows the path where ancient waka were hauled between the two harbours.
1110 Great South Rd, Mt Wellington
3. Mt Taylor (also known as Taurere or Taylors Hill Reserve)
Mt Taylor, or Taurere, is known for its naturalness and is of archaeological and geological value. Be aware that this is mainly used for grazing purposes, so watch for access. Auckland Council notes that little is known of the maunga, but it is a wonderful open space for those who like to walk.
46 Crossfield Rd, Glendowie
4. Mt Roskill (Puketapapa)
One of the most dominant landforms to the south of the city, Mt Roskill's volcanic cone has some terrific views from the summit, as well as great open space for hiking. Mainly known for the recreational area in Winstone Park, it is easily accessible from the bike trails and has good car parking facilities.
1109 Dominion Rd, Mt Roskill
5. Onepoto Domain (which joins Tuff Crater)
Onepoto Domain — a great walk and playground — and the adjoining Tank Farm (confusingly, this was also used for petrol storage, along with the better known one in Wynyard Quarter) is actually Tuff Crater (Te Kopua o Matakamokamo). The almost perfectly round explosion craters draining to the Waitemata Harbour (under the motorway) were originally freshwater lakes which became tidal after the last ice age. The Tuff Crater walkway doesn't quite circle the entire crater but there are plans to complete the circuit. You can spot grey heron, pukeko and even a kingfisher.
Onewa Rd or enter Tuff Crater from Exmouth Rd or St Peters St, off College Rd, Northcote.