Maungauika / North Head Map
Summit road gate access hours
Times align to daylight savings.
North Head / Maungauika scenic walk
Ready for one of the most scenic and historical walks in Auckland? Start your journey at Cheltenham Road, just a 15-minute walk from Devonport Ferry Terminal. You can get there by heading east along the Devonport waterfront.
Find your own route to the summit or head down Takarunga Rd to the base of North Head / Maungauika. Follow the road up the hill for great views of Waitematā Harbour, Auckland CBD, Rangitoto Island, and the Tīkapa Moana/Hauraki Gulf.
The path is pram-friendly and has a bunch of historical artifacts and buildings along the way. Bring a flashlight to explore the tunnels!
The summit, or tihi, offers amazing panoramic views. It was a key lookout and defensive fort for both Māori and European settlers. When you're ready to head back down, use the stairs or return along the road. Enjoy your hike and the stunning scenes :^)
Historical landmarks to look out for on Maungauika / North Head
1. North Battery - a 19th-century gun battery, one of three on North Head / Maungauika designed to defend Rangitoto Channel. The cut up gun close to the North Battery is an 8-inch disappearing gun from North Head / Maungauika. The intact gun is a 6-inch disappearing gun, originally mounted at Bastion Point / Takaparawhā.
2. 4-Inch Battery Observation Point - this observation post features a mural indicating gun bearing degrees.
3. 6-Inch Battery Mk VII Battery - This gun battery underwent multiple relocations from its initial construction in 1904 at the summit to its eventual completion at this site in 1910. The guns themselves have since been scrapped.
4. Barracks - a grey wooden barracks built in 1885 by the Armed Constabulary, used as barracks and then a prison until 1914. Behind the wooden barracks, you'll find three tunnel entrances to the Summit Battery.
5. 8-inch Gun Pit - this empty emplacement once held an 8-inch disappearing gun, while underground tunnels stored ammunition. The concrete building on top of the summit (built in 1937) served as the Fire Commander's Post during World War II. The other gun pit nearby (built in 1885) housed a 7-inch rifled muzzle loader gun.
6. 8-inch gun and Saluting Battery - the big green gun, dating back to 1886, is one of the few 8-inch disappearing guns left in the world. The row of smaller guns served as a saluting battery, firing a 21-gun salute to Queen Elizabeth II during her 1953 visit, and forming part of a war memorial for gunners from both World Wars. The conical-roofed structure nearby was the observing station for aiming the large gun.
Learn more about the artillery & gun batteries.
7. Ali's Cave - during WWII the 40 men who worked the searchlights lived here. Their commanding officer was Major Ezra Badger. The group were known as “Ali Badger and his 40 Thieves”.
8. Engine Room - this housed engines used to generate electricity for the searchlights.
9. Minefield Observation Post - mines were placed across the harbour on cables stretching from North Head / Maungauika to Bastion Point / Takaparawhā, and were controlled and fired from this building.
10. Searchlight Tunnels - these tunnels were used to operate and maintain the searchlights. The rails in the floor were used to move a searchlight between different positions.
11. Boom Defence System - some remains can be seen here where the minefield cables attached to the coast. The minefield was dismantled in 1908.
12. Annie’s Cave - hidden behind this searchlight emplacement is a large cave, thought to have been built by convicts, and may have been used to service the minefields. Rumour has it that some of the men were also entertained in this cave, maybe by someone called Annie?
13. Perfume Point - once a main sewer outfall from a tunnel that went under North Head / Maungauika.
14. Searchlight Emplacements - many concrete structures around North Head / Maungauika were home to searchlight emplacements, built between the late 1800s and 1930s.
15. Anti -Torpedo Boat Defences - several guns were mounted on Cheltenham Beach to repel torpedo boat attacks.