About the path
Maungauika / North Head
erupted about 90,000 years ago. It’s believed that Maungauika used to be an island after the last ice age before a sand and shell spit formed, linking it to the rest of the North Shore.
The Māori name was traditionally Maunga-a-Uika, meaning the mountain of Uika, a young relative of the Māori voyager Toi-te-huatahi.
At the base of Maungauika, where the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum now sits, archaeologists uncovered one of the oldest Māori occupation sites in Tāmaki Makaurau including charcoal ovens, moa bones and shell midden.
The location of Maungauika at the entrance to the Waitematā Harbour made it an important coastal defence. It was fears of a Russian invasion in the 1880s that led to the construction of a fort and the three disappearing gun batteries dotted along the maunga (mountain).
Ownership of Maungauika / North Head was returned to mana whenua as part of a 2014 Te Tiriti o Waitangi redress and is managed by the Tūpuna Maunga Authority.
The Maungauika / North Head path takes you from the shore of the Waitematā to the top of maunga. Our suggested start is from Cheltenham Road, which is a 15-minute walk from the Devonport Ferry Terminal.
If you’re walking from the ferry, you could also complete the Devonport Waterfront Path along the way, which connects to Cheltenham Road.
The first part of the route follows residential streets to the base of Maungauika / North Head where the easiest route is to follow the former road. There are great views over the Waitematā Harbour to the city centre, and as you head up the maunga, over Rangitoto Island and the broader Tīkapa Moana / Hauraki Gulf.
The path is manageable with a pram buggy and offers a range of points of interest along the way. If you want to explore the tunnels it is handy to have a torch on you.
The tihi (summit), which looks across Tīkapa Moana / Hauraki Gulf, was an important lookout point and defence site for Māori who once called this maunga home, and the European settlers who came later.
As you head down the maunga there is a direct route using stairs, otherwise you go back the way you came to stay on the sealed path.