Last weekend we discovered an amazing place by chance. In the heart of Auckland and with a breathtaking view over Auckland. It is one of the most beautiful parks I have ever been to. The grass is unbelievably green. Precious old trees lined up gracefully one after the other. Little forests of pohutukawa, eucalyptus, pine, and so much more, planted with love, care, vision and style. Magnolia trees and daffodils in full blossom. Flocks of cute sheep having a really good time. People relaxing, having a barbecue, a jog, wandering around or just enjoying. Come along for a walk in Cornwall Park with me :)
The entrance to Cornwall Park is paved by huge pohutukawa trees, hence its name - Pohutukawa Drive. 400 beauties grow here ever since 1929! Must be amazing at Christmas with the bright red flowers in bloom. Did you know that it is also called the "Christmas tree" of New Zealand? :) I will definitely head back for some shots in December as this is one of my absolute big fave trees here!!! :D (You can also find them growing along the rocky coastline around Auckland or the Coromandel, simply breathtaking! I will dedicate a separate post to that soon, I promise.) I particularly loved the view right above my head as the leathery leaves and branches of the trees reached high up to the blue sky...
Metrosideros excelsa or pōhutukawa - a coastal evergreen from the myrtle family endemic to New Zealand with vibrant red/white/yellow flowers. Can grow up to 25 m high.
Along the main driveway there are two other paths, too, on both sides. Norfolk island pines. Glorious, tall trees, strong trunks. Fascinating. The different shades of green, the rays of light shining through, the incredible colors and the incredible atmosphere man and nature created together. Felt like walking in wonderland.
Araucaria heterophylla or star pine/triangle tree/living Christmas tree, it can grow up to 50-65 m high! It is originally from a small Pacific island - the Norfolk Island. It is technically not a real pine! (Pinus genus are from the northern hemisphere.)
Then something really cute drew our attention on the right. Cute brown cows. Laying on the sun, chilling. Grazing the grass. Laid back, not in a rush at all. Life is good, hey?
I loved the idea that the planners of the park actually made it possible for visitors and residents to interact and get to know each other better. By crossing an elevated stairs, anyone could just enter the "cow park" and get closer to the animals, observe them, touch them, smell them, see how they eat or drink. In the middle of the city. As a genuine place of discovery. If you want to. If you don't have the chance to grow up with animals on a farm at home. If you want to know how cow skin really feels like when you pat them. If you want to know how cows smell. If you dare to :) ...well, me, as a big city girl, who never saw big domestic animals in her childhood from close, definitely had to think twice about it, and finally just ended up watching, but still, it was a great experience :)
Surprise surprise, the kids love it. I couldn't stop smiling while checking out how these two approached the cows, slowly slowly, step by step, cautious yet full of excitement and curiosity. Like a test of confidence on both sides. So touching.
Our next stop. More trees. Each and every one of them special, gigantic, lush and ancient. One of the most remarkable ones that struck my attention was this Moreton Bay Fig, a native of Australia, planted in the early 1900's. During the past hundred years, its branches spread wide and far, as if it wanted to embrace the whole world. Providing shelter and shade, a place to rest or a playground if you wish :)
Ficus macrophylla - an evergreen banyan fig tree with beautiful, shallowly rooted buttress roots.
And it actually did embrace a palm tree - amazing, right? Watch those branches and roots hugging :) How artistic!
If you ever thought of having a wedding photo shoot surrounded by beautiful trees, I'm telling you, this is the perfect place you were looking for. Absolutely romantic :) And it is only winter right now. Imagine it in spring!
There is also an amazing eucalyptus grove in the middle of the park. I have always been a big fan of eucalyptus. The vivid and unique smell of this evergreen is a real treat for the soul and the body after a long, exhausting day or if you catch a cold. Eucalyptus oil is widely used in aromatherapy - I love to pour some droplets of oil in my bath to relax, too.
Apart from the intense aroma, the color of the bark and the long, thin leaves also fascinate me every time I have a closer look. Just immerse in the beauty...
Eucalyptus is from the same myrtle family as pohutukawa, yet native to Australia. The origin of its name comes from two Greek words: ευ (eu) "well" and καλύπτω (kalýpto) "to cover", with reference to the way its flowers are covered.
When I thought my heart was already 100% fulfilled of pure joy, we reached one of the best spots of the domain. Just next to the One Tree Hill. First I couldn't even believe my eyes! Cute little lambs wandering around, playing with the leaves, chasing mummy sheep, happily enjoying the last moments of sunshine of a late afternoon.
You have probably heard of the well-known sheep statistics of New Zealand. At least that there are a lot of sheep everywhere in this country. Well, as the latest research shows, for the New Zealand population of 4,5 million people, there are a total of 30 million sheep, meaning 6 cute little lambs per person! This means a lot of sheep... Wow! Some of them right here in the middle of the city :))) I felt like a big kid having a blast watching them.
A little note here on the establishment of this amazing park where history, nature, Maori culture and agricultural landscape all unite. Its name originates from the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (later King George V and Queen Mary of England) who toured the British Empire and New Zealand in 1901, as a tribute to the engagement during the Second Boer War in South Africa. This is when they received the deeds from Sir John Logan Campbell, one of Auckland's founding fathers, who purchased the land already in 1853 for farming, then later gifted Cornwall Park to the people of New Zealand for recreational purposes.
In order to conserve the natural beauty of the landscape, Austin Strong, a young landscape architect was asked to design the park, taking the Golden Gate Park of San Fransisco as a base for his creativity. Cornwall Park opened its doors to the public in 1903.
The fertile soil of the adjacent One Tree Hill - originally a volcano, actually the second largest around Auckland after the Rangitoto - makes it a perfect spot for nature to flourish. The big planting of the trees began around the 1920s. There is a wonderful note on this in the middle of the park.
They who plant an avenue of trees cannot in the nature of things hope to enjoy them in their maturity and grandeur, they plant for “generations unborn”. Much that we have and prize today comes to us from our fathers. They did not make or build to last their time but rather that something worthy should mark their passage and be their memorial.
Apart from the trees, there are also some beautiful flowerbeds throughout the park. The Horticultural Supervisor and staff decide on what to plant in there some 3 months in advance. A lot of planning and care. This time, vivid yellow daffodils greeted us cheerfully along the Twin Oak Drive, signalling the arrival of spring very soon :)
Towards the end of our loop, a breathtaking scenery crowned our walk, just behind the barbecue area and right next to the Cornwall Park Café. Bathing in the warm light of the setting sun, amazing pink magnolia trees emerged in full blossom, with hundreds of petals laying on the green grass. With the growing white moon slowly appearing over our heads. On the top of the hill, with a fascinating view over the city, the harbour and the blue ocean. With excited people happily enjoying these picturesque moments. What a wonderful way to end the day!
Cornwall Park, I am sure we will be back. There are plenty of more views and trees to discover. A cup of tea, or a lovely picnic to enjoy. More sheep and many many colorful birds to look at. Flowers and nature to smell. Watch the sunshine, watch the clouds go by. Watch the cherry trees blossom. Go for a guided tree walk. Go visit One Tree Hill. Go to the Stardome Observatory and watch the sky and stars up high. Me and my camera, we will be back!
Do you have a favourite park? Where? A favourite tree? Why?
Would love to hear!
***Got inspired? Thank you for sharing ;)
Join me on Facebook!
Sharing my passion for photography, New Zealand, nature, and a journey within.
See the Beauty. Let it shine!
© COPYRIGHT BinspiratioNZ 2015-2017. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
This website and its original content is copyright of BinspiratioNZ. All pictures taken by me unless otherwise stated. Happy if you share, and thanks for marking the original source :)