Auckland Domain, known to locals as The Domain, has been a public garden since 1860. The land was once a Maori “pa,” a defended settlement used for crop growing and food storage. The land has an unusual formation, due to its origin as an extinct volcano. Natural amphitheaters make it the perfect place for sports grounds, and the fertile volcanic soil feeds the many exotic trees, gardens and native bushland in the 185-acre (75-hectare) park.
You’ll discover both old and modern artworks as you walk through the manicured lawns, avenues of trees and seasonal plantings within the park. Eight diverse sculptures by New Zealand artists make up a designated Sculpture Walk. The Wintergarden section of the park features several marble statues donated in the 1920s by a local businessman, as well as a recent sculpture by the Chinese-New Zealand artist Guy Ngan.
Explore historical buildings such as the Greco–Roman-style Auckland War Memorial Museum, which was built in 1929. Its displays include not only military exhibits, but also the history of New Zealand’s Maori and settlers, arts and crafts, and native flora and fauna.
Wander through changing tropical and temperate plant displays in the park’s impressive historic glasshouse, which was built in the 1920s. Enjoy a coffee or lunch in the café with a view over the duck pond. The pond was formed by natural springs, which were used in the mid-1800s to supply water to Auckland.
An arts festival is held every year in autumn, and brings both local and international acts together in a celebration of theater, dance, music and the visual arts.
Auckland Domain is easily accessible from most parts of Auckland by LINK Bus or Explorer Bus services. There is on-site and street parking, which is free for up to two hours.