During my first trip to New Zealand, I took the short ferry ride from Auckland to Devonport rather a lot. Each time I would walk the coastline to North Head Historic Reserve to take in amazing views of the surrounding islands, explore bits of history, and just enjoy the beautiful space. Upon returning to New Zealand with my husband it was the very first place we went on the very day our plane landed. North Head is such an easy excursion from Auckland that even after 13 hours on a plane we still enjoyed it.
North Head Historic Reserve sits on an old volcanic cone formed about 50,000 years ago - so check, super cool geology. In the 1840s it became a pilot station to guide ships into Auckland's harbor, and by 1885 a defense fort was built on the island for fear of war with the Russians. Today, it's a public reserve where you can get lost in dark tunnels, have a picnic with gorgeous views, lounge by the water, or even get married!