Stop 2: Bastion Point
Visit this attraction on our Red Tour
Bastion Point offers magnificent views out over the Hauraki Gulf and Waitematā Harbour, as well as back to central Auckland. It's one of the best places in Auckland to take photos of the skyline and harbour. As the name suggests, its position overlooking the harbour makes it an ideal defence point for the city. The Māori name for this area is Takaparawhā.
This scenic area includes the Savage Memorial, which commemorates Michael Joseph Savage, one of New Zealand's most beloved prime ministers. It has beautifully kept gardens and a reflecting pool, with a delightful Art Deco memorial and obelisk.
Walk from Bastion Point to Mission Bay
From our Bastion Point stop you can also visit Mission Bay, a popular beach and park with a wide range of cafes and bars. Towards the front of the stop there is a path that leads down the hill to the beachside suburb of Mission Bay.
Here you will find a beautiful calm beach, a park with a fountain and plenty of room for picnics, and a range of shops and places to eat. Please note the path from Bastion Point to Mission Bay is fairly steep. If you're planning to return to this stop to continue your Explorer Bus tour, make sure you allow time for the return walk.
Walk from Bastion Point to Kelly Tarlton's
Another popular option is to walk from Bastion Point (or Mission Bay) back around the waterfront and rejoin the bus at Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium (Stop 3), just past the entrance.
This is an easy, flat walk and is very pleasant on a fine day. It will take you approximately 30 minutes to walk around Tamaki Drive to Kelly Tarlton's.
Bastion Point History
From the Savage Memorial you'll be able to see the Ngāti Whātua marae (meeting house). The Ngāti Whātua tribe originally held large areas of land around Auckland. Most of it was bought or confiscated by European colonisers, but the tribe still graciously gave Takaparawhā (Bastion Point) to the Crown to establish a defence post in 1885.
From 1885 until the end of WWII, Bastion Point was used on and off as a coastal defence post. Much of the original fort was used to build the Savage Memorial and little remains of the gun battery site.
After WWII, Bastion Point was no longer needed for defence purposes. However, the land was not returned to its original owners. Instead the government planned to sell it and build expensive houses on it. A group of protesters occupied Bastion Point for 506 days, until the police and army evicted them. Ten years later this shameful part of New Zealand history began to be put right when the Waitangi Tribunal supported Ngāti Whātua's claim to the land and it was returned with compensation.