See & Do

With over 350 species and 8000 trees, Cornwall Park has the trees for you!

The trees you see today were part of a vision over 100 years ago created by Sir John Logan Campbell and his landscape architect, Austin Strong.  Which makes sense - planting trees is always about looking to the future, as they take years to grow. 

You’ll notice as you walk that there are trees everywhere - they are the stars of the park, shape the paths and views, provide shade, bring beauty, are home to birds and insects, reflect our heritage, and are far enough apart so you have the space to play.  

Many of our trees are native to New Zealand, including a Pōhutukawa over 150 years old. Our trees are cared for by a team of arborists (kaitiaki rākau) - they monitor them, fix them when they’re damaged or unhealthy, prune them and ensure they are safe to be around. You may even spot an arborist up a tree as you wander the park! 

We plant 80–100 trees each year – to replace those that have reached the end of their life cycle, as part of new designs or developments, or to assist with a healthy ecosystem.

Our trees are an important part of what makes Cornwall Park special.  

See our trees and tree map below. 


Origin The Mediterranean Region
Found Olive Grove

Olive trees are along the Olive Grove, where you’ll find some of our oldest trees and the source of our olive oil. In recent years we’ve even be able to produce a small batch of olive oil (not enough to sell though)! The twisted trunks tell many stories - see if you can spot the one that has a Fig tree wrapping around it.


Origin Endemic NZ
Found Pōhutukawa Drive, near Huia Lodge and around the park

Pōhutukawa Drive was planted with 400 native Pōhutukawa trees in 1929 and 100 Norfolk Pines, planted in 1929. The position of the Norfolk Pine means that the Pōhutukawa tree grow towards the road. See them flower with different shades of red in December. To see a yellow-flowering Pōhutukawa, head to the carpark next to the Bistro.


Origin Endemic NZ
Found Native Arboretum and scattered around the park

Tōtara are amongst the forest giants of New Zealand, and Māori referred to them as Rakau Rangatira – the chiefly tree. Totara is the primary wood used in Maori carving. Our trees are over 90 years old!


Origin Native NZ
Found Pūriri Drive and just down from Huia Lodge

Pūriri Drive is home to rows of Pūriri trees, Phoenix Palms, and Cherry Blossoms. Pūriri trees fruit and flower all year, so they play an important part in the ecosystem by keeping birds fed throughout winter. Their trunks are also home for the Pūriri Moth, New Zealand’s largest moth.

Horse Chestnut

Origin Southern Europe
Found Near main car park

These trees are thirsty - they can draw up to 50,000 litres of water in a single year! Horse chestnut conkers (the nut-like seeds) are poisonous to most animals and will cause sickness if eaten.


Origin California
Found Near Native Arboretum

These trees thrive in New Zealand due to our temperate climate and can grow much larger here compared to in their native habitat.

Algerian Oak

Origin Algeria, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, Morocco
Found Poplar Steps, main car park, Twin Oaks Drive

The Algerian Oak is a mighty tree, standing at 18m tall, 3m in diameter, and nearly 100 years old. It is one of the largest trees in the park.

Morton Bay Fig

Origin Eastern coast of Australia
Found Poplar Steps and near main car park

These trees are big grand trees and are easily identifiable by their roots protruding from the ground. Each species of fig tree relies on a single species of wasp for pollination. The wasps also depend on the fig trees to breed - this is called a mutualistic relationship.


Origin China
Found Between Pōhutukawa Drive and the cafe

The Chinese native, Gingko biloba, are planted on the old hospital site. The gingko fruit - a Chinese delicacy - ripen in March/April. You’ll see its leaf, commonly used in natural medicine, turn yellow in May/June.

Cherry (Prunus sp.)

Origin Japan, China, Korea, India
Found Near main carpark, Puriri Drive

We have several Cherry tree species of Asian origin in the park. Cherry Blossoms are the national flower of Japan and the universal symbol of spring. You’ll see them in bloom from late September to mid October for three to four weeks.

Native Arboretum

Where Area between the main carpark and the grass hill in front of Huia Lodge

The Native Arboretum is where the trees frame the edges of the central green lawn next to the main carpark. Here you'll find Totara, Kohekohe, Kowhai, Titoki, Rimu, and more! This is the perfect spot for picnics with lots of shade and space to play.


Origin Endemic NZ
Found Kauri Groves

Kauri are endemic to New Zealand and are among the most ancient trees in the world. They act as a foundation species that modify the soil under the canopy, making it acidic and creating a unique plant community. When Kauri leaves fall and decay, they excrete acidic compounds through the soil, which keeps most other trees from thriving nearby. Only specialised plants can live on Kauri soil. Our Kauri Grove is home to five native species - Kauri, Rimu, Totara, Tanekaha and Kohekohe, which were mostly planted in 1947. With the trees standing tall, it’s the perfect spot to be immersed in the wonders of New Zealand native trees. But please keep out of the fenced off area to keep our Kauris healthy - they are at risk from Kauri Dieback Disease which is spread through soil.

Magnolias and Liquid Amber

Near the cafe and BBQs you’ll find Magnolias and Liquid Ambers. Liquid Amber is a sight to behold in Autumn with leaves of yellow, orange, red and purple. Magnolias are best seen in spring with their pink flowers in full-bloom.


Origin Europe, Asia, North America
Found Twin Oaks drive and scattered around the park

We have a wide variety of oak species around the park which have origins all over the world. We have oaks from Asia - Japanese Tan Oak, Oriental White Oak and Ban Oak, from Europe - Algerian Oak, English Oak, Holm Oak and Sessile Oak, and from North America - Pin Oak and Red Oak. A favourite walking and jogging spot for locals is through Twin Oak Drive, where you’ll find yourself surrounded by Oak trees. Look up to see the full beauty of the natural arch they make. Oak species along Twin Oaks drive include Algerian Oak, Sessile Oak and English Oak.


Origin Australia
Found Eucalypt grove next to Kauri grove and scattered around the park

We have a wide variety of Eucalyptus species around the park, the biggest of which is Eucalyptus smithii (gully gum), the largest Eucalypt species that grows in New Zealand.


Origin Endemic NZ
Found Kauri Steps, Native Arboretum

The park’s karaka trees date back to Māori occupation of the land. Kererū are the only birds able to disperse seeds of the Karaka tree, and sometimes get so full from eating Karaka fruit they struggle to fly!

Coastal Redwood

Origin Coastal California
Found Next to Eucalypt grove by Bistro carpark

Coastal redwoods are one of the tallest and oldest trees on earth. They don’t have deep taproots, so they stay upright by interlacing their roots with the roots of other nearby trees. Sometimes they get so tall it gets hard to get water all the way up to the top, so they drink water up through their leaves!


Origin Endemic NZ
Found Native Arboretum, between Memorial Steps and Old Avenue

Kohekohe is unique in that its flowers and fruit grow directly from the trunk and it has large, glossy pinnate leaves which are characteristic of tropical species. Maori boiled the bark in water and drank it as a tonic. Kohekohe is also known as New Zealand Mahogany as it is a close relative of true mahogany.


Origin Endemic NZ
Found Native Arboretum,

Kōwhai flowers are a source of yellow dye pigment (kōwhai is te reo for yellow). All parts of the plant, particularly the seeds, are poisonous.


Origin Native NZ
Found Near Cafe carpark and Kauri Steps

A member of the coffee family (Rubiaceae), Taupata seeds can be dried, roasted and drunk as a coffee substitute. This plant was also used to extract a yellow dye.


Origin Endemic NZ
Found Native Arboreyum

Oil from the Tītoki seed was used by Māori as hair/body oil, for treatment of sore or inflamed joints and as a laxative. Its bright red fruit attracts birds from October to February.

Cabbage Tree (Tī kōuka)

Origin Endemic NZ
Found Main roundabout, cherry grove, scattered around the park

The Cabbage Tree is an important habitat tree for many species. For example, nine species of insects live only on this species of tree. It was traditionally used for food and provided durable fibre for ropes, baskets, textiles and clothing.

Norfolk Island Pine

Origin Norfolk Island
Found Main entrance area, around Bistro, scattered throughout the park

These trees are in the same family as our endemic Kauri. They have become widespread throughout temperate regions of the world. Note their characteristic star-shaped arrangement of branches.