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. Around 200 of the 5000 planted olive trees remain in our Olive Grove, all planted by Sir John in the late 1860s, following his return from Italy (the trees came from South Australia). They were planted for fruit production; however, this proved difficult as the soil conditions weren’t suitable and the olives produced small fruits. But, thanks to Sir John, this started a foundation for the olive oil industry in New Zealand.


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

Pōhutukawa Drive was planted with 400 Pōhutukawa and 100 Norfolk Pines, planted in 1929. The position of the Norfolk Pines behind the Pōhutukawa means that the Pōhutukawa grow inwards towards the road, creating a lovely shaded canopy. 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 among 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. Two of our tōtara trees in the native arboretum are almost 100 years old.


Origin Native NZ
Found Pūriri Drive, scattered around the park

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 caterpillar, which is New Zealand’s largest moth.

Horse Chestnut

Origin Southern Europe
Found Near main car park

Our horse chestnuts were planted in the 1960s, along with the closely related red horse chestnuts, which produce deep red flowers rather than white and pink. Horse chestnuts are large deciduous trees that are not actually true chestnuts. Horse chestnut conkers (the nut-like seeds) are poisonous to most animals (including humans) and will cause sickness if eaten.


Origin California
Found Near Native Arboretum

Many of our macrocarpa trees were planted on farmland as shelter belts by Sir John Logan Campbell in the late 1800s. These trees thrive in New Zealand due to our temperate climate and can get much larger here than in their native habitat. Some of the largest and oldest trees in the park are the macrocarpa along Old Avenue (bottom of native arboretum).

Algerian Oak

Origin Algeria, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, Morocco
Found Western side of Pōhutukawa Drive, Twin Oak Drive

The Algerian oak near Pōhutukawa Drive was planted in the early 1920s. Its large canopy spread and impressive girth make it one of the best-formed Algerian oaks in New Zealand, and it is thus listed as a notable tree in the New Zealand Tree Register. Twin Oak Drive was planted in 1934 with a variety of oak species and hybrids.

Morton Bay Fig

Origin Eastern coast of Australia
Found Main carpark, next to Acacia cottage, western side of Pōhutukawa Drive

Moreton Bay figs are undoubtedly key feature trees of Cornwall Park. The trees are best known for their aerial and buttress roots, an adaptation to survive in nutrient-poor rainforest soils. They are the widest-spreading tree in the park. Port Jackson figs are also present throughout the park; they look similar but have smaller fruit and less prominent buttress and aerial roots.


Origin China
Found Between Pōhutukawa Drive and the cafe

Our much-admired group of ginkgo trees was planted in the late 1960s when part of the Cornwall Park Geriatric Hospital building was removed. The gingko fruit - a Chinese delicacy - ripen in March/April. You’ll see the leaves, commonly used in natural medicine, turn yellow in May/June.

Cherry blossom

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

Our cherry blossom trees were planted in the 1980s, and we have seven different kinds in the park. They are good shade trees as they often grow wider than they are tall. The much-admired blossoms only last two to three weeks during spring.

Native Arboretum

Where Area between the main carpark and the grass hill in front of Acacia Cottage

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 and long-lived trees in the world. Our kauri groves were planted in the 1920s–1940s. Please keep out of the roped off area around the groves to keep our kauri healthy - they are at risk from kauri dieback disease which is spread through soil.

Magnolias and Liquidambar

Near the cafe and wood BBQs you’ll find Magnolias and Liquidambars. Liquidambar are a sight to behold in Autumn with leaves of yellow, orange, red and purple. Magnolias are best seen in spring with their pink and white 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 and hybrids 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, English Oak and hybrids between these species.


Origin Australia
Found Eucalypt arboretum, bottom of native arboretum

Cornwall Park has one of the most diverse collections of eucalypts in one area in New Zealand, with more than 40 species of Eucalyptus present in the park. Most are found in the eucalypt arboretum, which was planted around 1934. . Eucalypts have adapted to fire by having fire-resistant seeds (called serotiny) or the ability to resprout after a fire.


Origin Endemic NZ
Found End of Twin Oak Drive, Kauri Steps, around the park

There are several groups of karaka trees in the park, which are thought to be remnants from pre-European settlement. Kererū are the only birds large enough to swallow the fruit to disperse their seeds, and sometimes get so full from eating the fruit they struggle to fly! The name “karaka” comes from the Māori word for orange (the colour of the fruit)

Coast redwood

Origin Coastal California
Found Next to kauri grove near bistro carpark

Coast redwoods are one of the tallest and longest-living trees on earth - they can grow up to 115m tall and their trunks can have diameters of up to 6m!. They don’t have deep taproots, so they stay upright by interlacing their roots with the roots of other nearby trees.


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 (known as cauliflory) and it has large, glossy pinnate leaves which are characteristic of tropical species. The wood was used by Māori for canoe building and carving, and the bark was boiled and drunk as a tonic.


Origin Endemic NZ
Found Native Arboretum, edge of Twin Oak Drive

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. They flower from July to November and are an important nectar source for native birds, particularly favoured by tūī. Kōwhai is considered New Zealand’s unofficial national flower as it’s one of our most widely recognised native trees.


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 Arboretum

Oil from the Tītoki seed was used by Māori as hair/body oil, for treatment of sore or inflamed joints and as a laxative. The tree produces small flowers in spring but they take up to a year to mature into fruit. The bright red fruit attracts birds and insects from October to February.

Cabbage Tree (Tī kōuka)

Origin Endemic NZ
Found Main roundabout, scattered around the park

Cabbage trees are important habitat for many invertebrates. For example, nine species of insects live only on cabbage trees. The stems and fleshy rhizomes were an important source of food for Māori, as they are high in carbohydrates. The tough leaves were used for fibre and made into a medicinal tea.

Norfolk Island Pine

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

These trees are in the same family (Araucariaceae) as our endemic Kauri. They have become widespread throughout temperate regions of the world, but are listed as vulnerable due to their restricted native range. Note the characteristic star-shaped arrangement of branches.


Origin South America
Found Opposite Grand Drive BBQ area

Jacaranda is used as an ornamental and street tree in temperate and subtropical regions due to its hardiness, fast growth rate and abundant, long-lasting flowering. It is pollinated by insects (especially bees) and its seeds are dispersed by wind. The flowers, leaves and bark are used in both traditional and modern medicine.