Stewart’s Lava Cave

One of my favourite things about Auckland are the ~50 volcanoes scattered across the city. There are also rather excitingly a number of lava caves, through which molten lava traveled before finally settling downhill / in the sea somewhere. There are three main ones I know about, easily accessible if not huge on Rangitoto, huge but very inaccessible (DOC controlled) in Wiri, and large and occasionally accessible in Three Kings, which I recently visited through the University of Auckland.

Stewart’s Cave in Three Kings is located in someone’s back garden! It’s about 180m in length, up to 14m wide and 8m high in places. It was discovered in 1850 by R. Taylor but is named after James Stewart who developed a comprehensive map of the cave in 1869.dsc06925Here’s the slightly man modified cave entrance, with a gate to try and control access for safety reasons.

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You head down a slope into a high ceilinged space, covered in metallic looking material which is mainly reflections from the wet rock.dsc06920dsc06928 dsc06930dsc06926

Moving further on, down a much steeper slope you are confronted with rather sizeable tree roots working their way down from the roof of the cave.dsc06940 dsc06944 dsc06945 dsc06951

Access to the next areas requires rather a lot of crouching and justifies wearing a hard hat, but it’s worth it for another large cave area and more tree roots.dsc06954 dsc06961 dsc06966 dsc06981

There’s a short cut back out of the cave for those feeling brave (not me!) to climb up and wiggle through what looked like a rather small gap from below!dsc06991 dsc06993 dsc06994

And still looks pretty small from the other side!dsc07005

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