Glendowie is located on the north-eastern extent of the Auckland Isthmus. Its northern and eastern boundaries are defined by the Waitamata Harbour and the Tamaki Estuary.
The suburbs exhibit an affluent suburban residential character. Glendowie has 4 schools: Glendowie Primary, Glendowie College, Churchill Park School, and Glen Taylor School. Sacred Heart College is nearby in Glen Innes.
The suburb was established in the 1920s, when George Riddell created a loop road through the area. It is named after one of the Taylor Brothers' farm estates. Three of the brothers had farms in this area and built houses; Charles John Taylor at Glen Orchard (now St. Heliers), William Innes Taylor at Glen Innes, and Richard James Taylor at Glen Dowie.