If you’re visiting Auckland for a few days, a great place to get out and explore is Devonport. Just a short 15 minute ferry ride from Auckland’s downtown viaduct takes you across the harbour and straight into the heart of Devonport.
Exploring downtown Devonport
Devonport almost seems a world away from the hustle and bustle of Auckland’s cosmopolitan city centre, however a quick glance back will show you that the city is not all that far away and Devonport offers up some fantastic views back to the stunning Auckland city skyline, both during the day but especially at night.
Once you get out from the ferry terminal you immediately feel the slower pace of life and are welcomed by some beautiful flower beds that add some real colour and mark the bottom end of the main high street. A walk straight up Victoria Road, Devonport’s main high street reveals a plethora of quaint cafes and bars as well as some quirky gifts shops and touristy outlets. Take some time to sit back and do some people watching – it’s one of our favourite spots to watch the world go by.
King Edward Parade
If you are in the mood to stretch your legs, head right as you come out of the ferry terminal past the beach and out onto King Edward Parade. This beautiful tree-lined avenue is the perfect place to escape the sun or enjoy the autumnal colours as the trees begin to shed their leaves.
If you carry on walking down the parade, you will eventually come to the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum which is definitely worth a look and will tell you more about New Zealand’s naval history. It’s about a 20-30 minute walk from the ferry terminal and is well worth it. There’s a really nice cafe which is great on a sunny day as you can sit and admire the views back to the city and Auckland’s bays.
Exploring historic North Head
Once you have trekked it down to the Navy Museum, you may as well keep going to explore historic North Head. This site will give you a little bit of war history with the stunning backdrop of Rangitoto Island, the Waitemata harbour and sandy white north shore beaches.
Back in the 1870s with rumours of a possible invasion from Russia, the armaments began to be constructed. Guns were placed in strategic positions to defend the harbour with trained soldiers readied for battle. When the Russian invasion did not eventuate, the guns were dismantled BUT with the second world war looming, the defences were once again upgraded. There are still tunnels, underground store rooms and bunker rooms that you can explore with a torch.
Now North Head is a reserve run by the Department of Conservation with stunning views of the harbour and across to Auckland City. It is a bit of a hike to get to the top of the North Head reserve but well worth it for the stunning views. There are a series of loop walks which will take you to the various underground tunnels, storage rooms and armaments. You can find out more on the Department of Conservation website.
A day out in Devonport should be on any Auckland ‘to do’ list whether you’re exploring by foot and ferry or on your way back from one of our awesome road trips and you have the chance to pop in on your way back from the north.