Earlier this week a friend from Los Angeles and her partner were visiting New Zealand. I had a day off on Thursday, so rather than just catch up for coffee and lunch somewhere in the city I suggested going to Devonport, a harbourside suburb on the North Shore.
It is only a 12 minute ride across the harbour. Fullers offer services that run every half hour from Downtown Ferry Terminal.
After arriving in Devonport we walked up to North Head Historic Reserve. North Head is an easy 20 minute walk from Devonport ferry terminal. Walk along King Edward Parade past the Devonport Yacht Club. Just before the Navy Museum make a slight left at Cheltenham Road and take the second street on the right, Takarunga Road. The entrance is at the end of the road. Vehicle gates shut at 8pm and pedestrian gates close at 10pm.
North Head is one of two remaining volcanic cones that make up Devonport’s landscape. It was a fortified Maori pa site before European colonization. Military tunnels and underground storerooms were built here and still remain today and are open to the public to explore. You will need a torch or the light from your cellphone to properly explore these. North Head also features one of the last remaining disappearing guns in the world. There are two theatres, the Stone Kitchen Theatre and the Fire Command Post Theatre, which play short documentaries about the landscape and its history, which are well worth the watch.
Next we stopped at Torpedo Bay Navy Museum (64 King Edward Parade). It is a small museum with exhibits about The Royal New Zealand Navy, naval history, and the Navy’s connection with Devonport. Entry is free and museum is open 10am to 5pm, 7 days a week.
We walked back into Devonport Village and walked up Victoria Road. We stopped for lunch at the Devonport Stone Oven Bakery and Café (5 Clarence Street). A little bit of history the café is housed in the building that was originally the Telephone Exchange.
After lunch we walked up to Mount Victoria (access from Kerr Road). Like North Head this is an easy walk and is only 15 minutes from the ferry. Mount Victoria is 87 metres (283 feet) above sea level and like North Head provides picturesque views of Rangitoto Island and Auckland City.
Before heading back to catch the ferry we walked along the waterfront to the Devonport Naval Base. There is no public access pass the gate.
Devonport has an old English seaside village vibe to it and is a perfect outing.