One year of blogging

“As much as I love international travel I think it’s important (and cheaper) to get out there and explore one’s own backyard. So I’m starting this blog to encourage myself to get out there and do more things on my days off. So join me as I begin my journey to see what this great country has to offer…”

I wrote these words exactly one year ago today – January 16th 2014.

Call it a New Years Resolution or just a goal. Last year I decided that I wanted to do more with my days off work and get out of the house. So I created this travel blog to encourage and document my adventures around my home country of Aotearoa New Zealand.

My first was a day trip to Hobbiton – the location for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. It was a great start and was definitely one of my favourite outings from last year.

At Hobbiton - January 17th 2014

At Hobbiton – January 17th 2014

Despite living in Auckland for 6 years I am embarrassed to admit I had never been to places like the Auckland Art Gallery, Bastion Point and the Botanical Gardens. This blog gave me a reason to go and cross them off my list.

Michael Joseph Savage Memorial, Bastion Point

Michael Joseph Savage Memorial, Bastion Point

I also had a reason to revisit places like Devonport, Takapuna, Birkenhead, Orewa, Auckland Zoo, MOTAT, Auckland War Memorial Museum and Wintergardens, and the SKY Tower.

When I had 2 or 3 days off work I tried to get out of Auckland. During the year I visited Coromandel township, Waitomo Caves, Hamilton and Wellington.

Boat ride through Mangawhitikau Glowworm Cave - Waitomo

Boat ride through Mangawhitikau Glowworm Cave – Waitomo

I could post when I liked, there was no pressure. Some nice people read my posts. I helped a couple of people along the way like the lady who wanted to know the gate closing hours for Michael Joseph Savage Memorial / Bastion Point.

I don’t know where this blog will go this year or where it will take me. My only plan is to do more than I did last year and enjoy myself.

Thanks for reading. Have a fantastic and prosperous 2015!

New Year Fireworks - SKY Tower

New Year Fireworks – SKY Tower

Devonport

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Ferry to Devonport

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.

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Explore the tunnels at North Head Historic Reserve

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.

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Disappearing gun, North Head

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.

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Torpedo Bay Navy Museum

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.

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Mount Victoria

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.

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Posing for pictures outside Devonport Naval Base

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.