This historic harbourside suburb boasts unbeatable views of Auckland’s city skyline, as well as a charming assortment of sea-front stores, everything from chic cafes and restaurants to cute boutique clothing and book stores. Devonport is steeped in a rich Naval history, and the buildings in the area look quite unlike the rest of Auckland’s architecture. The National Museum of the Royal New Zealand Navy sits proudly to the west of Devonport Wharf, and is open seven days a week from 10.00am until 5.00pm (entry is free). Devonport is also home to an historic suburban movie theatre, The Vic, which does $10 movies every Tuesday.
Just a half-hour walk east along the water’s edge from Devonport Wharf, you’ll find the marvel that is North Head. North Head is a volcanic cone that has become the natural gateway to Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour. When you reach the top of North Head, you’ll be treated to almost 360-degree views of the ocean and the most up-close-and-personal views of Rangitoto Island that Auckland has to offer. Because of North Head’s unique location, it was used by the military for coastal defence as far back as 1885. Today, the mountain is still filled with secret tunnels, forts and look-outs which are open for everyone to explore—just make sure you’ve got a torch or a phone light handy to help you through the darkest parts of the underground maze.
If you’re in the mood for a cheap, easy and super relaxed day away from the sound of the city, we can’t recommend a boat ride over to Devonport followed by an afternoon stroll up North Head more strongly. Finish the day off with some fish and chips on Devonport’s oceanfront reserve, soaking up the views of the sun setting on the city, before riding the ferry back into downtown Auckland (last sailing at 11.45pm Monday – Thursday, 1.15am Friday and Saturday, and 10.30pm on Sundays).
North Head, Cheltenham, Belmont, Takapuna.