What I love Auckland for is the fact that although all the benefits of civilization seem to be present here – the city and, above all, its center, has a very modern infrastructure, at the same time, there are many places where you can hide from the hustle and bustle and feel as if you were in a quiet cozy hinterland. One of Auckland’s oldest suburbs, Devonport Village, is one such place.
Devonport is located on the opposite shore of Waitemata Harbour from the center of Auckland, at the southern end of a small peninsula that stretches from Pupuke to Takapuna, and forms the northern part of Waitemata. It is an area of expensive mansions, gift stores and galleries with picturesque beaches and cozy piers.
From the point of view of landscapes Devonport is notable for the fact that on a small, in general, the territory is located three mountains – Mount Victoria, North Head and between them Mount Cambria. However, the latter has almost nothing left, now it is rather just a small hill. But 40,000 years ago, all three of these mountain formations were volcanic islands.
Māori began settling Devonport as early as the mid-14th century, and Europeans from the 1830s onwards. Devonport was settled in 1840, shortly after the Europeans arrived. This suburb of Auckland did not get its current name, Devonport Village, right away. It was originally called Flagstaff because of the flagpole that was erected on Mount Victoria the year the neighborhood was founded. However, as early as 1859, Flagstaff was renamed Devonport in honor of the British port town of that name.
The British quickly appreciated the exceptionally convenient location of Devonport – from Mount Victoria and North Head perfectly tracked all ships entering the harbor. This is why the New Zealand Navy base was established here, which is still located in Devonport today.
What to see in Devonport?
Devonport is a small suburb, but there is definitely plenty to see! You can spend a whole day in Devonport and still find plenty to do. The most important thing is that the weather holds up. The best way to get around Devonport is on foot or by bike, which you can rent. You can also drive, but in my subjective opinion, driving around Devonport by car, you risk missing all the most interesting things, and most importantly – you will hardly feel the spirit of this wonderful place. By the way, in Devonport there is another interesting mode of transportation, which can be used by everyone – a horse-drawn baby carriage.
The two most, perhaps, major attractions in Devonport are the already mentioned Mount Victoria and North Head. Both Mount Victoria and North Head offer magnificent views of Devonport, Waitemata Bay and sweeping panoramic views of Auckland.
Mount Victoria is located practically in the center of Devonport. To reach it, you need to walk down Victoria Road, Devonport’s most important street, and exit onto Kerr Street. From there it’s an easy climb up the mountain, which will only take you a few minutes.
Devonport is one of Auckland’s most picturesque suburbs
You can see the Auckland coastline from Mount Victoria! It’s a magnificent sight and worth the climb alone. From the top of Mount Victoria you can also enjoy the views of Devonport. However, even beyond the views there are some interesting things to see, such as old military bunkers and cannons. On sunny warm days you can lie on the grass, relax, enjoy the views and meditate in the company of other vacationers next to the cheerful fly fishermen.)
North Head Mountain is located in another part of the suburb. It can be reached via the picturesque King Edward Parade promenade. Along the promenade are Devonport’s luxury villas, including historic Victorian mansions dating back about a hundred years. Devonport has an old-fashioned atmosphere, and it feels like time flows slower in this Auckland suburb than it does outside. It’s hard to believe that Auckland’s CBD is just a stone’s throw away!
There are bunkers and cannons on North Head too, and there are even tunnels where you can go down and walk underground for a bit. In addition, there is a lot of interesting local vegetation, which involuntarily attracts attention while you walk along the paths. By the way, if you do decide to go by car, both Mount Victoria and North Head have parking lots, from which it is not far to walk to the viewing platforms.
Another attraction of Devonport is its main street (the same street from which we climbed Mount Victoria) – Victoria Road. It starts right from the ferry terminal. There are many old buildings, cozy cafes and restaurants where you can sit and admire the peaceful flow of life. The small park at the beginning of Victoria Road hosts various events from time to time, and you can constantly see locals and tourists picnicking here.
All in all, Devonport is a wonderfully picturesque place and if you’re a walker, you’ll love it.