Only a short 20 minute ferry ride away from Auckland’s CBD, visiting the seaside village of Devonport can sometimes feel like a whole world away from Auckland.
You can catch a ferry from Queen’s Wharf and it costs $12 for a return trip (although you can get a concession if you plan on making the trip more frequently). They leave regularly – every half hour on the hour for most hours of the day. Devonport is actually a great place to stay when you’re visiting Auckland. It’s a base away from the craziness of Auckland’s CBD, but is still oh-so-convenient. Accommodation prices tend to be lower; although it depends what you are after because the boutiquey stuff can get expensive quickly. There are direct ferries to Waiheke Island (see the Fuller’s timetable here) and there is plenty to do nearby. It takes quite a bit longer to get to by car, as you have to go right over the bridge – so I would avoid doing that if possible.
There are a number of things to do within Devonport itself, but being so small a lot if it may be weather dependent. In saying that though, it rained most of the time I was there but it is still small enough that in the rain breaks we were able to still cover most of the outdoorsy stuff.
When you arrive in Devonport, the main street, Victoria Road, is essentially straight ahead in front of you. The main street is jam-packed with restaurants, cafes (Manuka, Corelli’s and Portofino to name a few), boutique shops and the most well stocked second-hand bookshop (Bookmark) you ever will see. There’s definitely enough in and around Victoria Road to keep one’s self entertained for at least a few hours.
If the day happens to be a wet one, then continue up Victoria Road for a few hundred metres until you reach The Vic: Devonport’s own boutique cinema which also serves some of the best gelato in town. Once doubling as a music vennue, the main cinema sits with the screen at the back of a stage, and the surroundings were painted by someone who clearly used a palette of cutesie pastel colours. Another great indoor activity is visiting Devonport Chocolates. Not far from the main street, this boutique chocolatier is expensive but extremely charming. Luring you in with the offer of free samples, obviously it’s hard to say no – and it doesn’t take long to become mesmorised by the delicious smells and mouth-watering chocolates lining the walls. If you do purchase, I’m sure it will be well worth it – but be prepared to walk away with your pockets slightly lighter (although there’s no denying that you pay for what you get).
Hopefully the weather allows for some outside time, in which case I would head out east along King Edward Parade to North Head. You begin by walking alongside the waterfront, past the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum (another rainy day activity!) and right around the point, which brings you out at Cheltenham Beach. It is a stunning wee spot, rather fancied by kite-surfers, swimmers and the like. There are also some epic caves for exploring. You can also climb Mt Victoria (which was ironic, given we had come from Wellington) which isn’t too far at all and has an absolutely stunning church at its base.
A gorgeous wee spot that I would definitely recommend visiting if you get the chance.