If you are looking to embrace a local Kiwi village, Devonport is a historic seaside neighbourhood just minutes from downtown Auckland. You don’t need a car to get there—hop on the ferry for a short ride across the harbour to visit this picturesque site.
As you travel on the ferry boat, don’t forget to look back on the central business district of Auckland, as it is one of the best panoramic city views. The design of the nautically styled Hilton Hotel on the waterfront mimics a ship, and the historic Edwardian baroque Auckland Ferry Terminal makes for a fascinating waterfront, with skyscrapers and the 328 metre Sky Tower behind.
As you are coming into Devonport, you may notice naval vessels not far from the ferry terminal. The town is the home of the Royal New Zealand Navy, named after the Devonport naval base in England. Embarking from the ferry boat, you inhale the saltiness of the sea and may be lucky enough to see local fishermen on the Devonport Wharf, renowned for its great fishing. It’s an excellent spot to catch one of New Zealands’s most celebrated fish, snapper, as well as kingfish, and squid.
Explore Historic Victoria Street
Leading up from the ferry terminal, Victoria Street is a popular avenue with lots to explore. At the junction of Victoria Street and Windsor Reverse is the new Devonport library, designed by renowned New Zealand architects Athfield Architects. This innovative library caters for everyone, including its resident cat, Benjamin. Thanks to a special cat door, he can come and go as he pleases.
Farther up the main street are several cafés and restaurants, where you’ll see the locals happily hanging out. Interspersed between them are fashionable boutiques and an eclectic range of shops, perfect for finding a souvenir for your trip. The village also boasts the earliest purpose-built cinema in the southern hemisphere, still operational today.
To explore beyond the main street, there are several options to fit every personality. Those ready for a quiet afternoon will enjoy the historic self-guided audio tour. A rentable audio device and headphones are available from the visitor information centre at Devonport Wharf, or you can download the tours to your mobile device.
For the more adventurous, explore the region with a magic broom stick: your Segway, rented from Magic Broomstick Tours. Ride around the waterfront to the stunning Cheltenham beach, or take the North Head Historic Sites Tour and explore the military fort of the 1880s. If you’re after a magnificent view, ride to the top of the mountain on the Mount Victoria Scenic Tour, and take in the most spectacular views of Auckland City, Rangitoto Island, and the historic “Disappearing Gun.”