Auckland Days Out: Devonport and the North Shore

25th September, 2013

A sunny Sunday in Auckland!

And a lazy Sunday at that. But with most of our set-up admin behind us (banking – yawn! Electricity – yawn! Wifi – useful, but yawn!) and most of our sleeping patterns regulated, there was no excuse for sitting around the house. (Fun though it is to hang out with an 11-month-old, reading books entitled Sniff!)

So, with modest exertions in mind, we drove across to the North Shore – the headland we can see from our NZ home – and to the village of Devonport.

The view back to downtown Auckland from Devonport

The view back to downtown Auckland from Devonport

The North Shore doesn’t feel far from us, as we see it everyday, poking out between us and the looming Rangitoto Island. And indeed it is close – as the crow flies. But actually we’re on two opposite ends of a big C-shape of land.  So the drive took about 25 minutes – but offered dazzling views as we crossed Harbour Bridge: of blue water sparkling in the sun, dotted with pristine white sails and the arc of the coastline as it curved and swept its way out of Waitemata Harbour.

We weren’t the only ones to have the idea of visiting Devonport on this lovely day (cue cries of “obviously” and rolled eyes from locals), but it didn’t feel manic…just lazily bumbling. There were clusters of people, but they were all just humming along gently: café hoppers, bookshop browsers, fish and chip eaters seasoning their lunch with sea air and even a few children braving the still-chilly wind to frolic starkers in the shallows at the water’s edge.

But even better views called us on out of the languorous throng. So after a stroll in the dappled sunlight of the tree-lined waterfront, people-watching and admiring the elegant white villas, we had a light bite at Manuka, on Victoria Rd, and set off up the North Head.

The breeze was even more bracing at the top, but the lookout offered a great vantage point for Rangitoto Island and the islands beyond, the stretching shore of the mainland and the pocket of skyscrapers which almost incongruously punches up out of the heart of downtown Auckland.

Panoramic views from the top of North Head

Panoramic views from the top of North Head

There’s more to see and do in Devonport than we did: there’s a Navy Museum, the climb up Mount Victoria (like North Head, an extinct volcano), and we could’ve spent much more time in the shops and cafés of the village.

But as today was designated “slow”, we headed back instead, taking the long way back to the main road, along the far side of the headland – stopping to admire the boats and windsurfers at Narrow Neck Beach.

Rangitoto Island from Narrow Neck Beach

Rangitoto Island from Narrow Neck Beach

Ioan and I puddled around in some sand (for the first time in his short life).

Hubby and Ioan sat on a bench while I ambled dreamily up and down the beach.

We admired the café and potential picnic spots – and mentally marked the spot for another lazy, sunny Sunday.

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