Auckland Stories and Tips

Devonport: Old Town Delight

War Memorial Photo, Auckland, New Zealand

Devonport, one of Auckland’s oldest suburbs, was founded in 1840 by European Settlers. It sits on the North Shore on the end of a peninsula that juts out into the Waitemata Harbour. A regular ferry service runs from the CBD (Central Business District) of Auckland to Devonport taking only about 15 minutes. A Naval Station is located here in Devonport and is one of the oldest tenants.

This little town is a wonderful place to just wander. Grand houses, a tree-lined waterfront, abundant restaurants, antique shops and book stores will fill your day before you know it. With plenty of shopping and green space to balance it out, Devonport is a must-see part of a visit to Auckland.

Our day actually started out in Dunedin and after a flight back to Auckland we picked up our rental car at Auckland’s Airport and decided to drive straight out to Devonport. It was our last day in New Zealand and it was a bright sunny day, Devonport seemed like a great end to our holiday.

There were plenty of spaces available along the busy streets. We found a space and parked for a couple of hours while we had a look around and grabbed lunch.

Lunch was a place called Manuka. It was recommended to me by a friend. Although the food was excellent, I have never had such horrible service anywhere. The waitresses couldn’t manage a smile or any friendly pleasantries. When one waitress brought new cutlery to the table between courses she didn’t even speak to us or make eye contact. We sat outside at the awning-covered tables like most other patrons. They weren’t all that comfortable and you had to watch out for the little nuisance sparrows flying around and landing on the chairs and by your feet and you also had to take notice of the large sea birds flying above your heads…I think that is why they have the awning, just don’t sit too close to the edge. I had coconut crusted prawns that were out of this world, but the service was a real downer. I would recommend the restaurant for the food, but be forewarned that we had incredibly poor service. For the price you pay for your meal, you would expect much better than we got.

After lunch we wandered up Victoria Road to a used book shop called "Hard to Find (But Worth the Effort)" where we spent a considerable amount of time just browsing through thousands of book on every available topic. We even ended up buying a few books to take home with us. Visit them on www.hardtofind.co.nz.

Just across the road from Manuka is Jackson’s Muzeum, you can’t miss it, British and New Zealand telephone boxes sit atop and in front of this large white building. This has become an institution in Devonport. Not so much a museum as a repository of everything and anything collectible accumulated by Bryan Jackson. The museum has fought with the council and it has been open and closed and open again. Whilst we were there it appeared to be open, although we didn’t plan on going in. It also appeared to be for sale. There were large signs describing items within the museum and how much they are worth on their own, but that all of these items were to be sold as part of this collection as they really needed to be kept together.

Whilst in Devonport you have to take the steep walk up Mount Victoria to get the best views of Auckland. This hill was once the site of a Maori pa and fortified village.

Stop at the tourist office and pick up your copy of "The Old Devonport Walk" to guide you through the city with a map and descriptions of buildings, churches, streets, museums and other things along the way. The Tourist office is located at 3 Victoria Road.

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