With its picturesque Victorian villas, stylish shops, beaches and relaxed seaside ambience, Devonport is the perfect place to spend a day, an afternoon, or even just dinner on the harbour. Only 12 minutes from the bustling Auckland City, Devonport is a great spot to admire the skyline from across the harbour - from the top of a volcanic cone!
Beyond the quaint cafes and shops on Victoria Road, Devonport boasts some of Auckland's best vista points. Climb to the top of Mount Victoria, the North Shore's highest volcanic cone, for a 360-degree lookout. On North Head, explore military tunnels, bunkers and gun emplacements before visiting the neighbouring Torpedo Bay Navy Museum. Or simply relax on Cheltenham Beach, a perfect picnic spot with views straight across to Rangitoto Island.
Where is it?
The seaside village of Devonport is located at the very southern point of Auckland's North Shore. Just 12 minutes across the harbour from downtown Auckland, Devonport is one of the city’s oldest suburbs.
What can I do?
- Historic Village - Around 40,000 years ago, Devonport consisted of three volcanic islands: Mount Victoria to the west, North Head to the east, and between them, former Mount Cambria which was largely quarried away during the settlement of the area. The earliest Maori settlement of the area dates back to the mid-14th century, which was around the same time as the believed landing of the Tainui waka - one of the great oceangoing canoes in which Polynesians migrated to New Zealand. Look out for the commemorative stone memorial on the foreshore. The suburb of Devonport itself was settled in the 1840s by European merchants and initially called 'Flagstaff' because of the flagstaff raised on nearby Mount Victoria. This was an ideal location to see ships arriving into the Auckland harbour.
- North Head - Check out the military tunnels, bunkers and gun emplacements on North Head, and take a torch to make the most of your underground adventure! Take a photo of the large disappearing gun on the southern slope or walk the grassy tracks around the rocky foreshore. A historic reserve built on a volcanic cone, North Head is located 2 km from Devonport Wharf - a short walk along King Edward Parade. You can also access North Head from Cheltenham Beach.
- Mount Victoria Lookout Walk - Mount Victoria is the tallest volcanic cone on the North Shore, offering spectacular views of the Hauraki Gulf and Auckland City. As Mount Victoria was once a Māori pā (village or defence settlement), you can still see terraces and pits on the hill's upper slopes. Later developed by Europeans as a military position, the mountain also boasts a Signalman's House, a disappearing gun, and concrete bunkers. Access Mount Victoria's summit trail from Kerr Street at the top of Victoria Road - a 10-20 minute walk will take you to the top!
- Shopping and Cafes - Victoria Road, the main street and heart of Devonport, is a quick walk from the Ferry Terminal. It hosts many of the village's boutique fashion outlets, bookshops, galleries, cafes and restaurants. Enjoy a meal right on the water at the beautiful Devon of the Wharf or at the historic Esplanade Hotel. Venture further up Victoria Road for classic Kiwi cafes and local pubs.
- Torpedo Bay Navy Museum - Visit the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum to discover New Zealand’s rich naval culture and heritage - just a short a 1.5 km walk from the ferry terminal, along King Edward Parade. Permanent and special exhibitions showcase the Navy's values of commitment, courage and comradeship. An especially significant site, Torpedo Bay has been occupied by military forces since the 1880s. The original buildings from Torpedo Bay's 19th century mining base now house the museum. Enjoy a coffee or ice cream at the waterfront museum cafe afterwards, and be sure to explore the neighbouring North Head Historic Reserve. Admission is free.
- Beaches - A 20-minute stroll from the Devonport ferry terminal, Cheltenham Beach is a local favourite. With its long stretch of sand, calm waters and view straight across to Rangitoto Island, Cheltenham is the perfect spot for a swim or picnic. Stop in at the nearby shops on Vauxhall Road for takeaway fish and chips or a baguette sandwich from Chateaubriant, a quaint French cafe. Closer to the ferry terminal, you'll also find Devonport Beach and Torpedo Bay, both facing South to the city.
What do I need?
- Good walking shoes, sun block and a sun hat.
- Swimming gear and a towel, in the warmer months.
- A light rain jacket, and warm layers. Temperatures can change quickly regardless of the season.
How long should I stay?
Devonport is perfect if you're short on time. We recommend allowing a half day to fully explore the town, but it's definitely worth the 12-minute ferry ride for a meal.
Frequently Asked Questions
How far in advance do I need to arrive for my ferry?
For all ferry services, we recommend arriving at the ferry terminal at least 30 minutes prior to ferry departure.
How long should I stay in Devonport?
Devonport is an easy trip from Auckland City – perfect for anything from a special meal to a full day adventure. We recommend dedicating at least half a day to experience the village, volcanic cones and naval history.
What do I need to bring?
This varies depending on how long you plan to stay and which activities you plan on doing. If you’re planning to explore North Head and Mount Victoria, wear good walking shoes, plus bring a torch for the North Head tunnels. Sun block and a sun hat are recommended for summer, plus swimming gear and a towel if you’re planning to swim at Cheltenham beach. We’d also recommend bringing a rain jacket and warm clothing, depending on the time of year and conditions. There are plenty of cafés and restaurants on the island, so there’s no need to bring your own food.
Is this destination suitable for children?
Yes, Devonport is a perfect place for a family day out.
Can I bring a children's stroller?
Yes, most activities in Devonport are suitable for a stroller. Please be aware that access to the walking trails on North Head may be difficult, and strollers are not recommended for the Devonport Explorer tour.
Is Devonport Wharf wheelchair accessible?
Yes, Devonport Wharf is wheelchair accessible.
Can I bring my bicycle?
Yes, there are dedicated bike racks on all our Devonport ferries. Using these storage options reduces the risk of your bike falling and causing damage or injury.
E-bikes and e-scooters need to be stored on the back deck of the vessel. For safety reasons, they can’t be stored inside the cabin because of their lithium batteries. Please ensure you position your e-bike or e-scooter safely and out of the way of other passengers.
Can I bring my dog?
Yes, dogs travel free with any fare-paying passenger. Dogs can travel inside the cabin but we ask they are kept inside a suitable crate, cage or pet carrier. Official service dogs can travel inside the cabin and do not have to be kept in a crate, cage or pet carrier. There is also allocated seating on the external decks for those travelling with pets.
Is my ticket valid for future dates, or only the day/time specified on the ticket?
Unless specified otherwise, Devonport ferry tickets are valid for one year of the purchase date. These open tickets don’t specify a time or date you must travel, so you may take any sailing that suits your schedule - as long as it hasn't reached capacity.