HIKING NORTH HEAD
Although Auckland is a large metropolitan city and close to where we stayed, we did not visit the city often … as you might already know by now (from reading some of our previous posts), we prefer the rural areas.
Anyway, when we did visit Auckland, we saw this beautiful place across the harbour (also from our friends’ yacht on many of our weekend trips) … a place called Devonport. There was this large volcanic cone and we read that hikers like to explore this place.
We thought: Well, we are keen hikers and to visit Devonport sounds like a really great idea. Therefore, on a day in April, we took the bus to Auckland and then boarded the ferry for a short trip over to Devonport.
Our ferry leaving Auckland for a short trip of only 12 minutes to Devonport
Devonport shrouded in mist
Arriving a couple of minutes later in the small harbour of Devonport
The ferry that operates between Auckland and Devonport
Once we arrived in Devonport, we immediately searched for a restaurant for breakfast – our plan was to walk quite some distance today and for that you need energy!
Devonport is a relaxed bayside village with upscale café’s and many seafood restaurants. There are just so many small boutiques and art dealerships … I can see why this place draws crowds.
But instead of visiting all of these little shops, we headed to the beach and then took the pathway up to North Head.
Cheltenham Beach at Devonport
A bit of history on North Head:
North Head is an extinct volcano which offers stunning views. Between 1870 and 1996, New Zealand army and navy personnel have been stationed here to protect Auckland and the Waitemata Harbour. During this time, they built defences and trained and prepared for an attack (that never came). Now North Head houses an area office for the Department of Conservation.
Only halfway up North Head and we already had great views of Auckland
There are 3 walks identified (The Summit Loop, The Tunnels Loop and The Coastal Loop) … we combined all three and took the rest of the day to explore North Head.
More information on North Head and the different hiking trails
On The Summit Loop walkway, we had great views in all directions – we could see Devonport, Auckland, nearby islands and other ferries and yachts crossing the ocean.
Views over Auckland and a passing yacht
As we walked to the other side of North Head, we could see more islands – islands that we visited before with our friends’ yacht.
We were now on the other side of North Head
Hiking The Summit Loop trail
The Tunnels Loop trail took us into tunnels and historic defence structures. We also saw the 7-inch rifled muzzle loaders room where they used to store the guns ammunition.
Information about the 7-inch rifled muzzle loader magazine
Inside The Tunnels Loop trail
It was a great day out in nature and we were fortunate that the mist lifted when we left the ferry at Devonport. This mean we had stunning views from North Head.
Our day out on North Head
One last look at the ocean before we get down to The Coastal Loop
The Coastal Loop offers us the chance to view the evidence of the volcano that formed the headland. Most of this walkway was in the shadow, which was great because we were quite hot after walking most of the day in the sun. On our way, we also saw people keen to catch fish on the rocks close to the Coastal Loop.
On pathways at The Coastal Loop
The Coastal Loop takes you quite close to the edge of the water
It was already late afternoon, when we finished our hike on North Head. Mount Victoria was also on our list to climb today, but unfortunately we ran out of time. Not to even mention Devonport Chocolates – this shop sells handmade gourmet chocolates … yes, we’ll have to come back!
We had one last look at Devonport and Auckland from the lookout point, before walking back to the harbour to take the ferry to Auckland again. Devonport is well worth a visit … but we suggest you plan more than just one day!
Devonport and Auckland as seen from North Head