Hop aboard the ferry at downtown Auckland and in just 12 minutes you’re here.
Exploring the underground tunnels, gun emplacements and fortifications at North Head is a must. The volcanic cone offers incredible 360-degree views over the Hauraki Gulf and across to the city – you can even take a segway tour to the top.
Take a wander through the local art galleries and see how the surrounding landscapes have inspired beautiful paintings and photographs (great if you’re looking for something special to take home). Browse boutique shops for unique, quality clothing and jewellery, then relax at one of Devonport’s casual-cool cafés and restaurants. Pop into the chocolaterie for handmade chocolates and truffles. There’s also a beautifully restored Victorian cinema if you fancy a flick.
And when it comes to beaches, gorgeous Cheltenham Beach is a winner. Slip off your shoes and take a stroll or a dip – the sheltered waters are perfect for families.
For more information on Devonport, click here.
Please note: vehicles, including motorbikes and scooters, are no longer able to drive to the top of Mount Victoria/Takarunga. This change was made to reduce congestion on the summit and to respect the spiritual and cultural significance of the summit to mana whenua, the original Māori inhabitants of Auckland.
Takapuna and Milford
The unofficial ‘capital’ of Auckland’s North Shore.
Shop for fashion, books, footwear and beauty products along Takapuna’s Hurstmere Road, and if you’re there on a Sunday, visit the lively market for fresh fruit and vegetables, crafts, furniture and antiques.
Choose from a huge range of cafés and restaurants by day and night, and in summer, enjoy fresh fish and chips at the family-friendly white-sand beach.
The quieter next-door neighbour to Takapuna is Milford - a relaxed beachside suburb incorporating the beautiful Lake Pupuke. The lake is a volcanic crater and a favourite spot for rowing, sailing and canoeing.
Milford has many recreation reserves – Kitchener Park, Sylvan Park, Byrnes Reserve, and a boat marina. Meander down the main street, complete with many casual café’s, boutique stores and an independent upmarket mall.
And to stretch your legs, go on the heritage trail from Takapuna to Milford along the water’s edge.
For more info on Takapuna, Milford and Devonport check out Explore North Shore.
Albany and Long Bay
Bring your wallet and go on a shopping spree at Albany’s expansive mall, with a huge range of stores from home décor and electronics to clothing, footwear and toys. Refuel at one of the cafés and restaurants lining the courtyard outside, or catch a flick at the cinema complex.
If the timing’s right, visit North Harbour Stadium and catch a game of rugby, rugby league or soccer. The arena is home to North Harbour rugby and hosts the occasional Vodafone Warriors match too.
Long Bay Regional Park, a 10-minute drive from Albany, and only 20km from the city, offers a sheltered beach on one side and parkland on the other – pop in for a swim and a stroll or bring the family and a picnic and get settled in.
In Birkenhead, there are sea views from every street so climb high and reap the rewards. Sitting 360 feet above sea level, these views stretch across the Waitemata Harbour and all the way to Rangitoto Island. Closer to the water, explore the grounds around the Chelsea Sugar Refinery, part of Auckland’s Victorian history (built in 1884, it once employed nearly all of the village’s population in Devonport, Birkenhead and Takapuna).
Birkenhead’s café scene has really taken off too, with a number spread throughout the village centre, as well as the cluster of stylish new cafés down towards the wharf.
Some of these areas have unpatrolled beaches. Stay safe – never swim or surf alone. Find patrolled beaches and information about water safety.