Time to venture out and explore our neighborhood.
Fortunate for us, Auckland Transport, the government department responsible for, among other things, the development and promotion of cycle paths, has created an online resource for Auckland’s top 10 cycle routes, the Great Ride Passports. (You can obtain a paper copy of them at the local libraries, if need be.) This month’s favorite ride, according to their site, is the Devonport to Takapuna Green Route. How lucky for us! It’s right outside our doorstep. Follow along the route here
We are located in what the locals call the “North Shore”. Across the harbor bridge from the Auckland Central Business District, the North Shore is a collection of small towns that over the years, as the communities have grown, have become connected to Auckland proper. Devonport is only 4 kilometers south of us and Takapuna is only 3 kilometers north. For our first day of riding, we head south towards Devonport. It’s an easy way to loosen up winter-weary legs and explore some of our immediate region.
Highlights along the Route
The North Shores oldest cemetery, founded in 1891, is within view of our rooftop terrace and is our starting point for the ride south.
A few kilometers down the road is North Head.
Situated atop a volcanic cone, North Head has been considered New Zealand’s most significant coastal defense site. Located at the entrance to Auckland’s harbor, North Head provides views over the Hauraki Gulf and the Auckland skyline. The site was originally settled by the Māori and after European settlement, it was established as a defense post against a potential Russian Invasion in 1885 and during World War I and II.
One can ride to the top (not too punishing) and enjoy a view of the harbour and the historic buildings and battlements. A short video history of North Head plays continuously in the stone kitchen building, constructed in 1885.
Two minutes downhill from North Head is the town of Devonport.
Visit the Navel Museum situated at the landing place of the first French explorers of New Zealand. (It’s free.) (My son asks, “My only question is what kinds of things do they have in a navel museum? Just a bunch of different belly buttons throughout history?”) Make that the Naval Museum.
Enjoy lunch an outdoor lunch on the harbor at the Esplanade Hotel, built in 1903. Close your eyes and imagine you are visiting an English seaside resort.
Check out a film at the Victoria Picture Palace and Theatre, built in 1912 and still in operation.
Admire the architecture of the Art Deco Post Office, built in the 1930’s.
Before heading home, look for Kiwi Road in Devonport.
So, I wonder if every town in New Zealand has a Kiwi Road or Kiwi Street? I’ll have to keep looking.