Devonport here we come!
If there is one thing I can say about our adventures in Auckland it’s this – The most amazing ones always happened when we didn’t have a set in stone plan. On this day we took the bus to the central business district (CBD) with just one goal in mind – find the ocean. We had seen it several times while riding the bus but hadn’t actually been there in person yet. We packed our packs for the day, topped up our bus tickets, and off we went!
One bus ride later we landed in the middle of Auckland’s CBD and set off on foot to what we thought would be our final destination – the Hauraki Gulf. We made a quick pit stop for donuts and coffee and proceeded on our search for the ocean. A short walk later we found ourselves at Queens Wharf where we not only found the ocean, we also found the ferries! Gabriela was mesmerized! She had never been on any kind of boat so she was quick to suggest a ferry ride. While deciding if we were going to take this spur of the moment trip as suggested by our five year old we walked around Waitemata Harbour and enjoyed the view, watched a man fish for his dinner, and a bird catch his dinner. We also took a quick peak at the two venue building on site – The Cloud & Shed 10 and checked out The Lighthouse (an art installation).
Shed 10 is a cool metal building that was closed at the time we went and appeared to be under construction from what we could see from the windows (yes our architectural sides kicked into full gear at this point) it was going to be pretty amazing. We read about the building later and found out that it is the only original building that remains on Queens Wharf. The Cloud was open and we were delighted to not only check out the exterior but also the interior. There were people not only inside the space but actually engaging and using the space. We saw people playing games, hanging out talking, and even a guy riding his bike inside the space. This venue has a pretty interesting story behind it as well. To learn more about the history of Queens Wharf, the venue buildings, and the art located here please visit the Auckland Live website here.
After exploring all the things that the wharf had to offer we went and spoke with the friendly people inside the Auckland Ferry Terminal to ask about taking the ferry. They told us all about the prices, the different locations the ferries go, and also gave us some advise on when to do what. They suggested that we go ahead and take a trip over to the town of Devonport. So after topping up our AT HOP cards to cover the ferry fees off we went to board the ferry. Once inside you have the option to ride inside or outside. The trip to Devonport is really short and we were a bit surprised at how quickly we arrived.
Devonport is a very hip kind of place with fancy cafes, restaurants, and small boutique shops. There is also a playground by the water, a walking track, and a small beach you can enjoy. Several people were out walking, playing at the park, and taking their dogs on a run at the beach. We met two friendly dogs and a really nice bookshop owner on this day. We also managed to get a few photos with Gaby before she ran off to play at the park. Ok, we bribed her with playtime at the park if she took a few photos with us. This kid isn’t the craziest about being in photos but we are working on it and after a few shots she has really started getting into it.
After playing at the park we made our way to the shops and restaurants. We stopped at Bookmark Secondhand Books, one of the most adorable bookstores we have ever seen. We shopped around for about 30 min because they were about to close shop for the day. It was a great secondhand book shop with a huge variety of books. If we had found this place earlier in the day we could have easily spend several hours and quit a bit of NZD at this shop. However given the limited amount of time we went ahead and left with the intention of going back but unfortunately did not make it back on this trip. However when we return to Auckland we will for sure make it a point to visit this shop again and highly suggest it if you find yourself in Devonport.
After browsing the shops we headed over to get our first taste of Thai Food in New Zealand and were not disappointed. We found this super cute and authentic Thai restaurant named Monsoon Thai Restaurant. It was located at the base of the volcanic cone-North Head. We had a wonderful dinner then proceeded to walk back towards the ferry to make our way home. On our journey back home we saw the popping night life of Devonport and think that when we do return to Auckland we will try and stay here because this town is right up our alley.
It was such a great spur of the moment adventure that we went on because we let our five year old pick what to do for the day. We were able to see Auckland from a different perspective and it really was quite spectacular. We can not wait to go back to Devonport someday and fully explore the town and make the tramp up the volcanic cone of North Head.