101 reasons to visit Devonport (even on a cloudy day)

There are probably hundreds of reasons to visit this seaside suburb – cafes, volcanoes, beaches, art galleries, boats, handmade chocolates, boutique shopping, views, gorgeous wooden villas, the oldest working cinema in NZ, and a  really good second hand bookshop –  but there’s one more that I have just discovered.

Turn eastwards as you leave the wharf building (please don’t base your first impressions of Devonport on the wharf,  the retail space needs a good shake up) and follow the shell path along King Edward Parade.  It’s about a 15 minute walk if you don’t dawdle for photographs or to browse in the art gallery or vintage clothing shop on the way. You’ll be walking with the harbour on your righthandside and an assortment of graceful and not so graceful buildings on your left.

When you can’t walk any further without making a sharp left turn, you’ve reached your destination –  Torpedo Bay cafe and Naval Museum housed in an old submarine mining station and tucked under North Head. The cafe is one of the few in Auckland that sits within throwing distance of the harbour and for that alone it is worth a visit.  There’s plenty of parking, a kids’ playground with a gun to climb on (very cool) and the Torpedo Bay wharf for watching fishermen. The cafe isn’t huge and it was busy when I arrived but food was regularly leaving the kitchen and it looked good. I grabbed a takeaway coffee and a very very good homemade pie and sat outside watching rain showers drift across the city.

The Naval Museum really is a little gem even for people like me with only a passing interest in naval matters (or museums if I’m really honest). The people who put the displays together knew what they were doing. There are videos, interesting personal stories, photographs and diaries, uniforms to try on (I resisted), a mess deck to mess in and enough equipment, model boats, facts and figures to keep the serious museum go-er satisfied.  It’s a place where you could happily countdown the minutes while you wait for a table or a takeaway, or entertain (and inform) the kids.

Things to know before you go:

  • The Torpedo Bay cafe and Naval Museum is open 7 days a week from 10am – 5pm except Good Friday, Christmas Day and Boxing Day
  • Entry to the Museum is free. Hour long tours are given on Saturday and Sunday on a first come, first served basis.

Categories: New Zealand

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