There are plenty of pretty places to visit in and around Auckland in New Zealand. One of the first I checked out was Devonport, a 10 minute ferry ride from Auckland’s central business district (CBD). Read on to discover the most delightful things to do in Devonport.

Stepping back in time

Arriving in this coastal village feels like stepping back in time. Almost like stumbling upon a 1950s British seaside resort in Devon. With quaint art galleries, cafes, book shops and colonial architecture, Devonport has a large British expat population of young families. It’s easy to see how they could be drawn to its timeless seaside streets and gentle pace of life, while still being able to take advantage of easy access to employment opportunities in the big city. Appropriately, there is a UK grocer’s store here, offering all the supplies of Ambrosia creamed rice, PG Tips, Birds Eye custard and Angel Delight that you could want for your nostalgic larder.

Stunning Devonport walks and views

One thing that definitely sets Devonport apart from its British near-namesake Devon are its stunning views. The area is crowned by the twin volcanoes of Mount Victoria and North Head, from whose summits you can enjoy sweeping vistas of the waters across Waitemata Harbour, over to the volcanic island of Rangitoto, the neighbouring residential streets and the spectacular cityscape of Auckland.

Writers’ retreat

On my descent from Mount Victoria I discovered the Michael King Writers’ Centre, the first national writers’ retreat, promoting New Zealand’s writers and their work. The centre is named after Wellington-born Michael King, a well-loved historian, teacher and journalist, who sadly passed away in a car crash with his wife in 2004. King wrote more than 30 books on a range of subjects. His writings on New Zealand and its Maori heritage are thought to be some of the most considered, warm and fascinating accounts of this country’s history.

Next up, read about the best way to get around New Zealand as a solo traveller.