Mount Victoria Reserve is located on a volcanic hill in Devonport, a seaside town on Auckland’s North Shore. The climb to the top is quite quick and manageable for active travelers, and the views are impressive, as you can look back to the central Auckland skyline with its skyscrapers and sailboats bobbing in front.
In addition to a 10- to 20-minute scenic walk to the summit, Mount Victoria offers local culture and history as a former Maori pā, or fortified village (identifiable throughout New Zealand as hills with grassed-over terraces on their slopes). European settlers later developed the fortifications on the site in readiness for an invasion from Russia; the disappearing gun at the summit is one of the few examples of this obsolete artillery left in the world.
Visitors to Mount Victoria Reserve often come on a day trip from elsewhere in Auckland. Devonport can be reached independently by ferry from central Auckland. Popular tours of the area include nighttime tours, tours of Auckland’s volcanoes, and historical tours.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Devonport is a fashionable neighborhood with lovely cafés, bars, and boutiques. It’s worth combining a visit to Mount Victoria with some time in the town.
- Look out for the colorfully painted ‘mushrooms’ at the summit, actually vents for a water-pumping station beneath the surface of the mountain.
- Cars were banned from the summit of Mount Victoria in 2018, so walking (or cycling) up is the only option.
How to Get There
Devonport is connected to Central Auckland by road and ferry, with the ferry having the advantage of being faster and having scenic views. Ferries depart frequently throughout the day. You can reach the Mount Victoria Reserve on foot from the Devonport Wharf by walking along the high street, Victoria Road.
When to Get There
Mount Victoria is always accessible, but it’s best to go during daylight hours when the weather is fine, for the best views and walking conditions.
Maori History Trail
The Devonport and Mount Victoria area was inhabited by local Maori for several centuries before Europeans arrived. A trail has been developed around Devonport for visitors to follow that stops at points of interest in Maori history. The trail, which takes around two hours to walk, includes Mount Victoria, grave sites, other volcanic pā sites, and a museum.