I’ve never been one to take much interest in military history and such things as strategic defence points, but my ‘new thing’ for the week was an exception. On Sunday we visited North Head, the second bump you can see jutting out into the Auckland Harbour as the eye travels across from Devonport. This hill, dubbed Maunguika by Maori, has traditionally been used as a coastal defence point, and is riddled with sneaky tunnels, scary-looking gun emplacements and various other arsenal from 120 years of New Zealand military history.
The highlight for me was the sweeping views over Auckland Harbour. Standing on the top of the mountain you are nearly completely surrounded by water, and you can see right out to the Waitakeres. We sat on the northern side of the mountain looking out over Cheltenham Beach and Rangitoto Island and shared tea from a thermos and some lemon muffins.
After some compulsory roly-polies down the hill we headed off to explore the tunnels. I recommend that you take a torch and, if you happen to have any at your disposal, an 8-year-old boy, who will have a ball playing war heroes and jumping out to scare fellow tunnel-explorers. We didn’t have either of these but we still had fun, especially when we came across a cave which later became the scene of a story involving a troll called Little Red Riding Hood (named by my toddler).
Aucklanders, if you haven’t already been to North Head, I implore you to take advantage of the next sunny day and head out Devonport way. You’ll be reminded of the beauty of our harbour, as well as getting a hands-on history lesson. It’d be a great place to take visitors to the city too.