The Prada Cup has begun, and throughout the summer, Maungauika/North Head in Devonport will be one of the best spots to catch the boat races. Get out on the water yourself by catching the ferry over from the city, and then explore the independent stores and cafes this historic suburb offers.
As you step off the ferry, you'll see Devon on the Wharf, where you can grab coffee and meals from breakfast pancakes to Turkish platters throughout the day, plus cocktails. Try a Devon's Sunset to sip as the sun dips, and soak up the views back across the water. devononthewharf.nz
For French fancies, head to Chateaubriant. This tucked-away cafe and restaurant serves all the buttery pastries you've been missing since that last trip to Paris (sigh), as well as galettes, crepes, saucisson, bourguignon, and coq au vin. Or simply sling a baguette under your arm and have it to go. chateaubriant.co.nz
At Vic Road Kitchen, the constantly evolving menu showcases a Mediterranean take on what is fresh and seasonal. Expect local oysters, ceviche, squid ink pasta, line-caught fish and slow-cooked beef cheek. vicroadkitchen.co.nz
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Wherever you eat, a stretch of the legs up Takarunga/Mt Victoria is a must. Once a Māori pā, then a military site to protect against a Russian invasion that never came, the summit is an easy 15-minute from the high street. And even if you're not after a view of the races, North Head is an Auckland treasure, so don't miss it. It has beautiful views across the harbour, gun batteries to explore, and tunnels in which to wander, and even rumours of a buried Boeing aeroplane (long dismissed by archaeological investigation, but where's the fun in that?).
If you're there of an evening, "The Vic" is an historic cinema (the oldest in the Southern Hemisphere) that's been screening movies since 1912. Its stunning pastel interior is well worth popping in for. thevic.co.nz