There is no formal track in the Fort Takapuna Historic Reserve, but you can wander around the grassed area of the reserve taking in the military history and superb views of the Hauraki Gulf.
A self guided walk lets you explore the barracks, tunnels, gun pits and magazine inside the old fort. Most of the information you will need for this walk can be found on the information panels on the walls inside the fort. Alternatively, see the numbered plan and description below to help guide you through the fort.
Outside the fort
From the outside (1) you can see two main buildings: the barracks (2) built in the 1880s, and the smaller brick building (3) built by the navy in the 1920s to store warheads for torpedoes and depth charges. The main entrance door (4) was originally a window and was converted into a door in the 1920s.
The buildings are below ground level because originally they were surrounded by a dry moat, most of which was filled in 100 years ago.
Floor plan of Fort Takapuna
Larger version (GIF, 23K)
Inside the fort
Note: The inside of Fort Takapuna is only open to the public during special events, such as the NZ Sculpture Onshore event.
This building was to be used as accommodation for soldiers. You can see where the fireplaces and the stoves would have been located (5). These were blocked off when the building was converted into an ammunition depot. If the fort was attacked the steel shutters you can see in the walls could be sealed and the soldiers could fire through the small loopholes at any attackers.
At the end of the small tunnel at the top of the stairs (6) you will see an entrance with a sliding door to the right. This leads to a flight of stairs up to the surface (7), which was one of the two original entrances to the fort.
Turn to your left and enter the "gallery" (8). This area was originally open and was roofed to form part of the naval ammunition store in the 1920s. The big round room at the end of the gallery is the gun pit (9), where one of the two 6 inch disappearing guns was once positioned.
To the right is the tunnel leading to the old magazine area for the fort (10). This part of the fort dates from the 1880s. On the floor are rails from the tramway which was used to transport the ammunition from the magazines to the guns.
The first room on your right (11) was the Cartridge Store, where the bags of gun powder used in the guns were stored. The next room is the Lamp Room (12). The light from candle lamps lit in this room shone through little windows called recesses, stopping flames from the lamps coming into contact with ammunition stored in other parts of the fort. There is a well in the floor of the lamp room, and remnants of speaking tubes or pipes through which orders were called down from above can be seen on the roof.
The next room (13) was the shell store where the shells fired by the guns were kept. Follow the rails in the floor and you will come to the other gun pit (14). Around the walls can be seen the remains of the big dial used to aim the gun.
To your right is another gallery (15). If the door is open you can leave via a sunken courtyard (16). The room beyond the courtyard (17) was the Artillery Store where all the equipment used to work the guns was stored.
Fort Takapuna is located next to Narrow Neck beach on Auckland's North Shore. You can drive there by car, or catch a ferry from downtown Auckland to Devonport. It is 13 km from downtown Auckland.
Fort Takapuna is a 40 minute walk from Devonport. From Devonport follow King Edward Parade along the waterfront, turn left at Church Street then right at Vauxhall Road. Alternatively, catch a bus to Takapuna via Narrow Neck.