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.
Fort Takapuna consists of two main buildings: the larger barracks built in the 1880s, and the smaller brick building beside it, built by the navy in the 1920s to store warheads for torpedoes and depth charges.
The buildings are below ground level because originally they were surrounded by a dry moat, most of which was filled in 100 years ago.
Note: The inside of Fort Takapuna is only open to the public during special events, such as the NZ Sculpture Onshore event. Guided tours can be arranged through the Forts of Auckland.
Floor plan of Fort Takapuna
Larger version (GIF, 23K)
Inside the fort
This building was to be used as accommodation for soldiers. The drawing shows where 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 in the walls could be sealed and the soldiers could fire through the small loopholes at any attackers.
At the end of a small tunnel at the top of the stairs (6) there is 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.
The "gallery" (8) was originally open and was roofed to form part of the naval ammunition store in the 1920s. A large 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 Cartridge Store (11) stored bags of gun powder used in the guns. The light from candle lamps lit in the Lamp Room (12) 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 shell store (13) stored the gun shells. Rails in the floor join it to the gun pit (14). Around the walls are the remains of the big dial used to aim the gun.
(15) - another gallery. (16) - a sunken courtyard. (17) - 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.
Know before you go
There are steep drop-offs along the coastal cliff top and around some of the historic structures. Take care when exploring the reserve and supervise children at all times.