View out to Rangitoto Island from Maungauika/North Head

Image: Russell Street | Creative Commons


Explore defences that were placed on the headland to protect Auckland from feared Russian invasions.

Track overview

1 km one way

Walking and tramping

1 hr one way Easiest: Short walk

Dog access

Dogs on a leash only

About this track


A series of loop tracks introduce you to the military history of Maungauika/North Head – the tunnels, guns, searchlights and defences that were placed on the headland to protect Auckland from feared Russian invasions. 

The map below shows the location of interpretation signs and what you will see on each loop.

Map of new signage at North Head Historic Reserve.
View larger printable map (PDF, 578K)

Track times and distance

  • Coastal Loop - one way, 1 km, 30 min
  • Summit Loop - one way, 1 km, 25 min
  • Tunnels Loop - one way, 1 km, 20 min

Map notes (numbers below relate to the numbers on the above map):

  • Welcome sign with track information - in the lower car park near the North Battery. This sign is also at the Takarunga Road entrance.
  • 1 - North Battery - large sign at the entrance near the lower car park and small signs throughout the battery (in the tunnels) tell you about this structure.
  • 3 - 6 inch Battery - two identical signs. One on the north-west wall of the eastern-most building and one down the stairs explain the various buildings and structures in this area.
  • 4 - Barracks Building/Summit Battery - look for the "North Head in uniform" series of life-size figures with historic information, behind the long barracks building at the entrances to the Summit Battery. 
  • 6 - South Battery/Disappearing Gun - there is a sign on the approach to the gun from the road and one at each of the two entrances to the tunnels/battery. These show you how the gun works and its history. The western entrance to the tunnels underneath the gun is near number 7 on the map. Take the first left once you enter the tunnel here. The eastern entrance to the tunnels beneath the gun is down by the historic tennis court (flat area) to the left of the gun (when looking out to sea).

Getting there

Maungauika/North Head is located in Devonport at the northern headland of the Waitemata Harbour.

The reserve is approximately 16 km from downtown Auckland by car taking around 30 minutes, depending on traffic conditions.

You can also catch one of the regular ferries from downtown Auckland to Devonport Wharf. The reserve is 2 km from here. Follow King Edward Parade along the waterfront until you reach the end. Straight ahead is the Torpedo Bay Navy Museum. Turn left onto Cheltenham Road, then take the second road on your right - Takarunga Road. The gated entrance to the reserve is at the end of this road.

Vehicle and pedestrian access is via Takarunga Road.

History and culture

Learn about the defences that were placed on the headland to protect Auckland from feared Russian invasions.

Know before you go

DOC no longer administers the reserve

Ownership of Maungauika/North Head Historic Reserve has transferred to Ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau (the Tāmaki Collective) as part of Treaty Settlement negotiations.

The Tūpuna Maunga Authority administers the reserve on behalf of the Collective. 


Tāmaki Makaurau / Auckland Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 9 379 6476
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   Shop2, Shed 19, Princes Wharf
137 Princes Wharf
Auckland 1010
Postal Address:   PO Box 105 469
Auckland City 1143
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