Devonport Tramway Walk

Step back into time on a walk along the route of the historic Devonport Tramway, which operated between Victoria Wharf and Cheltenham Beach from 1886 to 1888.

Devonport Tramway Walk

Auckland 0627, New Zealand

Created By: Auckland Council

Tour Information

Spring 1886 heralded a long-awaited event for the people of Devonport. For three years, the community had discussed the merits of a horse tramway, but a false start, funding problems, and disputes with the local government delayed the opening of the first section of the Devonport and Lake Takapuna Tramway until Saturday, 25 September.

The inaugural run across the first section, between Victoria Wharf and Cheltenham Beach, was a publicity stunt intended to drum up sales of shares as much as to open the line. Reports of the event provide some of our only clues into the operation and quality of the tramway. Journalists noted that the “line is level for nearly the whole distance…and judging from the smoothness and ease with which the tramcars traversed the distance the road has been thoroughly well laid down.” The Herald reporter also described the cars in positive terms:

The cars are light and airy vehicles, each being capable of carrying fifty passengers. They were built by Messrs. Cousins and Atkin, from designs by the engineers. The wheels were made at Mr. Masefield's establishment, and the whole of the work of the trams was done in Auckland. The cost is about one-third that of imported cars, and though not so elaborate in construction, they are fully strong enough, and excellently adapted for their present purpose.

Due to tramcar capacity, the celebration hosted no more than 100 guests, mostly shareholders, their families, reporters, and leading figures on the North Shore. Many of the dignitaries travelled to Devonport via steam ferry, which arrived at Victoria Wharf around 1:00 pm. From there, the party immediately boarded the waiting cars and began the 1.6 km journey to Cheltenham Beach.

This walking tour takes you along the route of the Devonport & Lake Takapuna Tramway Company's first (and only) section. It includes six stops along the way that explore what passengers on that inaugural ride in September 1886 would have witnessed and experienced.

Starting Point: Foot of Victoria Wharf in Devonport

Parking: Along Victoria Road, Queen Parade, and King Edward Parade

Terrain: Mostly level and along established walkways

Disclaimer: The walk is along public roads and contains historical facts about the area. Some of the sites are private property and may now be used as private residences. Please respect the environment and the privacy of local residents, and do not trespass on private property. Neither Auckland Council nor private property owners accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, or injury to you or your property arising from use of this tour.

Copyright 2021 Auckland Council. Auckland Council holds all copyrights associated with this document. You may not copy or reproduce the content of any of these pages without permission from Auckland Council. Auckland Council has taken every care to ensure that the information contained in this leaflet is complete and accurate. Auckland Council accepts no responsibility arising from, or in connection with, your use of this walking tour and the information contained in it.

Tour Map

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What You'll See on the Tour

Trams began their journey from the foot of Victoria Wharf. They were scheduled synchronously with the Devonport Steam Ferry Company’s timetable, although neither company was known for its punctuality. A planned combination ticket office a... Read more
From the wharf, the tramway briefly ran down the centre of Victoria Road before turning onto Beach Road (now King Edward Parade). A primary appeal of the tramway was to bring tourists and prospective property buyers to the beaches of North ... Read more
The tramway had two regular stops along the line, the first being Church Street. This location marked the start of the North Road to Lake Pupuke and Waiwera Hot Springs. It also hosted Devonport Wharf. In the mid-1880s, the wharf and busine... Read more
From Church Street, the tramway continued around Pilot (Torpedo) Bay. Duders Beach marked the halfway point of the line, where a siding may have been located for tramcars to pass. A one-way trip on the tram took about 20 minutes. However, d... Read more
The only difficult curve on the line was at Alison’s Corner, where tramcars turned up Cheltenham Road. During construction, the tramway company had to recall its engineers to install a wider curve, a task that resulted in a lawsuit when t... Read more
The second stop along the line was probably Jubilee Avenue, where property developers hoped to sell land. Visitors could also detrain here to visit Devonport Domain. In 1886, the Domain was a grassy field where cricket, rugby, and football ... Read more
Down Cheltenham Road another block, a spur was installed up Lake Street (Tainui Road) to William Street (Eton Avenue). It was here that the company built its stable and carbarn, “a commodious and convenient structure, excellently adapted ... Read more
Still further down the road, the tramway reached its Cheltenham Beach terminus. Here and at Victoria Wharf, the tramcar’s horse would be detached from one end of the car and reattached to the other to reverse the journey. Where McHugh’s... Read more


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