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Lap up the hospitality

Touristclick Australia Travel News

Lap up the hospitality

By Kerri Jackson
When guests arrive at Devonport's historic Peace and Plenty Inn they are usually greeted with a lick.

Unconventional perhaps, but endearing certainly - and the best way for Stanley, the resident labrador, to make it quite clear who's really in charge. Stanley is the perfect host. Charming, polite and affectionate, he will show you the best sights of Devonport - a walk on the beach, or up Mt Victoria.

Back at the Peace and Plenty, Stanley leaves the day-to-day running of this beautiful, sunny B&B in the capable hands of owner Judy Machin. Built around 1880, the Victorian villa has been beautifully restored into six suites. Each room has been decorated in French provincial style; each has its own bathroom and all have beautiful views over the gorgeous Peace and Plenty gardens, Mt Victoria or Devonport.

Machin and her staff make a mean breakfast - everything from fruit and pastries to bacon and eggs, and when the sun's out there's nothing better than eating it al fresco on the balcony with the cheeky birds keeping you company. Appetite sated, Devonport is your oyster - and Machin can help you taste the best of it. Whether it's organising an in-room massage, helping you plan day trips, or advising you on the best places to eat, she is a font of knowledge.

And with its location in the heart of the seaside village, the five Qualmark-starred Peace and Plenty is the perfect spot from which to relax and/or explore. Even if you're an Aucklander, a weekend wandering around the village can feel a world away from reality.

Tucked away on the end of a peninsular surrounded by sea, this hamlet was once to Aucklanders what the Coromandel is today - the perfect weekend escape.

In the days before the Harbour Bridge opened in 1959, the drive to Devonport from the city side of the harbour took hours, passing all the way through west Auckland and back through the North Shore. The isolation lent the seaside village the quaint air of a resort town, free from the madness of the city

The Peace and Plenty provides a relaxing retreat not far from the heart of the city.

The Peace and Plenty provides a relaxing retreat not far from the heart of the city.

Though today Devonport is much more accessible, the Victorian buildings and seaside scenery have allowed it to keep its individuality. The huge wooden houses lining the streets, the small boutique shops and cafes, and the beaches, both in Devonport and over the hill in Cheltenham, all seem to belong to a different era.

Pick up Stanley from the Peace and Plenty and let him take you to the beach. As he takes his daily dip in the harbour, sit back and take a look at Auckland across the water. It might as well be another planet.

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