From hot new dining experiences to shopping up at storm, these eight places summarise the best things to do in Parnell, Auckland.
8 must-visit spots in Parnell, Auckland
Keen to explore the trendy inner-city village of Parnell, Auckland? Start here.
Trendy new restaurants, bars and plenty of hot new businesses: the inner-city neighbourhood of Parnell, Auckland has seen an influx of exciting new experiences lately, making it an ideal place to eat, drink and shop. Grab your walking shoes and hit the pavement: these eight hotspots don’t just make a fabulous day out, but just may offer some of the best things to do in Auckland.
1. Eat at one of Auckland’s best restaurants
A restaurant with six seats and no tables sounds intimidating, but at Pasture it’s worth putting apprehensions (and your dosh) aside for a dinner you’ll remember in a decade. From your front-row perch at the ‘chef’s counter’, watch as culinary talent Ed Verner prepares the seasonal set menu, much of which is cooked over open flames. Dishes feature meticulously sourced New Zealand meat and produce with a Nordic-inspired focus on preserving, foraging and fermentation.
2. Instagram your brunch at Parnell’s best cafe
If you indulge in brunch at Winona Forever and don’t photograph your food, did you even go? Philosophise over hedonistic creations such as the ‘Eton Rifle Pavlova’ — brioche French toast topped with pistachio and vanilla meringues, mascarpone and raspberry compote and strawberries — at Parnell’s most Instagrammed cafe. The food tastes as good as it looks.
3. Explore divine art at famous Parnell Gallery
Parnell Road is a key art hub for Auckland, thought to offer more galleries on a single street than anywhere else in the country. So where do you start? Our pick is Parnell Gallery, open since 1976 and specialising in limited edition prints, sculpture and paintings from contemporary New Zealand artists. Permanent works are at ground level, while the first floor hosts a new exhibition every month.
4. Find your dream hat at Hattitude
If you’ve ever secretly wondered if you could pull off a fedora, a visit to New Zealand’s only traditional men’s hat shop will provide your answer. Hattitude stocks a wide range of dapper hats from across the world, including hand-woven Panamas from Peru, Australian Akubra hats and Borsalino trilbies. Ladies, there’s no reason you can’t rock these too.
5. Shop at Auckland’s destination boutique
Stocking a sharply curated collection of beloved New Zealand designers, River is your one-stop-shop for local women’s fashion. Uber cool brands like Nom*D, Lela Jacobs, Kowtow, Lonely and Salasai fill the racks, with everything from cotton and knitwear staples to edgy, unstructured dresses.
6. Shop and eat at Parnell Farmers’ Market
Start your weekend off right with a cream-filled delight from Grownup Doughnuts. You’ll find them, along with spray-free produce, fresh flowers, crafts and more at the Parnell Farmers’ Market, held every Saturday 8am–12pm. For a double dose of market grazing, afterwards head to the excellent La Cigale French Market around the corner on St Georges Bay Road.
7. Eat at an American barbecue smokehouse... with a twist
Is mixing smoky Texas-style barbecue with fresh, aromatic flavours of Asian cuisine a good idea? Duh, it is. For proof, just try Woodpecker Hill’s 14-hour brisket served with garlic, lemon and basil, or their Massaman curry made with 12-hour smoked lamb shoulder. Add in a buzzy atmosphere, a fabulous cocktail or three and you’ve got yourself a guaranteed great night out.
8. Slip into a secret speakeasy
Channelling a 1930s speak-easy with a dose of 1980s maximalism, Pineapple on Parnell sets the scene for a cosy night of conversation with velvet curtains, leather couches and a glowing fireplace. If it wasn’t obvious from their waistcoats, the bar staff take drinks seriously: try the barrel-aged negroni and see for yourself. Cheers!