Welcome to Auckland’s oldest suburb, Parnell.
This beautiful area of New Zealand’s largest city is full of charm and character and offers some great boutique shopping, trendy cafés as well as the border the oldest and biggest park in town.
Picturesque Parnell is right next to Newmarket, one of the biggest and trendiest shopping areas in town, as well as a short ride down to the port and Viaduct Harbour.
Here’s what you cannot miss when visiting Parnell.
Parnell Rise and Parnell Road make up the main road through the central suburb of Parnell. In the midst of it sits Parnell Village, an accumulation of great cafés, fabulous restaurants, individual shops and boutiques set in beautifully renovated Victorian villas.
Pick up designer décor, handmade jewellery, antique goods or visit art galleries and browse upmarket fashion stores.
Auckland Domain quickly became one of my favourite places in Parnell, not only because it’s huge but there are many things to see and do. From visiting the Auckland Museum, watching the birds at the Duck Ponds to The Wintergardens housing tropical plants at 28 degrees under a glasshouse and much more.
Simply great for a walk, a picnic, watching the sunset from the top of the hill with the city skyline in the distance. There are some incredible old trees too and you might as well see a wedding happening as I did.
Perfect for a little stroll in the afternoon are the elegant Rose Gardens which are within easy walking distance to the Parnell Village. Also known as The Dove-Myer Robinson Park, you can spot and smell over 5000 new and old rose varieties.
Between October and April, the gardens are in full bloom, visiting in winter is nice but definitely not as spectacular.
I love chocolate! If you do too, the Chocolate Boutique in Parnell is not to be missed.
This place is producing some of Auckland’s finest chocolates and offers a cute place to sit down for an exotic hot chocolate. Pick up a chocolatey gift or devour some amazing desserts from cakes, cookies, waffles to macarons and sundaes. Get a hot chocolate shot to top it off.
A must visit for all sweet tooths!
Discover the magical weekend markets La Cigale with a touch of France in Parnell. These farmers markets are a perfect place to browse around for some fresh local and international produce and French pastries and delicacies from French cheese, breads and terrines.
Sip a hot coffee while sitting down at one of the long communal tables and do some people watching. Voted Auckland’s ‘Best Food Market’ by Metro Magazine for over 8 years, this market should definitely be on your list when visiting Parnell on the weekend. Open on Saturdays from 8am to 1.30pm and Sundays from 9am to 1.30pm.
Where to Stay in Parnell
I stayed at the Quality Hotel Parnell which proofed to be a fantastic choice!
Located within walking distance to Parnell Village and the main street but still on a quiet stretch surrounded by old Victorian houses, Quality Hotel Parnell offers 105 clean hotel rooms and serviced apartments as well as conference rooms and a restaurant and coffee shop.
My one bedroom apartment had big windows from where I had a beautiful view over the harbour as well as the Auckland Skyline. Plus a full kitchen, living space and free onsite parking which cannot always be found so close to the center of Auckland. Free wifi and 24hr reception made it easy to arrive anytime.
From the minute I arrived at the hotel until I left two days later, I felt very welcome and the staff was fantastic with excellent, friendly service offered at any time of the day.
In the morning, there is a breakfast buffet in the Victorian style coffee shop serving up fresh coffee and some delicious bites to start off the day. Lunch was equally good here and dinner definitely topped it off. It was prepared by the German chef who dished up a beautiful three-course meal for my lovely friend Annie and me while we were sipping on a glass of wine.
Parnell is certainly unlike anywhere, a mix of cosmopolitan atmosphere paired with rich heritage and even though it seems small, there are many things to explore and uncover. Do check the events calendar to not miss any special events around here.
Have you been to Auckland? Or even visited Parnell? What do you definitely have to see here?
A very warm thank you to Quality Hotel Parnell for having me stay! All opinions and recommendations expressed in this post are as always my own.