Parnell, Auckland’s oldest suburb, is full of high-quality restaurants, cafes, galleries, and boutique shops, especially jewelers. There are also many noncommercial sites to explore, such as parks, churches, and other buildings. A visit to Parnell is essential for understanding Auckland’s unique, stylish character.
Parnell is one of Auckland’s wealthier areas, and this is reflected in the type and quality of the shops you’ll find here, from chocolatiers to French bakeries, boutique jewelers to some of New Zealand’s most talented fashion designers. Parnell is also home to the expansive Auckland Domain public park and the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Parnell is a great destination to spend a day shopping and sightseeing, followed by dinner at one of its many international restaurants.
Many visitors stop at Parnell as part of hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus tours. For more active travelers, joining an historic walking tour is a good way to see Parnell and learn about its long history.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Parnell covers quite a massive area, and the Auckland Domain is a large park. Check out a map of the area while planning your day, so you can eat, shop, and relax at the best times.
- While Parnell is known as an upmarket area, there are a number of restaurants to suit any budget.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes if you plan on joining walking tours or independently hiking through the suburb.
How to Get There
Parnell is a 10-minute bus ride on the green Link bus from the Ferry Terminal, downtown Auckland. Active travelers who enjoy walking may also want to hike from central Auckland to Parnell through the Auckland University campus and Auckland Domain park.
When to Get There
As a commercial area, there’s no bad time to visit Parnell (during business hours). However, visiting during one of its regular events is good fun. On weekend mornings, the La Cigale French Market, voted Auckland’s Best Food Market by Metro Magazine for a number of years, sells artisanal products. On the second Thursday of every month, you’ll also find music played in the streets, and Parnell’s art galleries stay open late.
To the west of Parnell Road is Auckland Domain, a 185-acre (75-hectare) park that’s the oldest in the city, having been established in 1880. It’s also one of Auckland’s largest parks. There are lots of things to do here, from following a sculpture trail to walking through native New Zealand forest. In the summer, the Domain often hosts outdoor concerts and events.