GuideA Guide to Auckland Galleries & Cafés for the Perfect Day

Auckland is home to some of the best art galleries you’ll find anywhere. From public spaces to dealer galleries, here are the best places to go to get your dose of high culture, and where to grab a drink or meal to make a day of it.

The interior of Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Art Gallery.

Auckland's art galleries and where to grab a drink after

Here are our picks for the best places to mix culture, drinks and food.

Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tāmaki + chicken salad sandwich

Wellesley Street East, Auckland CB

New Zealand’s biggest art gallery is the best place to spend a day, admiring the unparalleled collection of local art, alongside some impressive international pieces. Entry to the main collection is free, and you could spend hours wandering the spaces. Afterwards, head to the Federal Delicatessen to try their famous chicken salad sandwich (make sure to use the dipping gravy on the side), and wash it down with a bottomless filter coffee.

A man walking outside the Auckland Art Gallery.

Anna Miles Gallery + beautiful views of the city

10/30 Upper Queen Street, Auckland CBD

Drink a coffee, eat a baked goodie and admire the beautiful view of the city and Sky Tower from the St Kevin’s Arcade window at Bestie Café on Karangahape Road, before wandering down to Anna Miles Gallery. Miles, a former art critic, represents a huge range of artists from ceramicists to sculptors and everything in between, so every visit is a journey into a different artist’s world.

The inside of Bestie Cafe in Auckland.

Masterworks Gallery + surprise food offerings

71 Upper Queen Street, Eden Terrace, Auckland

Hidden at the top of Upper Queen Street, Masterworks Gallery focuses on contemporary craft. Depending on the day, you’ll find jewellery, blown glass, ceramics or textile art, and be challenged to see craft as an artform just as much as painting. Once you’ve looked through their wares, wander along to Coffee Pen to grab their specialty coffee and some delicious food. Coffee Pen’s food offering changes daily, so be sure to check their Instagram to see what’s in the cabinet.

Artist Stevei Houkāmau. Photo by: Fotoarte.

Vases on display at Masterworks Gallery in Auckland.

Artspace, Tautai & RM Gallery + natural wine and sourdough pizza

300 Karangahape Road, Auckland

Three brilliant public galleries across two buildings, just across the road from one another, make for a great combo to immerse yourself in exciting new art. Tautai focuses on Pasifika art of all disciplines, and Artspace, downstairs, focuses on putting a distinctly Tāmaki lens on contemporary art from here and around the world. Across the road, artist-run collective RM Gallery gives a platform to emerging artists from all backgrounds. Once you’ve had your fill, head to Clay for a natural wine and sourdough pizza.

A glass of wine being poured on a table at Clay.

Melanie Roger, Tim Melville & Michael Lett + Auckland’s best specialty coffee

444 Karangahape Road, Newton, Auckland

Three of New Zealand’s foremost contemporary art dealers more or less share a block. Between them, Melanie Roger, Tim Melville and Michael Lett (pictured) represent almost all of New Zealand’s most exciting up and coming and established contemporary artists, from Henrietta Harris to Shane Cotton and Star Gossage. Best of all, you can visit them all within a five minute walk, with a stop at Daily Daily for Auckland’s best specialty coffee in the middle.

Image courtesy of the artist and Michael Lett. Photograph by Sam Hartnett.

A man browsing art work at Michael Lett Gallery.

Objectspace + Mediterranean food & wine

13 Rose Road, Grey Lynn, Auckland

Objectspace is an innovative public space, positioning design, architecture and craft in a contemporary art lens. Their exhibitions serve to place applied art in a gallery context, and they frequently run events and distribute publications to build community around the space. Afterward head around to Daphne’s Taverna, a new mediterranean-inspired eatery, for a wine and a snack.

Photo by: Rebekah Robinson

People hanging out inside Objectspace.

Corban Estate Arts Centre + class sandwiches

2 Mount Lebanon Lane, Henderson, Auckland

Positioned on the grounds of the old Corbans winery in Henderson, Corban Estate Arts Centre is a little off the beaten track, but worth the trek. Enjoy Corban’s range of works in the gallery spaces of its homestead-style space, and wander around the grounds to catch a glimpse of the artists working in its 22 dedicated studios.

There’s a lovely café onsite, but if you’re hungry, take a detour and grab one of the class sandwiches (the Baloney is a real winner) at local favourite Hare and the Turtle on your way out of town.

Outside Corbans Art Gallery.

Te Tuhi + the best fried chicken in Auckland

13 Reeves Road, Pakuranga, Auckland

Catch the bus to Te Tuhi from town, stopping at former food truck Peach’s Hot Chicken in Panmure for Auckland’s best fried chicken, before continuing to Pakuranga. Te Tuhi focuses on supporting experimental practice, and operates with a strong tikanga Māori framework in its operations. It’s also a community space, with regular art classes and programmes designed to engage people from all walks of life in the art world.

Ana Iti, Kimihia te āhua, 2020. Commissioned by Te Tuhi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Photo by: Sam Hartnett.

A painted fence at Te Tuhi.

Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Art Gallery + tea & baklava

420 Titirangi Road, Titirangi, Auckland

From its West Auckland oasis in Titirangi, Te Uru takes a global approach to art. The gallery is named for Te Hau a Uru, the West wind, a fitting name for a gallery with a strong focus on serving its surrounding community. Recharge at Deco Eatery, the adjoining café, for a cuppa and baklava.

Photo: Sam Hartnett

The exterior of the Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Art Gallery building.

Words by: Reilly Hodson
Photos by: Anna Briggs and Supplied

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