A Parnell Guide to Christmas

Colourful items of clothes on a rack under bright lights.

Take a trip to Auckland’s oldest suburb, wander the historic buildings and beautiful shops, and embrace the Christmas magic of Parnell.

Words by: Sophie Morris

Photos by: Jerome Warburton and Delena Nathuran

It’s that time of year again, the most wonderful one. The days are longer, summer is upon us, and Christmas is right around the corner. Whether you choose to celebrate with friends and family or simply by treating yourself—Parnell is the perfect place to go for all your festive wants and needs. So take a trip to Auckland’s oldest suburb, wander the historic buildings and beautiful shops (stopping for a delicious drink or bite to eat here and there), and embrace the Christmas magic of Parnell.

Shopping

Whether you’re after something slick to sleigh your work Christmas party or something special to wear on December 25th, the fashion boutiques of Parnell have got you covered.

Championing curated goods by South Asian entrepreneurs, Masala Bazaar celebrates the best of Desi creativity and Kiwi ingenuity. With everything from hand-block printed clothing to masala scents, handcrafted jewellery, hijabs and accessories, you are sure to find something both beautiful and thoughtful.

Offering a bespoke tailoring service with expert craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail, Payne Tailors is the place to go for something completely unique and crafted just for you. If you’re keen to browse haute couture to avant-garde, and Label House by Soni Sandhu is a style sanctuary for yourself or the fashion lovers in your life.

Luxury Department Store, Faradays, brings a world of coveted goods from near and far to Parnell. Explore the curated range of fashion, home decor, beauty and accessories in this stunning, bold space of coveted goods.

Bubbles and Bites

Parnell has plenty to offer on the culinary front, with places offering great food paired with refreshing drinks that are perfect for a wee Chrissy shopping break. New Zealand's inaugural Samoan dining venue, Tala beckons with its commitment to open-fire gastronomy and traditional Samoan umu techniques. Combining ancient cooking practices with modern techniques, Tala offers exquisite food and service not to be missed.

If you want to transport yourself to the cobbled streets of Rome, head to Non Solo Pizza—the Auckland institution known for its delicious Italian cuisine and great ambience. Whether you’re celebrating the silly season with friends or taking a break from the shops, their garden bar is the perfect place to treat your tummy.

Down on Faraday Street is a hidden sanctuary of opulence. Tucked into Faradays luxury department store is Faraday's Bar—a totally aesthetic spot to refuel and rehydrate. With delicious bites, including charcuterie and fromage selections, and a wine and champagne list to die for, you can be sure to settle in for a great time.

Bandung Café is your place to go for an authentic Indonesian experience inspired by Balinese and Javanese street food and snacks—take a seat in their tropical oasis courtyard and enjoy this hidden Parnell gem. And 46 & York—sitting proudly on the corner of Parnell Road and York Street in one of Auckland’s most iconic heritage buildings—serves great beverages and bites.

The Gift of Giving

Whether you’re shopping for a fashionista, bookworm, art connoisseur, or that annoying person who has everything, Parnell’s shops have something for everyone. The Fantail House is the cutest of gift shops specialising in New Zealand made items sourced from Cape Reinga to Bluff. With everything from NZ artwork to beautiful homewares and even Kiwiana Christmas tree decorations, it’s a must-visit for your Christmas shopping missions in Parnell.

Housed in a charming historic villa on Parnell Road is Black Door Gallery, showcasing contemporary New Zealand art and design from leading New Zealand artists. You’ll see something new each time you visit—from contemporary paintings to wall art, sculpture and glass. A perfect spot to take a break from the Christmas hustle and bustle and soak in the beauty of art.

As well as art, Parnell Road sparkles with some of the best jewellers in the super city. Orsini showcases handcrafted Italian jewellery focusing on exquisite design and intricate craftsmanship, Hartfield offers exclusive access to Pasquale Bruni and Chaumet jewellery, and Sutcliffe offers everything from unique antiques to distinctive modern pieces. Whatever your style or budget, a gift from one of these jewellers is sure to impress.

Passion for Paper is your go to boutique for high-quality paper and stationery supplies. As the first fine stationery store to open in NZ, Passion for Paper stocks a range of premium local and imported products (think Campo Marzio fountain pens and beautifully leather-bound books). And bonus—not only do they offer special wrapping papers to purchase, but they’ll also do a gorgeous job of gift-wrapping for you too. And if you’re after something for the literary lovers in your life, Lamplight Books has a treasure trove of books with titles to tempt everyone on your Christmas gift list. 

The pretty exterior of Rumi in Auckland.

The Cheer of Self Care

At the end of a big year, December is the perfect time to invest in some TLC and get yourself prepped and pampered for the festive season. Not only does Faradays offer high-end fashion, but it also houses an elegant bar that’s definitely worth checking out for a glass of champagne after treating yourself to that special something. A two minute stroll away you’ll find The Beauty Bar. With everything from customised facials and skin infusions to massage and manicures, The Beauty Bar offers the perfect beautifying retreat (and a well-deserved break from all the Christmas shopping chaos).

At Rumi Apothecary you can step into a sanctuary of wellness where ancient wisdom meets natural healing and wellness in bricks and mortar. Peruse their shelves for natural remedies, including aromatic herbal teas and botanical blends, and take advantage of their personalised consultations.

If you’re after a new do for Christmas, head to one of the premium salons on Parnell Road—Lenski offers award-winning services with a team of highly sought after hairdressers. Meanwhile, ASC Salon offers environmentally and sustainably conscious services. Lanreé Aesthetics medical spa on Parnell Road provides individualised care for all your beauty needs. 

Neat Auckland Places

Commonsense Mt Eden

Fresh vegetables at Commonsense Organics.
Place Auckland
Goods key icon. Wellbeing key icon.

A boutique and thoughtful shopping experience, you can rest easy at Commonsense Organics knowing every item you purchase is helping either the land, the people, your insides or a mixture of all three.

Annabel's Wine Bar

The glass exterior of Annabel's Wine Bar.
Place Auckland
Bars key icon. Restaurants key icon.

Sitting pretty along the main strip, a trip to Annabel’s is mandatory when hanging around Ponsonby.

Bird on a Wire

Wooden table against wooden wall.
Place Auckland
Restaurants key icon.

The guys at Bird on a Wire crisp up some of the best beer battered chips around. An easy companion to one of their Dirty Bird burgers.

Crave

The cafe interior.
Place Auckland
Cafes key icon.

A café/social enterprise that give all of their profits back to the community.