A Parnell Guide to Christmas
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.
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 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.
More Auckland Stories
A Guide to New Zealand's Coffee Roasters
Not all coffee is created equal, so in our guide to New Zealand’s coffee roasters, we pay homage to those roasting, brewing, and serving it the best. You’ll find micro-roasters rubbing shoulders with the country’s biggest producers.
Parnell’s Best Art Galleries And Where To Treat Yourself Afterwards
Because there are few finer pairings in life than art and food.
Danijela Unkovich's Auckland
I was born and raised in Auckland. I’m a registered nutritionist by trade, with additional training in culinary arts. My professional background spans community nutrition, nutrition practise and workplace wellbeing.
Stock Up On Vinyl At The 8 Best Record Stores In New Zealand
Give Spotify a rest and throw your money behind local artists and record retailers.
7 Urban Hotels Worth Travelling For
In the UK, the term ‘city-break’ is frequently used to describe a weekend away visiting the European city of the moment, exploring everything on offer and most often staying in boutique accommodation. Now, we may be thousands of miles away from being able to achieve a casual few days in a European city, but here in New Zealand, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to urban hotels that are worth travelling around the country for.
Neat Auckland Places
A fine establishment which handles the concocting of craft beer like Picasso handled a brush.
An Integrative Wellness Clinic and boutique natural health and beauty store.
Anna Miles Gallery
With a background as an art critic, curator and lecturer, Anna Miles opened her gallery in 2003 having decided it would be more productive to be a champion than a critic.
Giapo's is all about transforming what is undoubtedly the world’s most popular dessert into something that triples as fashionable, artistic and (of course) delicious.
Commonsense Mt Eden
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.