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Roses at sunset in Dove-Myer Robinson Park.
NEIGHBORHOOD GUIDE

A guide to local favorites in Parnell

Roses at sunset in Dove-Myer Robinson Park.
  • By Rebekah White
  • Photos by Lottie Hedley
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Parnell
Auckland
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One of Auckland’s oldest suburbs, Parnell has long been a neighborhood of decaying glory, stately but stuffy and decidedly uncool. Now, it’s starting to come alive once again. Old shipping warehouses have been refashioned into offices and boutiques, the creative industries are moving in, and a couple of smash-hit restaurants and cafes are drawing new crowds to the 1960s-era village and shopping strip. Parnell already has a lot going for it: the lush Domain park separating it from the city, a long main road leading down to the sea, a swath of coastline. But there’s a feeling, with this rebirth, that the best is still to come.

Meet Rebekah White

Born and raised in Auckland, Rebekah White is the editor of New Zealand Geographic magazine and travels the country writing about science, nature and outdoor pursuits. When in her hometown, she spends her time finding new running routes and places to eat, or lingering in old-favorite cafes with a book.

Want to get in touch?

mail-solidEmail bytheway@washpost.com
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Parnell

La Cigale
This weekend-mornings-only market bills itself as French, but you’re just as likely to pick up artisanal kimchi as a baguette or a wedge of brie. Bring an empty stomach and be prepared to bump elbows with locals at the long shared tables. La Cigale also operates a Saturday market downtown, in Britomart.
La Cigale, 69 St. Georges Bay Rd., Parnell, Auckland 1052, New Zealand
Vaniyé Patisserie
Tucked down a narrow side street slightly off the main strip, Vaniyé serves French desserts with Asian and Middle Eastern inflections. Thai-German chef Sonia Haumonté, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu in France, adds matcha, adzuki, sesame and lychee to mousses, choux and macarons, served alongside Kōkako coffee.
Vaniyé Patisserie, 1/7 Windsor St., Parnell, Auckland 1052
Dove-Myer Robinson Park
Most Aucklanders know this park as the Parnell Rose Garden. With its rows of blooms and panoramic views over the Waitemata Harbor, you’re as likely to stumble across a wedding photo shoot as locals taking a stroll. The park is also home to centuries-old pohutukawa trees, which bloom red every December. They’re popularly called New Zealand’s Christmas tree.
85-87 Gladstone Rd., Parnell, Auckland 1052, New Zealand
Parnell Baths
The annual November opening of the seaside Parnell Baths marks the true beginning of summer for Aucklanders, enabling after-work swims as the sun sets over the ocean. The pools have operated since 1914, but extensive work in 2010 refurbished them while keeping their retro-modernist glamour intact.
Parnell Baths, 25 Judges Bay Rd., Parnell, Auckland 1052, New Zealand
Pasture
There’s no menu at Pasture; you’ll eat whatever chef Ed Verner is cooking over his open fire, in a progression of minimalist-yet-sophisticated dishes. Make a reservation, as Pasture keeps topping lists of the city’s best restaurants and the chef’s pass only has seating for six. It’s worth springing for the natural-wine pairings.
Pasture, 235 Parnell Rd., Parnell, Auckland 1052, New Zealand
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Rebekah White
Born and raised in Auckland, Rebekah White is the editor of New Zealand Geographic magazine and travels the country writing about science, nature and outdoor pursuits. When in her hometown, she spends her time finding new running routes and places to eat, or lingering in old-favorite cafes with a book.
Lottie Hedley
Lottie Hedley is a contributing photographer to The Washington Post based in Auckland, a city that, in the summer, combines all her favorite things — super-fresh produce, long walks and swimming. The best walk, in her view, is the Milford-Takapuna trail: It has fascinating volcanic geology, you can stop and swim at Thorne Bay, and at the end at Takapuna Beach, you can treat yourself with gelato from the beach cafe.

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