Parnell, Auckland Overview

Parnell, a small town in North Island is the land of one of the best boutiques, great chocolates and lively parks. This contemporary styled town is believed to be one of the oldest suburbs in New Zealand. Dominated by French culture, Parnell has various unique designer products.

Parnell not only is one of the oldest suburbs of New Zealand but is quite rich in its history. Right from the 1870s, Parnell had been a source of rapid development, from bridges, reserves, to industries. A mandatory bucket list item for those who wish to explore local boutiques, parks, bistros and galleries, Parnell is also a great opportunity to learn about the Maori history that shaped this French-like suburb in New Zealand.

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Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Parnell is from October to May. During these months, the weather is dry, easing out a traveller's experience around the suburb.

Things to Do At Parnell

  • Shopping: Parnell is best known for its galleries and boutiques. Galleries such as Alvin Pankhurst Gallery, Artis Gallery, Artmount and gaming matters, Concubine, etc. are great shopping points.
  • Parnell Shower: Take the Parnell Bath in a 60-metre salt-water pool.
  • Tours: Take tours such as Agathis Australis Waipoua Tour, Inflite, Free walking tours, Stray, etc.
  • Go pedalling: Power to the Pedal is a group cycling tour only 1.2 kilometres from Parnell.
  • Get Artsy: Paint at the Paint Vine
  • Beach-Out: Go to the beach, which is just around 2 kilometres away from Parnell.
  • Adventure: Indulge in adventure sports such as canoeing, Auckland Adventure Jet and diving.

Places to Visit in and Around Parnell

  • Museum Visits: Auckland War Museum, the oldest museum in New Zealand, established in1882.
  • Markets: Visit the French Farmers Market, especially the La Cigale French Market on Saturdays and Sundays. They offer a range of French cheeses, bread, oils, etc.
  • Ewelme Cottage: Visit the well-preserved colonial dwelling related to the Anglican community, the perfect place for garden parties, cocktails and weddings.
  • Holy Trinity Cathedral: A place for music, art, culture and heritage.
  • Parnell Rose Gardens: Also known as the Dove Myer Robinson Park, which has the most variety of roses, old and new.
  • St. Stephen’s Chapel: One of the first built chapels under Bishop Selwyn’s direction.


There is a range of cuisines that Parnell offers despite the dominating French culture in this town. Here is a list of must-try eateries:
  • Visitors who crave for French or Kiwi restaurants and patisseries can have stop by at Le Bistros De Gourmets, Le Chef, Le Garde-Manger, Vaniye Patisserie and Antoine’s.
  • 46 and York, Crown Range Cellar offer a range of wines and craft beers.
  • For those who have a sweet tooth, Cibo Restaurant and Bar has one of the oldest chocolate factories in New Zealand.
  • D refinery Eatery has a list of flavoursome dishes, shakes and smoothies.
  • Di Marke Steak and Seafood Restaurant, started by Les Harvey, the creator of Parnell Village is a small family-run restaurant.
  • Oriental restaurants include Fang, Blue Elephant, Hello Mister, Gion and Han.
  • Di Vino Bistro is a simple Italian restaurant.
  • Everfine Dine is a successful Indian and Nepalese Restaurant.
  • Parnell also caters to many other cuisines like Mexican, Pacific Rim, American, Greek, etc.

Parnell History

Parnell’s history is not quite ordinary; rather, this town can be seen as the epitome of development and modernisation. The Maori tribe called the “Pukekawa” were primary inhabitants of Parnell. Pukekawa was used in remembrance of the dead in ancient wars, referred to as “Domain”, as it was held between the harbour and the domain in Auckland.
This town was subdivided into 36 allotments in 1841, and in 1842, Bishop Selwyn decided to make this town the centre of the Church of England in Auckland which led to a list of cathedrals and chapels being developed in Parnell. Soon, the European traders began to settle in this town, leading to the of the industry including a sawmill, flour mill, roads, tunnels, a bridge that passed the inlets to Mechanics Bay, markets, etc. in 1850, a property developer, Les Harvey, created “Parnell Village”, leading to the influx of tourism in this town which is still very prominent today.

How To Reach Parnell

Parnell is around 3-4 kilometres away from Auckland City Centre and approximately 28 kilometres away from Auckland International Airport.
By Road
Buses, taxis and cabs are readily available at the airport, and it would take around 41 minutes via State Highway 20. From the city centre, it would take only 11 minutes to reach Parnell and taxis, car rentals and cabs are readily available in Auckland which can be used to travel in and around Parnell as well. Buses also run from the city centre to Parnell and may cost lesser than cabs, taxis or car rentals.

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