An Insider’s Guide to Auckland City Precincts

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Running through the middle of town, Queen St may be the traditional heart of Auckland, but there’s a lot more to the city than this retail strip.

To really get under its skin, you’ve got to venture into all the little nooks and crannies that make this place special. Here’s our guide to the various precincts around the city and what you’ll find in each one.

Insider's guide to Auckland city precincts. Photo by Allan O. Centseize
Auckland City. Photo by Allan O. Centseize

The Waterfront

When you’re in the City of Sails, you’ve got to start with the harbour. The waterfront stretches from shiny new Wynyard Quarter and Silo Park in the west, along past the Viaduct, Princes Wharf and Queens Wharf through to the port in the east.

Wynyard Quarter is Auckland’s newest public space, and often provides the backdrop for outdoor movies, markets, and exhibitions. There are countless restaurants and bars dotting the waterfront and on a sunny day you can’t do much better than strolling its length with an ice cream in hand.

An Insider's Guide to Auckland City Precincts: Auckland Waterfront. Photo by picale
Auckland Waterfront. Photo by picale

Britomart

Just a block back from the water’s edge, Britomart is another revitalised downtown space that’s been a huge success story. Buildings retain their architectural heritage while housing hot new retail and dining outlets, from Nike to Jo Malone and Kathryn WIlson.

The Northern Steamship is an iconic pub, Shaky Isles reigns supreme for coffee and places to eat include Mexico, Ortolana and Better Burger. On Saturdays there’s a farmer’s market in the square. Britomart is also home to the headquarters of some big name companies.

An Insider's Guide to Auckland City Precincts: Britomart. Photo by russellstreet
Britomart. Photo by russellstreet

K Road

Karangahape Road, typically shortened to just K Road, is known for colour and buzz.

This strip is full of retro boutiques and op shops, galleries and street art, and when darkness falls, its nightlife is second to none – from cabaret to karaoke and gay clubs.

There’s also a huge variety of food options, from Turkish to Mongolian to Indian.

An Insider's Guide to Auckland City Precincts: K Rd. Photo by sids1
K Rd. Photo by sids1

Victoria Quarter

Victoria Park has been many things over the years – an industrial hub turned market turned upmarket hospitality and retail centre.

The weekend outdoor markets have just been revived, but there are also great restaurant and bar offerings around the Drake and Sale Street areas.

A short stroll up the hill will bring you to City Works Depot, a brand new area rich with dining options – Food Truck Garage, Best Ugly Bagels, Brothers Beer and The Botanist to name a few highlights.

An Insider's Guide to Auckland City Precincts: Victoria Park. Photo by itravelnz
Victoria Park. Photo by itravelnz

High Street

The High Street district runs parallel to Queen St and offers a mix of high end labels and indie boutiques. There’s also a growing number of eateries to appeal to all tastes.

Bibliophiles shouldn’t miss Unity Books, our premiere independent book shop. Office workers regularly gather at Freyberg Square at lunchtime on sunny days.

An Insider's Guide to Auckland City Precincts: High St Chancery. Photo by Olli Siebelt
High St Chancery. Photo by Olli Siebelt

Federal Street

Next to the iconic Sky Tower lies the small one-way, shared space Federal St. Much of this is taken up by Sky City, but there are also a handful of top notch restaurants – Depot and The Grill, to name a couple – as well as the incomparable Federal Deli.

An Insider's Guide to Auckland City Precincts: Sky Tower Federal St. Photo by Chris Gin
Sky Tower, Federal St. Photo by Chris Gin

Featured image by picale

An Insider’s Guide to Auckland City Precincts was last modified: November 11th, 2015 by Esther Goh
Author: Esther Goh (56 posts)

Writer and digital specialist hooked on travel and food. Calls Auckland home but desperately misses Mexican and Italian cuisine. Esther blogs at NZ Muse.