For the best fringe benefits in Auckland, head to Parnell
The history of Parnell, Auckland’s premier fringe suburb begins in 1841, when land was purchased and subdivided into 36 blocks to create the city’s (and New Zealand’s) first suburb. In those early days, Parnell was home to mechanics and tradesmen who worked in the industrial hub of Mechanics Bay. By the early 1900s, Parnell was connected to the city and beyond by road and rail links – and the city’s tramcars were running up Parnell Road. Auckland’s oldest suburb has endured to also become one of its most eclectic, most vibrant and most enticing. Although much has changed in Parnell since those early days, thankfully much has also remained the same. The streets are still lined with buildings and homes that reflect colonial character and charm. Parnell has it all – from quaint shops, boutique fashion houses and dazzling jewellers to award-winning restaurants, lively bars and the best range of galleries on one street in Auckland. So why not pop over to the Auckland fringe suburb of Parnell for a fresh perspective? Discover a top restaurant, meet some independent artists and designers who’ve flung open their doors just for you, enjoy the best breakfast, stop off for a great coffee, unwind with friends over a drink in a vibrant bar – all just a stone’s throw from the CBD. One thing’s for sure, though, you’ll find yourself a new favourite place to eat, drink, shop and lounge on Auckland’s fringe in Parnell.
The city fringe hub that’s a great place to work
Parnell is more than just an exciting, happening and fun place to visit; it’s also a great place to work. Known as Auckland’s ‘creative quarter’ – not only for its growing and ever-changing art scene (Parnell is practically a village of galleries) but also for its higher-than-usual percentage of the professional services and creative sector employment on the city’s fringes. Parnell is home to jobs in architecture, engineering, ICT, design, advertising, and the visual arts, including film and video, plus a number of corporate head offices – in addition to the many businesses working in the hospitality and retail trades. The choice of office location for the small to mid-sized workplaces that are typical in the creative and professional sectors is often driven by the needs of their people to work in stimulating environments with a sense of individuality. The high-stud industrial and former warehouse buildings from Parnell’s earlier days as a portside precinct provide converted office space full of the necessary character and quirkiness that appeal to the design industry. Also, the charming buildings along Parnell’s main thoroughfares provide many a business with a unique point of difference.
Location, location, location
Sitting on the shoulder of the central city, an Auckland fringe suburb like Parnell offers a competitive advantage over other work place locations – namely, proximity to quality residential suburbs and desirable working environments amid the local character of Parnell, plus easy access to the CBD and great transport links.
The motorways are conveniently close, bus services are frequent, including radial bus services like the Inner and Outer Link buses that connect Parnell with the CBD and the other fringe suburbs, and there’s a rail link. The new rail platform development will also improve access to the main village and cement Parnell as a destination for shopping, employment and entertainment.
After all, how easy wouldn’t it be to break up the drudgery of a working day in the CBD than by stopping off on your rail (or bus) commute before work for a coffee or breakfast – you know, for one of those important ‘breakfast meetings’. And why not repeat the process in the evening after work for dinner and a drink before continuing home once the rush hour has died down?
Back to the future
Parnell continues to witness the arrival of high-quality restaurant and bar operators setting up shop alongside boutique retailers and businesses in the creative and professional sectors. Looking to the future, there’s more of the same planned, as the word is out that a number of Auckland developers have plans to sympathetically redevelop and reconfigure existing spaces and historic buildings for both commercial and residential purposes.
Irrespective of whether you live, work or play – or are lucky enough to do all three – in Parnell, this city fringe suburb remains a rising and sought-after residential, retail and commercial precinct in a location unmatched in Auckland.
Whatever your interests, the Parnell Directory offers a long list of activities from which to pick and choose in Parnell – for some inspiration, simply check out our suggested list of things to see and do in Parnell.