The summer holidays are a great time to get out and about, and enjoying a fun day out doesn’t have to break the bank!
We’ve rounded up the best summer activities here in Parnell, Auckland, so that you can make the most of your holidays.
1. Explore Auckland Domain, Auckland's oldest park
The Auckland Domain is the city’s oldest park, and with its sprawling 75 hectares, it’s also one of the largest. Established in 1843, the park is built around the cone of an extinct volcano and provides some pretty fantastic sights of the cityscape. If you’re into sports, the park is equipped with football fields, cricket pitches, tennis courts, and a running track.
For those interested in more relaxing activities, there are well-maintained gardens to explore, including the recently-refurbished Wintergarden with its exotic plants and beautiful glasshouses.
Jazz at the Rotunda
The Domain is also home to Jazz at the Rotunda, a free concert on 14 January as park of Auckland Council’s Music in Parks programme. Dive into a line-up headed by musician extraordinaire Julien Dyne, a multi-talented drummer, producer, DJ and visual artist.
2. Travel back in time at Auckland Museum
When it comes to history, science, art and culture, there’s no better place to visit. You’ll find the Auckland War Memorial Museum standing prominently on the Auckland Domain grounds, making it a great place for history buffs to check out.
Alongside regular displays covering a range of eras, events and cultures, you can also view Te Rā, the only known customary Māori sail in existence.
59th Annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year
If you want a little something extra to add to your experience, you can purchase tickets to see the 59th Annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year. The world-renowned exhibition, on loan from the Natural History Museum in London, will deliver exceptional images that capture fascinating animal behaviour, spectacular species and the breathtaking diversity of the natural world.
3. The sights and smells of Parnell Rose Gardens
One of Parnell’s key attractions is the Parnell Rose Gardens, also known as the Dove-Myer Robinson Park. If you’re a fan of flowers, you’ll love the more than 5000 roses that bloom here.
The garden also provides fantastic views of the Waitematā Harbour, making it a great place for a picnic or just to unwind. In addition to the roses, you’ll find native New Zealand trees and a variety of other plants. While you’re there, check out the historic Judges Bay and St Stephen’s Chapel, which are both just a short walk away.
4. Immerse yourself in art on Parnell Road
Parnell is the pulse of Auckland’s art community, boasting Auckland’s highest concentration of galleries within walking distance of each other. A leisurely stroll up Parnell Road passes multiple galleries and art stores, with wide-raging offerings including paintings, carvings, glassware, ceramics, jewellery and indigenous art. With plenty of overhead shelter over the footpath, it’s easy to stay covered in the shade while walking between galleries.
If you’re interested in New Zealand art, we’ve collated some of the best local artists in our New Zealand Artist Guide, free to download on our website.
5. Marvel at the architecture of Holy Trinity Cathedral
More than a place to gather on a Sunday, Holy Trinity Cathedral is open to visitors all week long.
Admire the architecture from the outside, where you’ll also see the public artwork ‘Mountain Fountain’, created in 1981 by Terry Stringer. Wander inside the Cathedral Nave and be amazed by architecture, organ, and dazzling stained glass windows.
The Cathedral grounds are also home to the John Wilson Gallery, and two heritage status buildings—St Stephen’s Chapel and St Mary’s-in-Holy Trinity.
6. Uncover the past in our historical houses
As Auckland’s oldest suburb, we pride ourselves on being home to multiple heritage buildings. Built in 1857, John Kinder House is one of Auckland’s most notable stone buildings. The Ground Floor rooms are devoted to the display of water-colours, photographs and sketches by John Kinder (1819-1903). This house is free to visit, with the opportunity to make a donation for the preservation and maintenance of the house.
Parnell is also home to Ewelme Cottage, which is open on Sundays and is free for under 18s.
7. Holiday Adventures at Parnell Library
Housed in Parnell’s historic Jubilee Building, Parnell Library is the portal to a world of books and resources. It’s also a community hub, hosting regular preschool groups and book clubs on a weekly basis.
This summer, the library is hosting a range of free events for children of all ages, including painting workshops, Guess the Gods Bingo, summer storytime, and a visit from Auckland Zoo! Visit their Facebook page for event details.
8. Enjoy time outdoors with our parks and walks
For an Auckland inner-City suburb, Parnell has an excellent diversity of parkland ranging from the expansive Auckland Domain to inner city urban spaces such as Heard Park and Fraser Park, as well as small green connected spaces linking the village to the residential areas.
Fuel for your adventures
If you find yourself in need of a coffee or food while you’re out on your adventures, Parnell has plenty of tasty options! Take a break at one of our many cafes, or grab some food to go for a quick fix.
Our Parnell Dining Guide is a comprehensive guide to Parnell eateries, grouped by area so you can find a spot convenient to your summer adventures.