How to spend a rainy day in Auckland’s central city

It was raining in Auckland yesterday so I was thinking about what I’d do if I had a few hours to kill on a wet day in the city, without a car or an inclination to use public transport.

Retail therapy is always a good, if not potentially expensive, way to stay dry. Along Queen Street you can experience the luxury of Louis Vuitton and Gucci, loose yourself in Smith & Caughey’s Auckland’s oldest department store or search for a bargain at dozens of high street stores. You’ll also have no trouble finding All Black jerseys, cameras, jewellery, wish- you- were- here t shirts and stuffed kiwis. If this makes you happy, stop reading right now and get your shopping shoes on. For everyone else, here are some alternatives.

1. At the bottom of Queen Street check out Shed 10 and the Cloud on the wharf next to the Ferry Building. Exhibitions and events are held here during the year and you might just have timed your visit right .

The Cloud

The Cloud

2. Civic Theatre (cnr of Queen and Wellesley Streets). There might be a matinee show to see or just pop inside to see the elephants

3. Jason Books in Chancery Chambers, O’Connell Street. This is a great little second hand bookstores and if you’re like me an hour will pass before you know it.

4. For bargain hunters with a penchant for interesting/vintage clothes there are a couple of outlets in Little High Street – accessible from the first floor of Whitcoulls (cnr Queen and Victoria) or High Street. You could spend a happy time among furs (yes, I know), glamorous dresses, winter coats, hats and lots more besides in Tango. Almost next door, in Smoove, you’ll find little dresses (new and retro), t-shirts, jewellery and bags. There’s lots of men’s stuff too. If you venture out onto High Street, you’ll find Tatty’s which is a lovely place to rummage for pre-loved NZ and international label bargains.

5. Nearby, Mezze Bar in Durham Lane is a little hard to find but once you have you won’t want to go anywhere else for coffee/wine/tapas/ cake/or something more substantial (the Spanish tuna dip is highly recommended). There’s free wifi, comfy chairs and it’s a cosy spot to hunker down for a couple of hours.

Smoove - clothes with attitude

Smoove – clothes with attitude

Mezze Bar

Mezze Bar

6. Art Galleries are popular on rainy days but it’s fair to say that Auckland’s Art Gallery is popular everyday, rain or not. It really is worth a visit (take the route from Queen Street, along Lorne Street and through Khartoum Place There is often a special exhibition to see (entry fee) but the main gallery is free and full of contemporary and historic art from New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, and some international art too. Tours are free 1 hour gallery every day at 11.30am and 1.30pm and you can grab a coffee at the cafe or espresso bar afterwards. The Gallery Shop is worth a look – classy knick knackd (ideal for gifts), cards, art books and beautiful ceramics and glass by renowned NZ artists.

7. The Art Gallery building is perched so close to Albert Park that it would be a pity not to have a quick walk before heading back – if the rain has stopped. The Lantern Festival is held here every year to celebrate Chinese New Year and in the summer the grassy lawns are covered in students from the university ‘studying’.  Yeah, right!  Albert Park has some fantastic trees, lovely flower beds, a Victorian fountain and there’s a good view of the Sky Tower too.


Lantern Festival in Albert Park

Lantern Festival in Albert Park

Categories: New Zealand

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