The Best Places to Shop in New Zealand
Some of New Zealand’s best souvenir shopping is found at art and craft galleries around the country. Locally-made crafts include Maori woven pieces and wood carvings. One color you’re sure to see all over the place: green, the color of pounamu, the Maori name for greenstone. But the country’s shops don’t just stop at souvenirs, of course. You’ll find local designer labels at shopping centers, including Auckland’s High Street. Watch for pieces by Karen Walker, one of the country’s best-known designers. Living in a camper van during your stay? Stop at the many farmers markets around the country to restock your cooler.
16 Kahu Rd, Fendalton, Christchurch 8041, New Zealand
Across New Zealand you’ll find weekend farmers’ markets packed with vendors of artisanal products and organic fruit and vegetables, as well as innovative food trucks providing tasty options for breakfast or lunch. Held in the leafy surrounds of Christchurch’s historic Riccarton House, this Saturday-morning institution attracts gourmands from across the city. For travelers, it’s a great place to try cheese and salmon from around the South Island, sample craft beer from local breweries, and stock up on baked goods for on-the-road picnics. Must-visit stalls include Sausage Sisters (for hearty pork-and-apple-sausage rolls) and Utopia Hot (for freshly baked waffles with seasonal fruit).
Auckland 1021, New Zealand
Just a short walk from Auckland‘s Eden Park, home of big rugby games in the city, the funky and bohemian Kingsland neighborhood is also developing a reputation as an eating and drinking destination. Some of the city’s best coffee is served at Atomic—try the Vietnamese iced coffee with coconut milk—and the savory pies at the Fridge are world-famous across Auckland. Packed with vintage furniture, the Portland Public House is a raffish live-music venue, and Citizen Park’s combination of Mexican food and robust cocktails has a strong following. Travelers seeking unique gifts should head to the Royal Jewellery Studio, with work by local artists including Maori designs crafted from pounamu (greenstone).
1234 Fenton St, Cbd, Rotorua 3010, New Zealand
Known to New Zealand’s indigenous Maori people as pounamu, jade or greenstone is treasured throughout the country, and in the North Island city of Rotorua, Rakai Jade provides travelers with the opportunity to craft a special memento of their visit. Working with local Maori artisans, a one-day Carve Your Own experience takes you through the full process from initial design to final product. Popular traditional varieties include pendants and stylized fishhooks, but if you can’t spare the time for a custom bauble, many excellent already-carved pieces are also available. (Reserving at least one day ahead is recommended for a design-and-carving session.)
35 High St, Auckland CBD, CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand
Hmmm, what to buy when you want a New Zealand souvenir that’s not a tacky plastic tiki or kiwi-shaped ashtray? That’s when you head to Pauanesia (pron. Pah-wah-nesia). Named after the Maori word for abalone, this High St. Auckland store has unique and interesting gifts. From authentic pounamu (greenstone) pendants that you traditionally gift to friends (never buy one for yourself) through to tea towels with 1970s motifs on them, you can be sure no one else will have what you’ve brought when you get back home.
Newbury Street, Manukau, Auckland 2023, New Zealand
Saturday morning and this is the place to be to get a true slice of the Pacific. The Otara Flea Markets have rows and rows of fresh fruit, clothing, bric-a-brac and of course food, but it’s the Polynesian colour and music that makes it so special. Far from the traditional shop fronts of Queen Street, this is where commerce meets culture and you can pick up a mighty decent bag of apples for $1.50.
Cuba St, Te Aro, Wellington 6011, New Zealand
The cultural heart of Wellington is right downtown on Cuba Street. Here art galleries rub shoulders with boutique cafes, and there’s more than an enough independent bookshops, thrift stores, and quirky bars to keep even the most alternative traveler sated. If you’re looking to mingle with locals and really get a feel for what makes Wellington special, look no further than Cuba Street. And if you have a hectic New Zealand itinerary, Cuba Street is a great spot to just relax and enjoy the capital.
Christchurch excels at reinvention, whether in creative solutions such as the Cardboard Cathedral, or in the use of shipping containers to house shops and restaurants. So it’s no surprise to find a thriving vintage-and-antiques-shopping scene as well. Among Ferry Road’s secondhand shops, Vintage Wonderland lives up to its name, featuring carefully chosen and displayed retro design and home items and collectibles. Find your treasure here, perhaps an Art Deco travel clock or a New Zealand–made teacup—or someone else’s souvenir postcard from Victorian-era Christchurch.