• New Zealand's first suburb
  • Auckland's oldest house on original site
  • Gothic architecture


  • by car:

    10 mins from Auckland CBD

  • by walking:

    20 mins from Auckland CBD

Explore the historic houses and buildings of Parnell, New Zealand's first suburb. Be tempted by great cafes and specialty shops along the way.

Hulme Court, Parnell, Auckland

In 1841, Parnell was established as New Zealand's first suburb and many of the early buildings remain today.

Begin at Whitby Lodge, 330 Parnell Rd, which was constructed of stone around 1874. At 350 Parnell Rd is Hulme Court, believed to be the oldest Auckland house still on its original site. A feature of this home is the ornate woodwork around the veranda. Further up the road, the 1924 Parnell Library Building is a stately example of classical stone architecture.

Across the road at the intersection with St Stephens Avenue is the wooden Kemp's Department Store. Established in 1885 it was considered the best all round store in Auckland, incorporating a merchant, tailor, draper, milliner and mercer.

Down St Stephens Avenue, exquisite wooden gothic buildings built from 1861 to 1863 include a library, baptistery and bell tower, as well as a bishop's house and chapel. Next door, the brick Arts and Crafts style Neligan House (constructed from 1908 to 1910) includes a private chapel at the front. Over the road, a small but complex house built in 1857 as a Deanery, is constructed of dark volcanic stone from Rangitoto Island.

Return to Parnell Rd and turn left. Alongside the impressive new cathedral lies a real treasure, the magnificent Saint Mary's in Holy Trinity. Described as one of the finest wooden churches in New Zealand, this masterpiece of the Gothic style was built between 1886 and 1897.

Continue south along Parnell Rd to the Terrace Houses on the corner of Claybrook Rd. A wooden villa at 6 Claybrook Rd, built by architect Sampson Kempthorne who arrived in Auckland in 1842, is another treasure.

On the corner of Parnell Rd and Ayr St, the two-storey Kinder House was built in the 1850s as the headmaster's residence for the Church of England Grammar School. It’s open to the public Monday to Saturday. The graceful wooden Ewelme cottage at 12 Ayr St completes the walk. This 1863 private home is now a museum and is open from Wednesday to Sunday.

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