Exploring Central Otago
Central Otago – affectionately known as ‘Central’ – is home to welcoming rural outposts where you can enjoy the famous southern hospitality in ...
New Zealand offers plenty of highly tempting shopping opportunities and high-quality goods. Tourist shops are always on hand with New Zealand flags and chocolate kiwis, but even the tiniest bit of exploring is usually enough to uncover something unique, glamorous or special. Fantastic boutiques and galleries await discovery everywhere from urban high streets to small country towns.
Browse New Zealand’s fashion boutiques, chain stores and department stores and you’ll be amazed at the quality and range on offer. New Zealand fashion is world-class – no surprise, really, when you consider that Untouched World, Trelise Cooper and Karen Walker have been exporting to the world’s fashion capitals for years. Up-and-coming local designers are always an exciting find. For an inexpensive take on the latest fashion trends, head to chain stores Glassons or Max, and to Barkers and Hallensteins for male equivalents. By all means explore the high street fashion, but make sure you explore what’s on offer in country villages too, or a hidden gem might escape you!
Art galleries and workshops are great places to pick up arts and crafts – follow an art and craft trail to find them. Look for works of art incorporating Māori cultural symbols. The koru (spiral) stands for new beginnings, the hei matai (fish hook) depicts prosperity and strength, the bird-like manaia is a spiritual guardian and the hei tiki is a good luck charm. Look for:
Original Art: Purchase an original or limited-edition print.
Sculptures: Beautiful artisan pieces in ceramic, wood, glass or metal.
Jewellery Contemporary or traditional Māori designs.
Celebrating New Zealand’s cultural quirkiness, Kiwiana items make great souvenirs – or great gifts. You’ll have fun explaining the cultural importance of a tomato-shaped ketchup bottle! Reproductions of popular Kiwiana items are readily available in gift shops.
Each town and city has its own shopping areas, but there are some highlights you should schedule into your itinerary. Auckland’s Newmarket, Ponsonby Road, Parnell and city centre, along with central Wellington, are renowned for boutiques, while Dunedin’s George and Princes streets are great for art galleries and designer fashion. Christchurch offers fashion in the central city, Victoria Street and the stylish suburb of Merivale. Outside main centres, Napier (Hawke’s Bay), New Plymouth (Taranaki) and Cambridge (Waikato) are great shopping destinations. You’ll find world-class shopping in surprising places – keep an eye out for designer fashion in tiny beach towns or slick art galleries among the vineyards. The tiny Waikato village of Tirau has a main street lined with tempting little shops, and the historic small town of Greytown, an hour out of Wellington, is full of designer boutiques and quirky local stores selling everything from handbags, jewellery and art through to gourmet chocolates, antiques, homeware and rare books.
Markets are a good place to pick up gifts and unique mementos while enjoying the atmosphere and feasting on gourmet treats. You’ll find everything from craft markets to farmers’ markets. Riccarton Market in Christchurch is big, bustling and hugely popular, offering goods from local artisans, while Auckland’s Otara Market is a Pacific-flavoured highlight where you can taste Pacific Island culinary specialities. Others include the Rotorua Night Market, Wellington’s Frank Kitts Underground Market and the iconic Creative Queenstown Arts and Crafts Market. Keep an eye out for harvest markets in late summer or autumn.