Ponsonby and Herne Bay
The once fashionable suburb of Ponsonby had fallen on hard times by the 1960s when large numbers of immigrant Pacific Islanders made the area their home. Ponsonby took a bohemian turn in the 1970s and before long young professionals were moving in, restoring old houses and spending fistfuls of dollars.
For the last twenty-odd years Ponsonby Road has been a byword for designer clothing, cafés and see-and-be-seen lunching for long-term residents and the overspill from the adjacent media suburb of Grey Lynn. The street itself may not be beautiful, but the people sure are; musicians, actors and media folk congregate to lunch, schmooze and be seen in the latest fashionable haunt here. The cutting edge is now fragmented around the central city, but Ponsonby retains a great vibe and is a prime target for some of the city’s classiest clothes shopping, a good meal and some people-watching. While in the area you might want to check out The Women’s Bookshop at 105 Ponsonby Rd, which has plenty for men too, and knowledgeable staff.
To the north of Ponsonby, the waterside suburb of Herne Bay also has a cluster of excellent spots to eat, mostly along Jervois Road.