Ponsonby has lost some of its risqué appeal. Two decades ago the run down suburb was a magnet for burgeoning artists and a reputed safe haven for the gay and lesbian communities. Ponsonby today, is ‘colourful’ but respectable, its Victorian-style houses now creating an exclusive residential suburb for Auckland’s upper-middle-class.
The suburb has also forged a reputation for fine dining with the establishment of some excellent restaurants, bakeries and cafes and its close proximity, a mere 2 km to central Auckland.
Ponsonby is nicknamed ‘the dining room of Auckland’ and so it pays to make a reservation if you want to dine at one of the better known establishments like SPQR or La Cantine du Torchon, the latter tucked away at the Three Lamps end of Ponsonby Road.
Be adventurous and venture down some of the endearing alley ways which run off the main road. You will be quite safe and in for a delightful surprise at the quality of food and service in the quaint cafes.
Ponsonby Central was established in 2012 and brings together a diverse mixture of cafes, restaurants and fresh food shops. After browsing the Ponsonby Produce Market, there are plenty of restaurants where you can just pull up a chair and enjoy the food cooked in front of you. Japanese, Thai, Seafood, Argentinian BBQ and a selection of cafes line the compact square creating a vibrant atmosphere. A weekly market is held on Sundays.
No visit would be complete without popping in to the Devonport Chocolate Shop. The chocolates are handmade and they use New Zealand flavours where possible. Try their Passionfruit, Kiwifruit or Feijoa flavours.
There are several city walks that you can do. The most popular is probably the Freeman’s Bay Walk which meanders through the suburb and ends at the Victoria Park Market.
At the corner of Karangahape and Ponsonby Roads you will see the mural which was painted to protest against France’s nuclear tests in the Pacific. Look out too for The Fairy Shop. What better way is there to spend a few relaxing hours? Just sit back, enjoy a latte and let the resident Fairy Queen make your children’s wishes come true.