Just west of Auckland’s CBD, Ponsonby is one of the city’s most fashionable inner-city suburbs. Known for its restaurants and cafes, delis, boutiques, jewelers, independent bookstores, clubs and bars, and art galleries that line Ponsonby Road — this large neighborhood also has its fill of art hotels.
In a classic tale of gentrification, up until the 1970s Ponsonby had a reputation as a crime-ridden corner of the city, full of slums and unloved buildings that had remained rundown since the Great Depression. Then came the students and an underground arts scene which eventually led into Ponsonby becoming an upper-middle class neighborhood as soon as the beautiful 19th-villas were restored.
To get to know the history of the area, you can take a heritage walk and learn more about historic buildings including the Ponsonby Fire Station, Ponsonby Post Office, The Leys Institute, and St. Mary's Convent.
Two km west of central Auckland, parking is free on Ponsonby Road, except in Three Lamps. Most of the cafes in the area have free wifi, and after midnight the bus stops become taxi stands. Ponsonby Central is a fashionable laneway on Ponsonby Road, and a good spot to go to for restaurants and cafes as well as organic fruits and veg from Produce Market.