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FLY guy WALKS: K’ Road Part I

Written by A Fly Guy

When following a gang of backpacks or hipsters in Auckland, chances are they will lead you right to Karangahape Road. Despite the intimidating pronunciation, I didn’t have to worry about saying it correctly when requesting directions (no tourist maps for me, Fly Guy is an independent traveler!).  Locally it’s known simply as K’ Road. Call it such and you’re already talking like a local. Asking for directions, depending on who’s asked, will usually warrant a reaction of something along the lines of, “why do you want to go there?” The street has made much effort to move away from its seedy past, but still it has a reputation as an area where strange people take strange strolls…aka vegans and artists. This would be my clue that a good walk will ensue.

From the early 1900’s to 1960’s K’ Road was the “IT” street in Auckland, hosting numerous shops and department stores. Construction on an inner-city motorway led to K’ Road’s downward spiral and it wasn’t long before the red lights came on. Today the red light only flickers in a few shop windows towards the end of K-road and street walkers have been replaced with street fashion bloggers. Hipsters abound in the quaint cafes sipping organic fair trade soy lattes and dining on designer vegan dishes. This is the New K’ Road.

K’ Road still maintains a turn of the century, main street appeal with its double to triple story shopfronts.

My first stop on K’ Road is always Revel Cafe. Their food is kind to the earth and their coffee is fairly traded. Need I say more? At first glance, Revel appears to be a tattoo parlor. Once past the graffiti tagged entry I’m soothed by the thrift store motif. It’s a comfy cafe sporting deep red walls and littered with vintage toys and treasures. Revel’s menu is designed for diet savvy patrons. Gluten free, Vegan, or Vegetarian, they will dish it all up on vintage mix-matched plates. Like a bit of animal products? They serve that too and it’s eco friendly to boot. Organic and free range all the way. No need to worry if you can’t finish your food. What’s left is separated and used for composting a new generation of organic goodness.

So animal friendly even this little hipster knew he’d be welcome

Brewing organic fair trade coffee that’s good to the last drop.

If you don’t have time to sit and take in all the carefully placed junk decor you can choose a whole slew of takeaway options from the chiller. I took a vegan sandwich on beetroot bread and it was A-MAZING!

My favorite dish has to be the Walnut/Mushroom burger. Even cow eaters have to admit this one is good.

If the vintage decor of Revel doesn’t give you your full throwback fix, just cross the street and look for Fuzzy Vibes Junction. This shop will do the trick. Located in the basement, the doorway is easy to miss so keep your eyes open. Fuzzy Vibes seems to be the most organised of the K’ Road’s vintage thrift stores. The shop is easy to navigate and is a disco trip for the eyes. I liked the collection of vintage barware.

Pharmacies usually aren’t on my list of walk hot spots, but Lambs Pharmacy deserves a mention. It’s been on this street for ages and the staff can dig up stories of K’ Road’s not-so-glorious past. These veteran pharmacists really know their stuff.  I usually meet Ann behind the counter and she’s quick to suggest what works and what doesn’t.  Honest Ann, I like her picks. New Zealand prides itself on being a natural country and their local pills and potions echo their intentions. One reason I like this chemist is I can find homeopathic aids and products made in New Zealand. A bonus for cabin crew-you get 10% off your purchase when you flash your ID.

New Zealand-made M&R natural homeopathic tonics are the fastest to disappear from shelves. I wanted to try the skin and allergy tonics but they were sold out. Ann placed an order for me so that I can get them on my next trip to the shop.

I coughed in Ann’s presence and she quickly directed my attention to a lung elixir made by a local well known master of herbology, Malcom Harker. I love the potion and, hold on…. I just remembered I needed to take a shot of it. That feels good going down…

Learn more about Malcom and his range of products here: www.malcolmharker.com

Graphic art and illustrations take shape as t-shirts and hoodies inside Monster Threads. The Australia based shop offers a great selection of whimsical apparel and accessories.

From the minute I saw the Monster Threads’ eco-friendly wallet, I knew it could only truly belong in one place-my pocket. It was the colorful artwork that first caught my eye, and when I discovered they are made from Tyvek, I was completely sold. Tyvek is more or less the same stuff that is used to make banknotes in Australia and New Zealand. The wallets are lightweight, tear and water resistant, and recyclable.

The shopkeeper directed my attention to the Melissa Shoes. They’re one of the shop’s most popular products. Fashionable, eco friendly, comfy, vegan, recyclable shoes! Where have you been all my life!! Apparently I somehow missed the hipster memo on these. Melissa has been doing collaborations with top fashion minds like Vivienne Westwood for years. I don’t usually like plastic products so did some research and found out this company is pretty remarkable. According to their website “all Melissa plastic shoes are created with zero waste ethos and particular attention to the life cycle of the materials. Melissa recycles 99.9% of factory water and waste, and they recycle overstock styles into next season’s collection.” Most of the shoes are made of Melflex. This is “a malleable plastic, developed by Melissa that molds easily to your foot, breathes well, is hypoallergenic, odorless, neural and natural. It even retains these amazing properties once it is recycled.” Check out the website for all the funky styles: www.shopmelissa.com.

I love this idea of a paper watch! You can doodle and design your own funky timepiece!

Time to take a coffee brake and then let’s meet back here tomorrow to continue this walk! – A Fly Guy

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