Yesterday in part one I began my walk along Auckland’s notorious K’ Road and found some noteworthy shops and cafes that make this street one worth visiting on an Auckland stopover. Continuing on down the street in part II we find…
The Biz DoJo was described as a must-see by one K’ Road shopkeeper. I was a told it was basically a shared environment where creative minds meet other creative minds and together make massive creative stuff. It sounded like my type of place! Once inside I liked what I saw. The Biz DoJo is a cooperative work arena where members pay a monthly fee to tap into the shared reservoir of creativity and resources like internet, DJ booth, sowing machines, art gallery, photography studio, fashion market and cafe that the space houses. The dojo’s bare cement floors and white walls provide the perfect canvas for creativity to flourish. Free spirited business travelers stopping in Auckland would find this space to be a better alternative than staying cooped up in a drab hotel room all alone pecking away at their laptop.
Don’t want to be the next Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg? No worries, you can pop in for an organic coffee or beer from the cafe, and have a quick browse in the HYPE store. Most of the items were created in the very space where they’re being sold.
ALEXANDER BALFOUR 1977 is a men’s line that grabbed my attention. It’s designed by HYPE’s founder Kit Lawrence. He described his line to me as fashionable, functional, stylish sports clothing. This line is perfectly suited to the trendy traveler. The pieces are as light and breathable as a tracksuit but would allow you to maintain fashion dignity and comfort during or after a long flight. I have my eye on the raincoat! Would be perfect for a wet FLY guy WALK. HYPE sells both men’s and women’s apparel.
Nick, the founder of the Biz DoJo brand directed me down a few storefronts to the Verona cafe. Always trust creative minds to lead you to creative spaces. Verona’s rustic metallic walls and organic finishing have a country store meets jazz bar appeal that makes you want to just sit and drink a cold brew. The menu is explained as a “range of health options including energizing raw food, gluten free dishes, and nourishing health drinks.” The dishes are designed around produce found at the Matakana farmers market. Verona is one of the longest running cafes in the city, having called K’ Road home for more than 20 years, and that in itself warrants a stop.
The cafe plays host to live DJs and musical acts as well as poetry readings and stand up comedy.
It wouldn’t be a hipster hangout if it didn’t avoid mainstream brews. Beers on tap are made with love and attention at the Leigh Sawmill micro-brewery in Leigh, New Zealand.
Next visit I’m having the vegan cake
Eye candy abounds on the shelves of the very colorful Iko Iko. As sweet, tropical and vibrant as the pop song of the same name, Iko Iko boasts a wide variety of gifts for everyone. Even the sales girls are colorful!
I found some great travel themed goods in this shop.
How about a world map metal water bottle or a Sargent Pepper pepper grinder. See they do have something for everyone!
St. Kevins Arcade is the highlight of K’ Road. The arcade’s atrium invites warm sunbeams to light the way through the boutique shops found within. OK, it’s not a fairy tale but it is a lovely space that encourages time travel and tickles your fancy as you browse the retro shops under the arcade’s roof.
The arcade is a vintage/thrift store enthusiast’s paradise. I counted at least five resale shops under this one room. As I minor collector of vintage airline bags I always swing buy hoping to score a vintage Pan Am bag in perfect condition. I’ve had to settle with TWA.
One location in the arcade I always peruse is the Cruelty Free Shop. Everything is this shop is animal friendly. Nothing is tested on animals or contains animal products. They even sell vegan cat food… Ever try to make your cat go vegan? Let me know how that works out for you. The shop offers a nice selection of organic skin care and makeup as well.
Buana Satu is where I end my walk. After that this street starts to get a little kinky. I usually avoid shops selling tropical imports but this one is worth a look. The store owner spends a lot of her time in Bali and the influence shows. She captures the relaxing charm of the Balinese island and blends it well with local handmade creations and designs.
These funky monsters and rings are among the many items handmade in New Zealand.
A few random sights to close out the walk
On my next walk I cross the ditch to and down Melbourne’s vibrant Brunswick Street.