New Zealand: To See Queen Street You Have to Move Beyond the Sidewalk

If all you do in Auckland is walk down the sidewalks of Queen Street, not only are you not seeing all of Auckland, you’re also not seeing all of Queen Street. What you will see is plenty of construction as the city tries to improve the harbor area. There are dozens of shops available to rent. There are lines of people who are waiting to get into internationally famous, upscale (read: exorbitantly overpriced) stores that apparently provide a personal salesperson for every shopper.

There are homeless people sleeping on the street, rummaging through the trash cans, and scouring the ground for cigarette butts that haven’t been completely consumed of their tobacco. There are construction workers in bright orange. There are tourists with unwashed hair and backpacks in front and behind them. Older tourists walk with a purpose as their roller bags follow.

At Christmas, Santa and his reindeer stand over three stories talon a corner. Shops have their holiday window displays out that may or may not be animated.

There are chain restaurants and food offerings from Japan, Korea, China, and India. There are vegetarian food places, and those that offer donuts, muffins, and cheesecakes.

And with all of this, you have still only seen the façade of Queen Street. There are secret alleys and arcades that house different shops and lead to other streets. You may not even recognize one of these secret passageways because it looks more like a closed-up shop than an entrance to a public byway. It’s in these alleys, arcades, and their connected streets that you’ll find better deals and shops that are more authentically New Zealand.


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