When visiting Auckland on the North Island of New Zealand, make sure to spend some time in the charming neighbourhood of Parnell. Auckland's oldest suburb is a quietly sophisticated area filled with colonial architecture and a relaxed vibe, perfect for couples or families looking for a day of exploration into the area’s local history and culture.

This upscale neighbourhood is one of the city’s prime residential areas and has loads of green space and fine boutiques interspersed between stately colonial homes and whimsical cafes. There’s lots of fun to be had for travellers looking for a more relaxed pace with a touch of sophistication.

Parnell is situated between Hobson Bay, which is filled with boats bobbing on blue waters, and Auckland Domain. Satisfy your cultural cravings and take a stroll through this green space, which is home to the Auckland Museum and the War Memorial.

Then move towards the many boutiques, art galleries, gift shops and jewellery stores. If you’re exploring on the weekend, stop at the Parnell Farmers' Market or the award-winning La Cigale French Market for a bite made with fresh, locally grown produce. Better still, get a cup of freshly-made artisanal coffee from one of the many cafes dotting the area.

Parnell was chosen as the focus of the Church of England in Auckland in the mid-1800s, so continue on with a touch of history at Ewelme Cottage, a well-preserved early colonial home originally built by Reverend Vicesimus Lush, who was appointed Visiting Clergyman to the Inner Waikato in 1865.

The house is open on Sundays from 10:30am to 4:30pm. Another building to see is the well-known stone Kinder House, which boasts an exhibition of watercolours by well-known New Zealand Anglican clergyman John Kinder, and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 12pm to 3pm.

Finish your jaunt about Parnell on the perfumed paths of the Parnell Rose Gardens in Dove-Myer Robinson Park (named for Auckland’s longest-serving mayor). From here you can admire the boats as you stroll along the waterfront.