Locals call it the “City of Sails,” and you’ll know why before your plane even touches down in Auckland. From the air you can see many of the city’s 70,000 boats bobbing in the crystal-clear waters of Waitemata Harbour. If you want to meet locals, your best bet it to profess a love of sailing. And you'd better have a thing for beautiful beaches, as there are dozens within a short drive.
Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand, with a population of just over 1 million. Over 200,000 inhabitants of Auckland are Pacific Islanders, which makes it the largest Polynesian city in the world. Maori make up about 15 percent of New Zealand's population. Before the arrival of Europeans, Maori society had no particular taboo about homosexuality. The Maori word for “intimate partner of the same sex” is Takatapui, a term that has been adopted by many in the gay community.
Auckland’s gay community here is incredibly welcoming to newcomers. In February, thousands of gay boys and girls turn out for the annual Big Gay Out, held is Auckland’s Coyle Park.
The annual Out Takes Reel Queer Film Festiva has screenings in Auckland and Wellington in May and June.
Auckland International Airport is about 13 mils southwest of the city. Several shuttle bus companies get you downtown for about $20.
Local complain that Auckland isn’t as friendly to pedestrians as it could be. True, but it still has many cities beat by a mile. One good way to see downtown is the red City Circuit bus, which loops around the area. The best part: it’s free! For Auckland Transit information see MAXX. If you plan to rent a car, remember they drive on the left side here.
Much of gay nightlife in Auckland, from neighborhood bars to dance clubs to dinner-and-a-drag-show venues, is in the Newton neighborhood around Karangahape Road (locally known as K’ Road) and Ponsonby Road.
What to do
Currency and Money
The local currency is the New Zealand dollar, known colloquially as the kiwi because there’s an image of the bird on the coins. ATMs are easy to find in the downtown area.
Media and Resources
The gay magazine Express has a news and cultural coverage. Gay NZ has listings of gay bars, shops, accommodations, and events all over New Zealand. Pride NZ website explores the voices of past and present queer New Zealand through hundreds of audio interviews, archival footage and sound recordings of local LBGTI events.
For general news and information see the NZ Herald.
For map locations, phone numbers and website links for the businesses listed below, and more, see our gay Auckland listings tab.
Caluzzi Cabaret Restaurant (461 Karangahape Road), interactive, award-winning drag caberet show and dinner club, dazzling costumes, DJ and disco.
DNA Bar (382 Karangahape Rd), CLOSED September 2012, just one year after opening at the former Kamo site -- gay-lesbian mixed bar.
Eagle Bar (259 Karangahape Rd), mixed gay bar/lounge, entertainment, games, bears nights.
Family Bar (270 Karangahape Rd), popular drag show bar, diva stars and Nancy Boys Dance Company, DJ music, karaoke, open nightly until 5am, next door Saloon Bar.
Garnet Station (85 Garnet Rd, Westmere) women's espresso bar and queer sanctuary, open daily 7:30am to midnight, internet radio station. Serves organic Chiasso coffee and gluten free cakes.100% organic coffee and milk
Limelight Drag Cabaret at Switch (309 Karangahape Road), mixed-crowd drag cabaret (formerly at Finale), two shows nightly, deck overlooks K'Rd.
SPQR (150 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby), LGBT-friendly restaurant and bar, friendly staff (mostly gay).
Urge (490 Karangahape Rd), men for men club, leather, bears, cruise, underwear parties, open weekends until 5am, DJs nightly.
Sauna and Sex Clubs
Basement (12 Canada St, Newton), men's cruise playground & adult store; porn lounge, douche and showers, TV lounge, free internet, dungeon, bondage bed. Each 2nd Tuesday Leather/Rubber Night.
Centurian Sauna for Men (18 Beresford Sq, off Pitt from K Rd, Center), private rooms, 3-level theater, maze, TV, sunbed, spa pool. dry and steam sauna, internet, open daily, weekends until 6am.
The Den (348 Karangahape Rd + 16 Wyndham St + 440 Khyber Pass Rd), adult stores, magazines, videos, toys, cruising area, open 7 days.
Lateshift (25 Dundonald St, basement, Newton), large cruise club for men, maze, glory holes, amateur video cubicles, pool tables and games, TV and porn videos, internet, orgy area, nude sessions, open weekends all night until 10am.
The Wingate Club (76 Wingate St, Avondale) Sauna, Spa in West Auckland, swimming pool, large grounds to wander naked if you choose. Open 7 days Midday until late.
In Hamilton, south of Auckland, GuyZ men's bathhouse has sauna/steam, Jacuzzi, bunkrooms, porn videos and cruise area/glory-holes, just off Victoria Street.
Aspen House Bed & Breakfast Hotel (62 Emily Place, 9 379-6633; Aspenhouse.co.nz) budget downtown alternative, rooms with private or shared bathrooms, guest laundry service, luggage storage, airport shuttles.
Great Ponsonby Bed & Breakfast (30 Ponsonby Terrace, 9 376-5989; Greatpons.co.nz), small, chic b&b, on quiet Ponsonby cul-de-sac near bars and cafes. Choice of five cooked breakfasts: from smoked salmon scrambled eggs to Greek omelet with feta cheese.
Moana Vista B&B (60 Hamilton Rd, 021-376-150; Moanavista.co.nz) near nightlife action and beaches;
Palm Beach Bungalows (Waiheke Island, 9 372 5146; Palmbeachbungalows.com), seven romantic beachside bungalows and cottages.
Quest Ponsonby (68 Ponsonby Rd, 9 360-4240; Questponsonby.co.nz) near gay venues, restaurants and shops.
In Rataroa, an hour south of Auckland, there are two more options in the heart of a thermal area and world renowned spas.
Guysergaystay (1406C Pukuatua St; Guysersgaystay.com), gay men's B&B, two stylish rooms with bathrooms, clothing-optional hot tub, spa pool, and WiFi.
Rataroa Lodge (30 Rataroa Rd, Pokeno; 9 232-7636; ratalodge.co.nz), on 35 acres of landscaped and native bushand; for tranquility and stunning views from atop Mount Rataroa.