Exterior View - Karen Walker, Wellington & Wairarapa, New Zealand

Karen Walker

New Zealand's most famous fashion designer has outposts all over the country, including several in Auckland. Since her first successes in the mid-1990s, Walker has been represented in big-name department stores all over the world, including Barney's in New York, but it's still fun to browse for her boho-chic, understated lines in her hometown.

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Exterior View - Old Bank Arcade, Wellington & Wairarapa, New Zealand - Courtesy QFSE Media

Old Bank Arcade

Your one-stop shop in Wellington should be The Vault, since they carry a wonderful array of locally made gifts. But for a more varied shopping experience, don't miss the restored Old Bank Arcade, which feels like a mix between a steamship, Hong Kong's Pedder Building and a high-end mall. The interiors are gorgeous – complete with colorfully tiled floors and an old bank clock that rivals that of Grand Central in historic grandeur. It also happens to be animated: every hour on the hour, it opens to reveal animated scenes, a fun detail for children especially.

The floors are lined with a good mix of boutiques, from fashion and accessories to beauty and concept stores. There's a good lunch spot (Smith the Grocer) and a bustling vibe, as many locals use the arcade for short-cuts across town, since the building occupies an entire city block.

Interior View - Vault, Wellington & Wairarapa, New Zealand


Hidden up a staircase down a small pedestrian-only alleyway, the Vault is your one-stop shop for locally made gifts. (There's a second branch in Auckland, but the Wellington store is much larger and holds more product.) Affordable smaller finds, like vintage cards printed with New Zealand birds, children books about New Zelaand lore and cool fashion, are mixed in with beautifully designed and pricier jewelry. Don't miss Nelson designer Ashley Hilton's understated silver jewelry, accented by abstract renderings of local flora.

Editors' Picks
Exterior View - Zambesi, Wellington & Wairarapa, New Zealand


In a country that is decidedly non-high-fashion, Zambesi stands out. Founded in the late 1970s, the fashion label is another New Zealand icon but unlike its Karen Walker counterpart, it's only available in New Zealand, Australia and Japan. The stores feature asymmetrical, cool-cut fashion for women and men (some of it more wearable than other statement pieces). There's also an eyewear and jewelry collection.

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