K-Road is a mix of alternative and traditional. Its real name, Karangahape Road, is rarely used. Even first-time visitors to Auckland, New Zealand, often know of K-Road’s flamboyant reputation. Cafes and shopping dominate it by day, while nighttime is filled with lively fun.
If you look on a map, you will find K-Road in Auckland’s Central Business and financial district, but it is anything but your typical city centre.
Shopping covers the gambit from high-end to second-hand. It’s an ideal neighbourhood for boutique gifts, clothing, and accessories. And you won’t go hungry while you are here. Enjoy culinary delights ranging from fine dining to takeaway, with a number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the mix.
Normally, it’s nighttime when K-Road really comes to life. But recently, we attended a street art festival during the daylight hours.
On a weekend in early April 2015, K-Road hosted All Fresco, a public art festival in which 10 artists were each allocated a wall or other giant canvas to produce their own style of urban art.
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K-Road urban artwork weekend
Seeing so many well-known street artists in action and the huge variety in the manner in which they paint were the real highlights for me of the urban artwork weekend. Now, whenever I walk through the neighbourhood, it’s the artwork itself that makes me smile. That, and the memory of this day’s photoshoot.
I thought about updating these photos with the completed works, but I love the idea of having the artist and the in-progress work. A walk down K-road and some of the side streets, and you can find them all.
Xoe Hall (artist)
We watched Xoe Hall paint from the ladder for a while, then she took a step back to have a look at her artwork in progress. This one is on a side street off of K-Road.
Tanija Jade (artist)
Although most of the artists had walls to paint, Tanija Jade had a smaller space. Here she paints directly onto an electrical box on K Road.
Askew One (artist)
Artist Askew One stands with friends in front of his completed wall. This is the only finished work we saw, as we were there on Saturday, and artists had one more day to complete their masterpieces. This one is on Mercury Lane, facing the motorway.
Jon Drypnz (artist)
Artist Jon Drypnz is on an electric scissors lift painting this huge work which can be seen from the motorway.
Cinzah and Elliot Francis Stewart (artists who painted the same wall)
We watched artist Cinzah creating with spray paint on the Ponsonby wall at the corner with Karangahape Road (K-Road). At the other end of the wall is an existing work by Elliot Francis Stewart.
Owen Dippie (artist)
Another huge artwork requiring a lift to complete, here Owen Dippie puts on the final touches on this masterpiece seen today from the motorway.
These artworks are just a sample of the diverse street art found in both New Zealand and Australia.
K-Road in more than just art
An eclectic mix of alternative lifestyles, k-road is full of life and has an energy all its own. Home to locals and frequented by visitors, K-Road is a gathering place filled with artists, students, writers, musicians and others seeking an alternative lifestyle.
Resisting gentrification, it is the place to find anything from modern fashion to second-hand. Or if it’s vintage or retro you are looking for, K-road is also your place.
Hungry? K-road features plenty of vegan and vegetarian cafes and restaurants (plus plenty of gluten-free options). And the range of flavours highlights the multicultural flair of the neighbourhood. We have enjoyed Mexican, Middle Eastern, Asian, Indian, Italian, and even New Zealand cuisines.
Day and night have a different feel to them. After dark, K-road finds some of the most outrageous nightlife in Auckland, especially if you hang out here on Halloween. Loaded with bars, nightclubs, strip clubs, and even sex toy shops.
The area is well known for gay bars and even has a really fun drag queen cabaret-style restaurant.
Where is K Road?
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Wonderful street art. I love how places can be made more beautiful by the artistry – such a fantastic idea. I wish we had more of that. I’ve seen pictures of a street artist’s work (I wish I could remember his name) who is known for his three-dimensional looking chalk drawings on the pavement, where you see depth that isn’t there. Incredible.
If you think of the name of that artist let me know. I would love to look him up and see his work.
Love the artwork! When we moved to San Diego, we were surprised to see that most of their electrical boxes are painted. Not just bombed with graffiti, but actually painted by artists – some in very great detail. Lots of them are inspired by nature, since the city is big on outdoorsy activities, but they’re all definitely unique. I love that the city actually has a program for this artwork, instead of leaving those ugly boxes out there naked. I need to go visit Chicano Park, where there’s basically a “graffiti bridge” of murals.
This electric box’s painting is inspired by a statue that sits nearby. The light glared off it at the time of day we were there, and my photo just isn’t up to standard.
Beautiful art work. I can see why they shorten the name to K road.
That looks like an interesting area. I think it would be awfully hard to paint something that huge.
Public art (legal or otherwise) is usually worth searching for. When I’m in a new city I enjoy finding the areas that attract “graffiti”. Usually the paintings are unappreciated and high quality.
You and I must be looking at different graffiti. Although when I was in Berlin the graffiti was colorful, attractive and everywhere.
Elen @ Elen G
I’m blown away by the art, Rhonda. Wowza. Another fun post.
I was too Elen. I would love to have that much talent and confidence to paint my work so big.
This looks like a happening place to be. Puts me somewhat in mind of Los Angeles, though I haven’t seen any electrical boxes artistically painted around here. We have plenty of wall art along with an ample dose of undesirable graffiti.
A to Z Challenge Co-host
It’s the graffiti I remember from LA. I find that New Zealanders tend to be respectful of artwork.
These are wonderful paintings and artwork along the road.Hope you had a great time walking there….
Actually, it was great fun. There is much more art than I could show here, plus the interesting shops, delicious lunch and a great cup of coffee.
Quite a few towns around here do have wall murals. I, too, am amazed at how they paint on such large canvass. Here ours go from historical murals about the town or modern bits to jazz things up. Seeing the cranes and lifts needed to do some of the art work shows how much work and effort go into creating these paintings. Just Wow.
I agree with”Wow”. That is exactly what I was thinking when I watched some of these amazing artists.
Sean @ His and Her Hobbies
K-Road looks awesome and I love all of the artwork. There is nothing like that anywhere near here. I am a huge fan of cartoon and city artwork.
Sean at His and Her Hobbies
Paul F. Pietrangelo
I loved all the art work especially the first one that wasn’t completed yet. The electrical is a great idea. Here in Amherstburg, Ontario, Canada, my town, they draw soldiers on the fire hydrants because my town was important during the War of 1812. Fort Malden was located in an area protecting the Detroit River during the war. I always enjoyed art, looking at it or just doing some of my own. Thanks for the photos. See ya.
Actually, only one of the ones we saw was complete. We went on Saturday, and the artist still had one more day.
The world really is their canvas, isn’t it? Beautiful pictures, and I’d love to live in a city that had such things!
Wow! fantabulosa artwork…amazing 🙂
Have an artistictastic day Rhonda 🙂
Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor
Fantastic pictures. I used to work at a building just off of K Street and would walk down the street to and from work each day. A wonderfully quirky part of Auckland!
I love your street art. Around here all we see is gang graffiti. Ugly stuff.
Have a fabulous day. 🙂
C. Lee McKenzie
I love art that everyone can see and enjoy like this. Beautiful!
I thought it was really cool that all the arches were there, and the few we talked to were very friendly even though we know they were quite busy.
An art festivale sounds fantastic. Cool paintings. The K Road seems to be an interesting place to visit.
The women in the first one are so cool!
I love art. I’d really enjoy this festival. I think the concept is neat. 🙂
I agree. That was the first one we came upon and it got me super charged for the rest of the festival.
Cool artwork! Interesting too is how the artists are using a crane to reach the high walls i’m used to seeing people using scaffolds.
I’m not sure those two guys using the lift to build scaffolding that high. Those are made to be seen from the motorways.
Alex J. Cavanaugh
The art contest is a cool idea. Three days isn’t a lot of time.
Zombie family stick figures – now that’s funny!
Actually, it’s not a contest but rather and opportunity to create street art. I’m not sure how they selected the artists, but I am sure it is a huge honor.
Hi Rhonda – it amazes me how artists can visualise such enormous ‘canvasses’ and ‘transfer’ them onto walls, boxes etc .. absolutely incredible and a delight to see .. they certainly cheer up urban walls …
Your Karangahape Road looks a great place to visit .. loved looking around it .. cheers Hilary
Even on the ones where you can see they have drawn at first, I still don’t know how they can get the shading right to create images so large.