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Auckland’s alternative shops & clubs! K Road New Zealand drag queen show, Caluzzi Cabaret.

gothic black cape cloak

Now that I’ve been to New Zealand, I understand why travel bloggers consistently put the country on their “top destinations” lists. The photo above sums it up: dramatic nature and oceans, Lord of the Rings vibes. And Auckland has a fabulous underground culture as well, which I’ll show you in this final post.

As you’ll recall, I joined the Contiki Sun and Steam tour (with a fun group of fellow young travellers). The trip began and ended in Auckland, NZ’s largest urban area.

caluzzi bar cabaret, auckland nz

I’ll take you inside the fierce and funny world of Caluzzi Cabaret — a drag queen extravaganza located on the infamous nightlife strip, K Road.

pentagram dress, occult witch clothes

Outfit details: I’m wearing a pentagram occult dress and cape by Black Milk Clothing. They also have a Game of Thrones map print dress that I love, and it’s in the same style as the one I’m wearing.

I’m never going to part with this fluffy monster bag… but I do have other kawaii and Goth Japanese fashion available, on my fashion blogger shop (come browse).

blackmilk cape, goth dresses

Contiki group tours are catered to 18-35 year old travellers, meaning that we had a lot of free time to enjoy nightlife, and explore Auckland on our own.

At the same time, our tour leader Monique and driver Dyson made sure we had a superb overview of the city’s top attractions. They were always glad to give us recommendations, and join in on the fun.

contiki tour auckland

We stopped at Bastion Point to take in the gorgeous views of Waitemata Harbour and the city of Auckland. The wind added drama to my Black Milk cape!

(Photos by Salima Remtulla, who joined me on my Contiki journey)

auckland new zealand viewpoint

I found this epic view of the Sky Tower, which rises like a spaceship in the distance.

We walked around the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial Park. It’s a tribute to the first Labour Prime Minister of New Zealand, known for his progressive welfare policies.

new zealand gardens

Savage is revered as one of NZ’s greatest prime ministers. His tomb lies by a reflecting pond and these beautiful gardens.

Contiki gave us a free day to explore Auckland, so I browsed the chic local fashion in Britomart (see more). But when dusk falls, it’s time to party…

caluzzi drag queen show

… And these ladies really know how to put on a show!

I was thrilled to see the famous drag queens of Caluzzi Bar and Cabaret, located on the famous K Road (the gritty, alternative nightlife strip of Auckland.) Address: 461 Karangahape Rd, Eden Terrace, Auckland 1010.

auckland gay clubs, bars, nightlife

I was welcomed by the friendliest bartenders and queens, who made sure I always had full glass of local Matawhero wine.

Caluzzi is a drag queen cabaret with a wonderfully inclusive atmosphere. The tables were packed with groups of friends, bachelorette / hen parties, and lots of locals.

auckland bachelorettes hen night

The gals put on a fierce floor show, with a funny air stewardess theme. They dazzled us with their choreographed dancing and singing, working the floor in their glittering stilettos.

drag queen performer portrait

Established in 1996, Caluzzi has become known as one of the best nightlife venues in the city. The drag performers are top-notch: makeup, wigs and outfits are all on point.

new zealand lgbt, drag queens

These ladies went around the room, chit-chatting and posing with the guests. Such a welcoming atmosphere, and I couldn’t stop smiling at their wicked, campy remarks. 

gay club auckland new zealand

Between the song-and-dance hilarity, the drag queens played the part of the perfect stewardesses, and took our meal orders. We got to choose from a variety of tasty main courses, and everyone got garlic bread and soup to start.

drag queens performing

While we dined, the ladies put on decadent costumes, and entertained us with a variety of routines. In this group number, they went outside and performed in the street, while we watched from the window!

You’ve got to see this short video of them in action. Just another night on K Road…

lion king drag queen dance

Everyone got up and cheered during this Lion King inspired number. She spread her wings and lip synced to “The Circle of Life.”

k road, caluzzi cabaret

Other acts involved audience participation, dance-offs, and even a Maori-inspired performance.

Caluzzi Cabaret in Auckland is pure fabulosity. Be sure to reserve a space in advance, as the seats fill up fast. Check out their website for upcoming showtimes and bookings, and say “hiiii” to the gals for me.

Karangahape Road streets

K Road, the nickname for Karangahape Road, is known for its colorful and grungy nightlife. You’ll find dive bars, strip clubs and tattoo shops here (but don’t worry, Auckland is not at all dangerous).

cockroach sculpture, kafka art

I spotted plenty of weird art installations and street art on K Road, such as this pentacle-eyed emoji. I guess Gregor Samsa (the cockroach man from Kafka’s Metamorphosis) somehow wound up in New Zealand…

cute hipster fox pillows

There are also lots of cute, hipster boutiques. These fox pillows caught my eye. 

new zealand fashion store

K Road is one of the best places to shop for NZ made fashion, and independent designers.

blue hair blue lipstick girl

Come during the day-time, so that you can shop the alternative design stores. 

k road auckland new zealand

You’ll never be bored on K Road. At night, it comes alive with bars, performances, ethnic restaurants, you nae it.

teen skater boys

I ran into a group of teenage skater boys. When the stores are closed, they use the smooth floors for practising tricks.

k road clubbing, nightlife

Ghosts of K-Road. If you’re into subcultures and alt nightclubs, you can’t miss this district (and Caluzzi’s drag queen cabaret, which is located here.)

contiki youtube vlogger trip

Kia Ora to Contiki for the once-in-a-lifetime journey! I also wrote about the experience on Business Insider Travel, and you can see all my New Zealand posts here, in this blog category.

auckland botanical garden

And now, it’s time to fly away to my next destination. I still have lots of Slovenia and Scandinavia posts to share with you, and I’ll be somewhere both old and new in the upcoming weeks. 

kawaii model hong kong

If you could hop on a plane to anywhere in the world, where would you go? Hmm…

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22 Comments

  1. Posted September 13, 2016 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Nice!

  2. Posted September 13, 2016 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

    Dramatic cape I dig it!!!!

    • Posted September 15, 2016 at 5:14 am | Permalink

      Capes are the best.

  3. Posted September 13, 2016 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    looks like an epic journey! Epic Queens and Epic landscapes XD

    • Posted September 15, 2016 at 5:14 am | Permalink

      Can’t wait to see you for more Epic Queen Epicness!

  4. Posted September 13, 2016 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    we’re gonna go to Auckland!

    • Posted September 15, 2016 at 5:15 am | Permalink

      Ohhh you will love it!

  5. Posted September 13, 2016 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Awesome Awesome

  6. Posted September 15, 2016 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    haha

  7. Posted September 15, 2016 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    That is incredible!!!

  8. Posted September 15, 2016 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    sweetness…..

  9. Posted September 15, 2016 at 5:18 am | Permalink

    I’m very happy for you <3 Keep on all the amazing work! You're inspiring ^_^

  10. Posted September 15, 2016 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    Caped crusader!

  11. Posted September 15, 2016 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful.

  12. Posted September 15, 2016 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    I love Auckland. Great roundup.

  13. Posted September 18, 2016 at 5:09 am | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing I love it so much

  14. Posted September 18, 2016 at 5:09 am | Permalink

    Amazing Auckland. ❤️

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