The real joy is in stumbling across a great vintage spot, but these recommendations from some secondhand shopping fans are worth a stop while on your travels around the motu.
Take Me Back, 117 Main Street, Upper Hutt
If you're heading to the Wairarapa out of Wellington — or looking for a day trip out of the city — give yourself time to stop at Take Me Back, a generously sized vintage and retro store that features everything from collectables and furniture to clothing and homewares. You'll pop in for a browse and find yourself leaving with a faux fur coat, a J.H Lynch print and a lobster lettuce dish by Carlton Ware. Also worth a mention: Monsieur Fox Vintage Store, Featherston; Mid Century Found, New Plymouth. - Shandelle Battersby, NZ House & Garden senior journalist
Take Me Back is so beautiful, it's worth visiting even if you don't buy anything. A gorgeous melange of colour, texture, themes and styles, everything in this story is in pristine condition, often almost as new. Lots of beautiful retro glassware and ceramics from every period. It's a tad on the pricey side, but the quality makes that OK. - Kylie Klein-Nixon, senior reporter for Homed
Decorum Vintage, 4 Herschell Street, Napier South, and Napier Antique and Jewellery Centre, 65 Tennyson Street, Napier South
I don’t know too many out of town hotspots on account that I’m a loser and I can’t drive. However I often find myself lured to Napier by Pania’s siren song, and when I’m there I do my best to hit up two spots; Decorum Vintage and Napier Antique and Jewellery store. For years I slept on Decorum Vintage cos the downstairs is all classic Napier Art Deco, and aside from my awesome hot pink lounge suite, that’s not really my vibe. So I avoided it until one fateful summer, I went in there anyways, and realized they had a whole upstairs filled with vintage from other era’s; sixties minis and seventies halters, much more to my taste in dresses from decades past.
The other shop is called Napier Antique and Jewellery Centre and as its name suggests it sells antiques and jewellery. It’s located in a beautiful deco building, but the inside shares an aesthetic sense with that of a Cash Converters, and low-key, the cases are so crammed with stock it’s hard to make your eyes concentrate. However, if you look in a calm state, and take your time, you are sure to find taonga because they have so much jewellery it's literally a statistical probability. Especially if you’re after that vintage pounamu and paua. - Tayi Tibble, poet, writer
Whangamatā Traders, 114 Port Road, Whangamatā
If you love a good rummage and you find yourself in the Coromandel area, Whangamatā Traders is a gold mine. Located down the south end of the Whangamatā township, it’s the perfect spot to stop if you’re heading out towards Waihi along State Highway 25 or coming into town. It’s right there on the corner and you can’t miss it. You’ll need to have some time up your sleeve because Whangamatā Traders is quite literally packed to the rafters - it’s a true junk shop with plenty of treasure to be uncovered. You could spend hours scouring through their retro glassware, pottery, books, pots and pans, retro and vintage clothing, records, old-school games and all sorts of interesting bric-a-brac. I’ve never left empty handed and you won’t either… - Lucy Slight, journalist
The Country Store, 6 Front Miranda Road, Waitakaruru
Pulling over for a bathroom break after coming back from a wonderful weekend away in Tauranga, some friends and I stumbled upon a huge warehouse on a long empty road in Waitakaruru. To our luck and surprise the store was being minded by the local kids who gave us a 'personal tour' of the building and offered to dress us up for fun.
Stationed in a warehouse turned house turned op shop, the children told us how long the shop had been in their family and what it meant to them.
Wandering through at least four huge rooms packed to the brim with clothes, fabrics, decorations and toys one could easily tell that this facility has been collecting for decades. Almost as if stuck in time, the shop carried portraits of early settler life in Aotearoa, fine china and even a 2001 new year bear.
As is expected one must dig through piles upon pies to find the gems, but hey… isn't that the best part about op shopping? - Mairatea Mohi, Stuff Pou Tiaki reporter
The Department of Curiosities and Fine Things, 14 Hastings Street, Napier
One of my favourite spots to visit. Not only do they have a wide collection of products from various local makers, they also have a whole vintage clothing section priced very affordably, I’ve always found a few goodies to take home for my wardrobe. - Danni Duncan, digital creator
Arohanui Hospice Shop, 3 South Road, Levin
Anyone who has driven through Levin knows it's a treasure trove of second hand stores. Personally, I stop at them all, but if I had to narrow it down to just one I would go for Arohanui Hospice shop.
I always zone in on the china and ceramics, you could deck out your whole kitchen here. But there is also furniture, appliances, linen, and hundreds of other retro finds to peruse. - Chloe Hill, stylist
Palmerston North, in general
Palmerston North is GOLDMINE. My hot tips are:
Arohanui Hospice Shop, 58 Lombard Street, Palmerston North. This amazing place is chock full of lots of great bric a brac, vintage gems and plants and new baby clothes. Plus, Classic Hits is always on the sound track. Good value for money.
Vinnies, 252 Rangitikei Street. Once, I donated a pile of plates from an old family friend who had died, and hidden amongst them were $2000 dollars in $100 bills. They called me and told me they had found them! We donated the money back, but wow great customer service.
Good range of clothes and bric a brac, good parking and religious calendars.
Salvation Army, 278 Church Street. This is a big store, lots of furniture, books and heaps of silverware. I got an incredible frilled collar shirt from here for $2. Worth a hunt around in! - Angela Meyer, co-founder of The Ace Lady Network
Coolectables, 1267 Kaiwaka/Mangawhai Road, Mangawhai
There is nothing better than a really good, full to the brim small town secondhand store (okay, I must admit that ‘small town’ means anything outside of my Auckland bubble…). Whenever I’m in Manghawhai - which isn’t often - I always make sure to visit Sue at Coolectables.
The name is clearly genius but she has a fantastic eye as well, from vintage trinkets, clothes, furniture, jewellery, textiles and books.
Housed at the front of her house, in the garage and an outside spot packed full of secondhand books, it’s the type of spot you could spend hours perusing, while also having a great chat with Sue who is very knowledgeable and stylish. - Zoe Walker Ahwa, Ensemble co-founder
St John's Op Shop Ngatea, 21 River Road, Ngatea, Hauraki Plains
A perfect stop on your Auckland-Mount Maunganui drive. A short turn from the main town centre in Ngatea will lead you to a large St John's op shop, just near the river.
I would recommend more for vintage plates and knick-knacks, rather than clothing, but I often enjoy a hunt around for a break from driving. Sometimes the ladies who work there will bring in vegetables from their gardens for free or cheap for customers too. - Olivia Renouf, photographer
Mr Feather's Den, 9 Fitzherbert Street, Featherston
If you're looking for vintage taxidermy (and who isn't) this spot might have something for you.
A mix of old and new items, with some upcycling, the back room is a wonderful example of classic, Kiwi eclectic decor, where Mid-century mirrors sit happily next to antique ceramics and modern sculptures. Charming and inviting, but watch out, you'll want to buy everything. - Kylie Klein-Nixon, senior reporter for Homed
Retro Republic, 34 Main Street, Eketāhuna
Transplanted to the regions from Wellington, RR is an absolute classic. An old-fashioned Aladdin's Cave type vintage store, the items are a real jumble of styles, periods and usefulness, from 30s statues, to old wire hat racks, from vintage shop mannequins, to 80s ceramic vases.
A huge line in vintage and antique clothes here too - if you're on the hunt for a wool top hat, or 20s cloche, you'll find it here. - Kylie Klein-Nixon, senior reporter for Homed
London St Vintage Traders, 31 London Street, Lyttelton
Last Autumn I snagged what would quickly become my all time favourite jumper from Lucy Parfitt of @allthegoods_nz. In September Parfitt teamed up with Elisha Ross of @amabel_finds to sell more of their vintage and second hand finds through an IRL pop-up shop in Lyttleton. A worthy detour for anyone in the region. - Tyson Beckett, Stuff and Ensemble style reporter
The Depot, 24 Belmont Road, Paeroa
Paeroa is the self-proclaimed antique town of New Zealand and my favourite stop on a road trip. It’s peppered with amazing vintage stores that cater to all tastes – it’s hard to pick a favourite!
I personally love a good rummage and The Depot has a mix of retro homewares, toys, light fittings and vintage fashion. I never manage to leave without something fabulous. My last purchase was an ‘80s beige leather jacket with shoulder pads and soft pleats. - Libby McFadden, director of brand and content at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise
Weka Peckers, 97 Robinson Road, Lower Moutere
One of the country's best op shops, in one of its most glorious holiday destinations. I've stopped in at the Motueka Recycle Centre many times en route from Nelson to the Abel Tasman National Park and it never fails to deliver.
Sift through the vintage salt and pepper shakers, pick up a book, find a cute lamp... just make sure you can fit everything in the car for the road trip home. - Fiona Ralph, journalist
Mint, 38 Victoria Street, Cambridge
Rumour has it, Wellington secondhand clothes shop owners come to Mint to buy their wares too. Started by a teenager, who is expanding next door with a an NZ-made design and furniture shop. - Emma Chamberlain, Stuff national life & style editor