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The Insider's Guide to New Zealand - - NORTH ISLAND -

Bar­ton Street’s Casabella Lane is a small, Span­ishthemed, bou­tique-lined walk­way where you can hap­pily spend half a day brows­ing through hard-to-find ti­tles at Pop­pies Book­shop or fossicking through old china cake plates, cream­ers, teapots and sugar bowls at Casa Manana An­tiques.

This is where the Croa­t­ian­dance-lov­ing fash­ion de­signer Deanna Di­dovich also show­cases her la­bel, Ruby. Di­dovich, who is re­garded as one of the coun­try’s fash­ion tal­ents, in­her­ited the fash­ion gene from her grand­mother who was a dress­maker, and be­lieves fash­ion should be fun as well as funky.

At the end of the lane is Gor­don Har­ris, New Zealand’s largest sup­plier of arts and graphic ma­te­ri­als. Artists in­spired to paint the pretty court­yard and foun­tain need walk only five paces to stock up on pas­tels and pa­per.

Casabella is a lovely oa­sis in the busy busi­ness dis­trict and, when the sun is shin­ing, it’s a great place to have lunch or grab a coffee and lis­ten to the buskers while you ad­mire the con­tents of your shop­ping bag.

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