The Queen City (as it's known for completely coincidental reasons) has by far New Zealand's biggest gay population, with the bright lights attracting gays and lesbians from all over the country. However, the even brighter lights of Sydney eventually steal many of the 30- to 40-somethings, leaving a gap in the demographic. There are very few gay venues and they only really kick off on the weekends. For the latest, see the monthly magazine Express (available from gay venues), or online at www.gayexpress.co.nz.
The big event on the calendar is the Auckland Pride Festival. Also worth watching out for are the regular parties held by Urge Events (www.facebook.com/urgebar); the only reliably fun and sexy nights out for the over 30s, they book out quickly.
Venues change with alarming regularity, but these ones were the stayers at the time of writing:
Family Trashy, brash and extremely young, Family gets crammed on weekends, with drag hosts and dancing into the wee hours, both at the back of the ground-level bar and in the club downstairs.
Eagle A cosy place for a quiet drink early in the evening, getting more raucous as the night progresses. Get in quick to put your picks on the video jukebox or prepare for an entire evening of Kylie and Taylor.
Centurian Gay men’s sauna.