The Best Tattoo Studios In Auckland To Get Inked At, 2024 Edition

By Alice Rich

Someone with a cute tattoo on the back of their thigh from Studio Alora.

Tattoos are a universal art form used as a form of self-expression and tribute and as the world’s most tattooed nation, it's no surprise we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a tattoo studio in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.

Portraits of family and idols, homages to favourite cartoons and video games, religion and various subcultures… the possibilities are as endless as your imagination. But, you gotta remember, ink is a very serious process—it is on you for life, after all. Make sure to think long and hard before you step into that chair and choose your parlour and artist carefully.

But there are so many tattoo studios, how do you tell the good from the bad? How do you know who takes hygiene seriously and who has a steady hand? How do you choose a place that specialises in the style you want? Well, it’s easy.

Urban List has done the research and compiled a list of places you can trust to give you the tattoo you want safely including at this North Shore gem. So, in no particular order, here are the best tattoo studios in Auckland... so go forth and ink up. 


Waitākere Ranges, 18 Turanga Road, Henderson Valley, Auckland

Someone with a trippy flower tattooed on their arm at Exium.
Image credit: Exium | Instagram

Former co-owner of White Rabbit, Ace Alexander, has a nature-based tattoo studio that just might resonate, hard. Exium is part tattoo studio, part art gallery (currently brimming with jade, macramé jewellery and sterling silver) and part collaborative event space with an open invite to reach out if you’d like to be involved. Alexander’s signature brushwork-reminiscent ‘rite of passage’ tattooing style lives and breathes here. Come through for a next-level tattooing experience.

Vaeau Family Studio 

Grey Lynn, Auckland

Someone wears an intricate tattoo just below the neckline.Image credit: Vaeau Family Studio | Instagram

Alofa (love), tautua (service) and fa’aaloalo (respect) blend to create Vaeau Family Studio, a safe space where indigenous permanent marking practices are protected and celebrated. Here you’ll find tattoo artists Tyla Vaeau who specialises in tatau (Samoan tattoo) with machine and 'au (traditional Samoan tatau tools) and whose work is pictured, Hiram Vaeau, and Wetere Paki who specialises in ta moko. The private studio in Grey Lynn is available by appointment only.

Studio Alora

Grey Lynn, Auckland

Someone stands side on with a delicate tattoo on their arm.
Image credit: Studio Alora / supplied

Former secondary school art teacher turned full-time tattoo artist, Maddi Garrett has opened a fairy floss pink tattoo studio, Studio Alora, and it’s utterly charming. The bubbly tattoo artist specialises in a form of illustration she calls ‘Magic Marking’, a slow, intuitive, loving style that honours tattooing as a sacred, healing and intimate exchange.

Every piece is stunning and hums with energy intended to complement, support or enhance the wearer’s life. The studio has a comfortable, safe and inclusive vibe, with silent appointments available on request for those who are anxious about being tattooed or just prefer to exist in the moment. Dreamy.​

Tri Line Tattoos

Grey Lynn, Auckland

Someone with a gorgeous moko on their leg from tri line tattoos.Image credit: Tri Line Tattoos | Instagram

If you dig fine line tattoos, Tri Line Tattoos does gorgeous work, from symbols and imagery to petite flowing script. And if you’re not totally sure what you want yet, their IG and TikTok accounts are packed full of inspo like placement ideas for your first tattoo, places on your body that look great with lettering, cute tattoo concepts, thoughts on wicked matching tattoos, examples of tattoos that take less than an hour to ink, and lol-worthy reels about how to not be a shit client (because sometimes we just have to be schooled).

DM them on Insta with a succinct description of what you’re after and where, before booking.

Tattoo Gold

18 Barrys Point Road, Takapuna, Auckland

A dainty flower tattoo with the word ‘Mum’ written into the stem. Tattooed by Tattoo Gold, one of the best tattoo studios in Auckland.
Image credit: Tattoo Gold | Facebook

Tattoo Gold has been in business just a few years, but boy, have they made their mark (pun intended). Their expert team of tattoo artists—including both resident and special guests from overseas—offer realism, linework, fine line, sacred geometry mandala, dot work, Polynesian, oriental and traditional.

Plus, their Flash Weekends are pretty rad and have featured DJs like Jordan Lee, Momo, Sweetpants, Nyntee and Sammie, plus some seriously tasty kai. 

You might also like:

Chapeau Magique… The Inbetween 

Wāitakere Ranges, Auckland

A stunning tattoo excellently rendered by Waitakere Witch.
Image credit: Chapeau Magique | Instagram

If you were a White Rabbit Ink stan you’ll be delighted to know you can find former co-owner and tattoo artist Lusi Louve @waitakerewitch in her brand new forested tattoo studio, Chapeau Magique… The Inbetween.

Translating to ‘magic hat’, this is your go-to for a mesmerising, ritualised inking where meaning is woven through every moment of the experience. Needless to say, this will be unlike any other tattoo studio you’ve experienced before.

Love & Hope Tattoo Parlour

21 Khyber Pass Road, Grafton, Auckland

Someone with a cute teddybear tattoo at Love and Hope tattoo.Image credit: Love & Hope Tattoo | Instagram

Born from the desire to create a space where everyone feels welcome and artists are free to be their authentic selves, Love & Hope Tattoo Parlour is a cosy, safe and relaxed studio.

The team of two may be among the smallest on our list but their creativity is massive. Together they specialise in a variety of styles from small, fine-line detailed tattoos with a quirky, illustrative vibe to ornamental/tribal and folk-inspired imagery.

While vegan ink is the norm in most studios, Love & Hope is also committed to being as eco-friendly as possible—they use biodegradable wrapping, rubbish bags, gloves and cups, and autoclave all their tools to keep waste to a minimum.

Two Hands Tattoo

127A Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland

A stunning tattoo by @evander.agnew at Two Hands Tattoo in Ponsonby, definitely one of the best tattoo studios in Auckland.
Image credit: Two Hands Tattoo | Instagram

Established in 2005 with many years’ experience under their belt, it’s fair to say Two Hands are a big name in the Auckland tattoo scene.

Not only do they have an impressive line-up of resident tattooers, but they also regularly host revered guest artists from all over the world. The core team at Two Hands can do almost anything you could ever ask of them, but their main areas of expertise lie in bold American traditional, colourful Japanese, black and grey and black work.

Regardless of the style, the result is always stunning, with clean lines and perfectly packed colour. Keep an eye on their socials for details of the occasional flash day.

Sunset Tattoo

Unit GC/238 Karangahape Road, Auckland

Someone with a tarot card tattoo from Sunset.Image credit: Sunset Tattoo | Instagram

Living behind the infamous Karangahape Road on Cross Street, Sunset Tattoo is everything you expect in a great tattoo parlour.

A bold and bright façade invites you into a clean studio where the walls are plastered with beautiful artwork. Most importantly, though, Sunset caters to every kind of tattoo request.

With numerous industry leaders gathered under one roof, they employ the dream team. Sunset’s squad is so varied that they have an artist specialising in almost every style out there—whether you’re after Japanese irezumi or American traditional, geometric, ornamental or even flowing Maori moko, they have the right artist for every job.

Sacred Tattoo

521 New North Road, Kingsland, Auckland

Someone with a colourful man with a beard on their leg.Image credit: Sacred Tattoo | Instagram

Running a tattoo parlour out of a beautiful townhouse in Kingsland, Sacred is a long-time frontrunner on the local tattoo scene. Specialising in Japanese, American traditional and black work, Sacred Tattoo set the standard for bright colour, bold lines and sticker-like finish.

Sacred is the go-to for a flawless tattoo experience, with expert advice on hand ensuring a smooth process from start to finish. The shop takes appointments for custom designs as well as walk-ins and has a revolving roster of guest artists ready to transform your body into a piece of art.

Gargoyle Tattoo

3/149 Great South Road, Manurewa, Auckland

A stunning portrait on someone's arm at Gargoyle Tattoo, one of the best tattoo studios in Auckland.
Image credit: Gargoyle Tattoo | Instagram

Anxious first-timers and the well-inked alike rave about their experiences at Gargoyle Tattoo. The studio prides itself on having a customer-centric attitude and they certainly deliver with tattoo artist Harmanjeet’s calm manner and exceptional skill.

Experienced in tribal, old school, watercolour, lettering, ambigrams, cover-up, portrait, Polynesian and mandala tattoo design styles, at accessible prices, and stringent safety practices, Gargoyle is a great spot to get inked. 

Living Art Tattoos

G04/27 Don McKinnon Drive, Albany, Auckland

A sleeve of a warrior seen from three sides at Living Art Tattoos.
Image credit: Living Art Tattoos / supplied

Internationally acclaimed tattoo artist and owner of Living Art Tattoos, Rob Donovan, has been inking people up for 26 years. Not aligned with any particular style, there’s a sense of freedom in this studio (which also provides piercing services), where anything is possible.

Both tattoo and piercing products are vegetarian or vegan, and the studio is proudly LGBTQI+ friendly. We love that Rob offers training and guidance for aspiring tattoo artists and piercers on how to do great work and run a successful business.

Ship Shape Tattoo

1443 Dairy Flat Highway, Coatesville, Auckland

An incredibly realistic portrait of Heisenberg.
Image credit: Ship Shape Tattoo | Instagram

Ship Shape Tattoo are THE gods of realistic tattooing in Auckland with their parlour worth the trip for a perfect, photorealistic piece. With artists specialising in both colour and black and grey realism, there is no better place to go if you’re after portraiture of any kind—be it human or animal.

Ship Shape’s artists are masters of contrast, creating drama through the juxtaposition of colour and light to create contrast and 3D modelling. Their work is a testament to the state of modern-day tattooing, wowing us one piece at a time.

The Tattooed Heart

The Point, Unit 4B/571 Te Atatū Road, Te Atatū Peninsula, Auckland

An eagle faces off with a shark in this tattoo from K'Road's tattooed heart.Image credit: The Tattooed Heart | Instagram

Recently relocated from Karangahape Road The Tattooed Heart is one of the best tattoo studios in Auckland. Housing several of Auckland’s tattoo veterans formerly of the renowned Illicit Tattoo, this is the perfect place for Japanese, neo-traditional and American traditional styles.

What’s more, The Tattooed Heart also offers cosmetic tattooing as well as laser fading and tattoo removal (although we doubt you'll be wanting their tattoos removed at any point in the near or even distant future). 

Inkstitution Tattoo

3/25 Anzac Road, Browns Bay, Auckland

Someone with a colourful compass point on their arm.Image credit: Inkstitution Tattoo | Instagram

Inkstitution Tattoo uses the strictest hygiene practices and the highest quality inks, needles and equipment. Head here for good vibes and great tattoos where no idea or design is too big or small for the team. With an array of specialities among the artists and a friendly feel, these guys have got you covered… literally. 

Black Cat Tattoo

5x Central Road, Kingsland, Auckland

Split lady face by @amytrouble ay Black Cat Tattoo, one of the best tattoo studios in Auckland.
Image credit: Black Cat Tattoo | Instagram

Previously known as Kingsland Ink, Black Cat Tattoo donned a new name when they moved into their Kingsland premises. Specialising in custom designs, they employ the best of the best, guaranteeing a flawless tattoo experience for their customers.

The small team consists of very diverse and creative artists. Black Cat does some of the best new school work in the city, including stunning pin-ups, quirky food tattoos and renditions of every Disney character known to man. Their other fortes include black and grey, neo tradition and Americana, so there’s something here for everyone.

Three Dice Tattoo Parlour

19 Mount Eden Road, Grafton, Auckland  

Someone with lovely tattoos on their neck from three dice tattoo.Image credit: Three Dice Tattoo Parlour | Instagram

Formerly of Ponsonby, the team at Three Dice Tattoo pride themselves on being culturally vibrant with each artist bringing their unique flavour to the studio, from traditional and Japanese to fine-line black and grey, and realism. Founded in October 2018, Three Dice has quickly become an iconic part of Auckland’s tattoo scene. 

Otautahi Tattoo Auckland

155 Karangahape Road, Auckland CBD

Someone with a plastic bag tattoo that says thank you, have a nice day, from Otautahi Tattoo on Karangahape Road.
Image credit: Otautahi Tattoo | Instagram

A self-proclaimed "mash-up of misfits and vagabonds" Otautahi Tattoo‘s team of seven (plus guest artists) serve classic traditional, neo-traditional, old school, realism, Maori Ta Moko and Kirituhi, Polynesian Tatau, Japanese Irezumi, black and grey, and script lettering. 

Honourable mention: NiceGoblins Collective

Dominion Road

Just a few years old, NiceGoblins is not your typical tattoo studio. It's an intriguing fusion of young tattoo artists, illustrators and other creatives. Flashes arise from illustrator-tattooist collabs so the style on offer is always changing. We're excited to see how this place grows! 

Looking for more inspo? Check out:

Main image credit: Studio Alora | Instagram

Urban List Best Of: has our highest stamp of approval—curated lists of the very best recommendations for you to eat, do, see, buy or book, carefully chosen by our Editors.

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.