Art & Design

The Best Tattoo Studios In Auckland To Get Inked At, 2023 Edition

By Urban List Writers
2nd Feb 2023

Chest tattoos are artfully displayed at Tattoo Gold in Takapuna.

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 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. We've done our research and compiled a list of places you can trust to give you the tattoo you want safely. So, in no particular order, here are the best tattoo studios in Auckland... so go forth and ink up. 

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

Takapuna

Relative newcomer to the scene, Tattoo Gold has been in business just two years, but boy, have they made their mark (pun definitely 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. 

Love & Hope Tattoo Parlour

Uptown/Grafton

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.

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

Ponsonby

Established in 2005 so 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.

A black and white picture of a beautiful chest tattoo from Sunset Tattoo.Sunset Tattoo

Karangahape Road

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 basically 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

Kingsland

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.

An incredibly realistic portrait of Heisenberg.Ship Shape Tattoo

Dairy Flat

Ship Shape Tattoo are THE gods of realistic tattooing in Auckland. Their parlour may be a way out of central Auckland, but boy is it 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

Karanghape Road

Living on Karangahape Rd, occupying the space which was previously home to Illicit, The Tattooed Heart is a definite top dog in the industry. Housing several of Auckland’s tattoo veterans, this is the perfect place for Japanese, neo-traditional and American traditional styles. What’s more, 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). 

A sleeve at Till Death.Till Death

Newmarket

This is the place if you’re looking for something interesting, quirky and unique. The tight-knit team here consists of some of the most artistically creative individuals in the industry with impressive portfolios. Between the team, Till Death covers most styles of tattooing, whether you’re after a fun new school design, a stark neo-traditional piece, black and grey or minimalistic black-line—they’ll have the perfect artist for you.

Inkstitution Tattoo

Browns Bay

Inkstitution uses the strictest hygiene practices and the highest quality inks, needles and equipment. Head here for good vibes and great tattoos. No idea or design is too big or small for this team, and we’re living for it. With an array of specialities among the artists, and a friendly feel, these guys have got you covered… literally (we had to). 

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

Kingsland

Previously known as Kingsland Ink, Black Cat Tattoo donned a new name when they moved into their new 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

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. 

Someone with a plastic bag tattoo that says thank you, have a nice day, from Otautahi Tattoo on Karangahape Road.Otautahi Tattoo Auckland

Karangahape Road

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 two 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! 

All that research making you hungry? Refuel at one of Auckland's best restaurants.

Image credit: Main and top image | Tattoo Gold, Two Hands Tattoo, Sunset Tattoo, Ship Shape Tattoo, Till Death, Black Cat Tattoo, Otautahi Tattoo Auckland.

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

Get our top stories direct to your inbox.

You May Also Like