The busiest train station in the country and the biggest rooftop bar in Auckland are coming to the city centre. There’s a whole lot more planned, and in the meantime, some gorgeous public art to be discovered. They’re all part of a wider transformation programme aimed at creating a city centre that will be enjoyed by Aucklanders and visitors for generations. 

Eat, Play, Swim: Enjoying the Wynyard Quarter  

Wynyard Quarter, once an industrial and marine area, has undergone an impressive transformation. The marine industry still proudly calls this home, but there’s now fantastic restaurants, cafes, playgrounds, a theatre and even a basketball court. And there’s plenty more planned!  
From swimming in restored bays to new waterfront dining experiences, there will be even more new ways to enjoy the area within the next decade or so. Ten hectares of industrial land is planned to be transformed into Te Ara Tukutuku a new public park  Here, people will be able to walk through a forest, enjoy a rejuvenated coastline and more. 
We know Aucklanders love their waterside dining and we’re about to get a whole lot more with the planned Cracker Bay development. Featuring a mix of casual and fine dining eateries, it will be the perfect spot to watch the sun go down over the Waitematā Harbour. If you’re looking to head to the area, the Wynard Quarter Bridge is undergoing maintenance at the moment, but it should be up and running by Summer 2024. In the meantime, there’s plenty of buses to get you to and from Wynyard Quarter or you can take a stroll around the Viaduct Basin. 

(Top left and bottom: Cracker Bay, top right: Te Ara Tukutuku)

Cracker Bay
Te Ara Tukutuku
Cracker Bay

Britomart’s evolution continues to unfold 

Galway Street is the most recently completed space. It’s got an intimate yet bustling vibe, helped along by it being home of local institutions Perch and Daily Bread, as well as the city centre’s first Four Square in a beautifully refurbished heritage building no less. Across the road, the large temporary shed that was behind the Chief Post Office (CPO) has been removed and the space is now being transformed. By mid-2025, you'll be able to head there and have an al fresco coffee or lunch under the native trees or large seating area at Waitematā Station (Britomart) Plaza. An upgrade to Tyler Street is happening at the same time as well. 

(Top left: Perch, top right: Daily Bread Britomart, bottom: Waitemata Plaza, render) 

Perch - Sacha Stejko - 2024
Daily Bread - Sacha Stejko - 2024
Waitemata Plaza

Rooftop Bars, luxury hotels, and New Zealand firsts: take your staycation in the city centre up a notch 

Commercial Bay keeps getting better, with the newest luxury hotel in New Zealand – the InterContinental Auckland in the Deloitte Centre (formerly One Queen Street). Featuring incredible views of the cityscape or harbour and its restaurant Advieh’s contemporary Turkish food, it’s a definite contender for your next staycation. If you need further convincing, Queens Rooftop and Wineshop has just opened atop Commercial Bay offering incredible views of the waterfront and Hauraki Gulf! And a basement restaurant is coming later in the year.  

In fact, we love a rooftop bar in the city centre, so it’s exciting that the biggest open-air rooftop bar in Auckland is planned for 280 Queen Street, atop the first Radisson RED Hotel in Australasia. Shoppers at Smith & Caughey’s, or theatregoers at The Civic will be able to pop across the road and soak in the sprawling views of the Aotea Arts Quarter.   

There’s another New Zealand first hotel opening this year too – a Hotel Indigo at 51 Albert Street. Another great staycation spot, foodies will be spoiled for choice, with a contemporary pan-Asian restaurant tipped to open in the building, joining The Grove in St. Patricks Square.  

(Top left: render of Hotel Indigo, top right: InterContinental, bottom: Advieh) 

Hotel Indigo

New art across the city centre 

We’ve got public art in spades across the heart of the city and now there’s more to experience. There’s a stunning new portrait of Israel Adesanya in the works on Victoria Street West, by internationally recognised New Zealand artist Owen Dippie, with the support of Heart of the City. Artist Margarita Vovna has recently finished a gorgeous Japanese-inspired mural on 25 Victoria Street West.  

Over in Myers Park, Waimahara has been integrated into the landscape of the Mayoral Drive underpass. Created by Graham Tipene  (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Kahu, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Hauā, Ngāti Manu) in collaboration with others, it’s a truly unique piece of art designed to change with the weather and visitor interaction. It uses light and sound to honour Te Waihorotiu, the ancient river that flows underneath this inner-city valley.  
Federal Street (south) is now the home of Lost and Found by Joe Sheehan. Eight large boulders from all around New Zealand have been intricately hand-carved with everyday objects including sneakers, sunglasses and a baseball cap to encourage a sense of community and togetherness.  

(Top left and right: Lost and Found by Joe Sheehan, bottom: Japanese-inspired mural by Margarita Vovna)

Lost and Found
Myers Park
Victoria Street mural

Easy breezy access: getting in and around the city centre will be a whole lot easier 

If you’ve visited the city centre recently, you will have seen a lot of construction happening around the Midtown area – but what’s it all about?  In a couple of years, you’ll be able to get a train to the Aotea Arts Quarter, better bus connections, brand new public spaces, and best of all, new retail and hospitality spots.

(Top left: Victoria Street ramp entrance, top right and bottom: Waihorotiu Station)

Victoria Street ramp entrance

Let’s break it down: 

It’s expected that in 2026, people will be able to hop on the City Rail Link and breeze into Waihorotiu Station (tipped to become the busiest station in the country) at the heart of the Aotea Arts Quarter. It will be even easier to head to one of our much-loved venues including The Civic, Auckland Town Hall and Q Theatre. It’s also a stone’s throw from heaps of dining options,like the recently opened Gorilla Kitchen or icons Elliott Stables and Tony’s Steakhouse.   

Waihorotiu Station will also be the home of the Symphony Centre by 2028. This mixed use development will include new retail offerings and next door will be the revamped Bledisloe House. Between them will be The Lanes. From coffee on the way to work to capping off a night at SkyCity there will be plenty of reasons to pop in. We love the energy laneways bring to the city centre, so we’re excited for this one! 
Wellesley Street is also undergoing a makeover and by the end of next year, this will be an even better place to catch the bus thanks to the Wellesley Street Bus improvements.  

By late 2025, Aucklanders and visitors alike should be able to enjoy Te Hā Noa. For those on foot, the new and improved Victoria Street will offer lots of spots for people to sit and relax after shopping on Queen Street or stopping in at one of Victoria Street’s eateries like Meet Balls or Café Midnight Express.  

We can’t wait!  

Last updated: 21 May 2024