With a grand new public square right in the heart of things, new laneways and dining streets, striking works of art and more parks and green spaces to relax, these beautiful newly opened city centre places will be enjoyed by Aucklanders and visitors for many years to come.
There’s lots more coming too - in March the heritage CPO building entrance to Britomart Train Station reopens. Another exciting new waterfront area for spending time, Te Wananga (between the Ferry Building and Princes Wharf), and Quay Street’s upgrade will be mostly complete by April, with trees and plants adding the finishing touches in June.
Here’s a video from Auckland Transport showing how the changes in the downtown waterfront area fit together and the progress that’s been made over the past months.
New at the waterfront end of Queen Street
Te Komititanga, the new square in the heart of the waterfront downtown area, has opened just in time for Christmas and America’s Cup sailing. With built in seating, pōhutukawa trees that will provide more shade every year as they grow and water fountains, this is a great spot for enjoying a takeaway lunch from Commercial Bay's Harbour Eats and a handy ‘meet me here’ location.
There’s plenty of open space for the thousands of people who’ll cross the square daily, getting to, from and around the city centre via the train station – the front entrance opens in March, and the City Rail Link will mean thousands more train users in a few years’ time - buses, ferry or foot.
The paving beneath your feet is both beautifully intricate and rich in meaning – over 137,000 individual basalt pavers form a whāriki (welcome mat) designed by Mana Whenua weavers to depict a woven harakeke (flax) mat, greeting visitors to Tāmaki Makaurau from the sea. Other designs reference a meeting point of two waters, the Waitematā harbour and Wai Horotiu, before the area was reclaimed from the sea.
New in Wynyard Quarter
The Wynyard Quarter end of the waterfront just keeps on getting better – in the last few weeks the finishing touches have been put on a whole bunch of great new spaces to enjoy.
You can now walk the entire way from Victoria Park to the waterfront along the Daldy Street linear park – a strip of green space wide enough to stop and relax in or enjoy a saunter through.
Amey Daldy Park is a new tree-filled field for lounging at the corner of Pakenham and Daldy Streets. It has rolling grassy knolls perfect for doing roly polys down the slopes if you’re young or young at heart. It’s also handily located for a picnic from The Rolling Pin just across the street or La Petite Fourchette a few metres up Daldy Street.
There’s more of Silo Park to love now too – with a new area created in time for the America’s Cup. There’s a new shaded structure, seating and plenty of flat areas where we can imagine lots of great events taking place in the future.
The new structure, designed by Tessa Harris (Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki), is called Te Nukuao - ‘shelter’. It reflects the sails of waka hourua - large double-hulled ocean-going canoes - referring to the history of Wynyard Quarter as a 'water space' pre-reclamation and serving as a cultural marker for mana whenua.
If you look closely at the ground you’ll also notice a constellation of stars sandblasted into the concrete too – this design by Reuben Kirkwood of Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, ‘Te Waka o Te Rangi’, references an ancient star map which resembles a great waka in the sky.
If you fancy an informative and scenic strolling tour of the new and not so new parts of Wynyard Quarter, take a look at the self guided tour on the AKL City Tours app (Google Play here and Apple App Store here). You’ll probably need refreshments afterwards, so luckily there are plenty of great spots close by. Get a freshly made cone of gelato at Gelatiamo, an icy craft beer at Good George or pop across to the other side of the Viaduct to get a birds eye view of the area from Rooftop at QT.
New in Britomart
The picturesque newly upgraded Galway Street runs east-west from Takutai Square towards Queen Street, giving you another route from Britomart to lower Queen Street, and one we strongly suggest you consider taking!
With vehicles limited to 10km per hour, you can safely meander along, people watching and skyline gazing to your heart’s content. On Saturdays, it’s always a good idea to check out the produce and cute pooches at the Britomart Saturday Market, just across Gore Street, which has also had a recent refresh.
There’s some pretty inspiring art to be found in the area too – with a permanent new work, Maunga, by Shane Cotton depicting 25 pots, each referring to a place or mountain in Aotearoa.
Until late March 2021, you can also enjoy temporary art installations by Lonnie Hutchinson, Charlotte Graham and a collaboration by Lyonel Grant and Tim Gruchy, as part of the Toi Tū Toi Ora satellite exhibition.