Last days in Whangarei? 35:47.37S, 174:27.79E

Serenity of Swanwick
Phil and Sarah Tadd
Sun 8 May 2022 05:00

When we first came in to Whangarei over five years ago we never expected to be here now. This visit has been to prepare again for departure from New Zealand with the normal run of the mill things to be done, health checks, shopping and a few boat jobs. Also of course there have been friends to say good bye to and social events amongst the sailing community.

We thought it would be interesting in this blog to look at the work that has been done around Whangarei and especially around the Town Basin  to turn it into the vibrant, lively place that it has become.

When we arrived in Whangarei back in 2017 we motored up river and under the Te Matau A Pohe lifting bridge and on to the Town Basin Marina where we were made most welcome. Already there was an established walking track around this top section of the river with some sculpture works and items of exercise equipment. This track gives a 4.5Km walk or run and is used by a lot of people for their regular exercise, during the day there is a steady stream of people of all ages going round the “Loop”.

To starboard as you pass under the bridge is the Camera Obscura, a view of the bridge is projected through the lens in the circle design on the front to the back wall. The area behind this houses new rugby pitches, cycle and bmx tracks and skate park.

The Town Basin has now changed immensely, centred around development of the Hundertwasser Art Centre a quirky building celebrating the design work of Hundertwasser an Austrian artist, designer and architect who settled in New Zealand. In 2017 this building was still a dream, the site was the derelict old Harbour Board building alongside a demolition site used as a car park now it is all redeveloped as a colourful open area.

Town Basin Marina with new paths, quayside, seating, parkland and playgrounds. Centre The Hundertwasser Building.

New play equipment

An open grass area that is designed to be used for concerts and displays, alongside which is more play stuff for the very young, balls which spin, trampolines and a slackrope to balance on.

A waterjet play area, at night the waterjets are lit up in bright colours.

The rolling ball clock, a kinetic sculpture which also tells the time. This is right next to the marina office and attracts good crowds of children and adults.

The Hundertwasser Art Centre, “A journey into the land of creative architecture “, “The straight line leads to the downfall of humanity”. Built from recycled bricks, timber and pavers, covered in locally crafted tiles and topped with a gold cupola. The roof is planted with 200 native trees and shrubs.

Tiled by amateurs who were given freedom to tile as they liked. Not a straight line in sight and even the ground around the building is not flat but undulating.

We are now down river having left the Town Basin yesterday, we will make our way up to Bay of Islands our jumping off point for New Caledonia when the next weather window arrives.


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