City Center, Auckland
Auckland Art Gallery
The Auckland Art Gallery, at the southeast corner of Albert Park, is a must. This impressive building, with towers and high pitched roofs in French Renaissance style, was designed by the Melbourne firm of Grainger and D'Ebro and built in 1887. It houses the famous Gray Gallery, a surprisingly rich collection of old European and contemporary New Zealand art, including works by McCahon and Wollaston. The earliest New Zealand works date from the time of Captain Cook, some of whose companions painted remarkable views of different parts of New Zealand.There are numerous oil paintings by the Czech artist Gottfried Lindauer (1839-1926), noted for his marvelous portraits of Maoris.The gallery also puts on spectacular special exhibitions.
New Zealand Maritime Museum
On Hobson Wharf, at the northwest end of Quay Street, is the New Zealand Maritime Museum, offering a comprehensive survey of the history of seafaring in New Zealand. The exhibits include Maori canoes and outrigger boats, whaling equipment and old instruments and implements. A section is devoted to New Zealand yachts that have distinguished themselves in international regattas. The exhibition includes the yacht in which a New Zealand crew skippered by Sir Peter Blake won the America's Cup in 1995.
The city's busy main artery and show street is Queen Street, along which numerous high-rise office blocks occupied by banks, insurance companies and commercial firms have mushroomed. Between the Ferry Building and K' Road are department stores, shops and restaurants. There is a variety architecture in this area, with imposing colonial-period buildings rubbing shoulders with art-nouveau, art-deco and modern buildings.
West of Queen Street is the 328m Sky Tower, which is the new symbol of the city. From the viewing platform and revolving restaurant there is a magnificent panorama. Around the tower are grouped the buildings of Sky City, a postmodern complex with a luxury hotel and several restaurants.
Auckland Town Hall (1911 by the Clark brothers) is an imposing tower. The facade is of Oamaru marble, the base of Melbourne bluestone.
Along the harbor runs busy Quay Street, on which, and on the adjoining Princess Wharf, are the popular dockside markets and the Oriental Market. The markets are held daily in summer and from Friday to Sunday in winter.
Chief Post Office
Adjoining the Ferry Building is the Chief Post Office, an imposing building of 1911 designed by John Campbell.
To the southwest of the Chief Post Office is the richly decorated French Empire-style Customs House (1889 by Thomas Mahoney). Originally occupied by officers of the armed forces and later by the customs authorities, it now houses various cultural institutions and shops.
Off Queen Street, on the left, is Vulcan Lane, a little street with many cafés that is particularly busy at lunch time and in the evening.
St Patrick's Cathedral
To the west of lower Queen Street is St Patrick's Cathedral (1848), one of the oldest churches in New Zealand. It has a beautiful tabernacle presented by the Maoris to Bishop Pompallier, who held the first Roman Catholic service in New Zealand in 1838.
St Matthew's Church
To the west of Queen Street, is St Matthew's Church (1902; Anglican).
The Aotea Centre is New Zealand's largest concert hall. The low building was designed by the leading architect E Wainscott, apparently influenced by Aalto's Finlandia Hall in Helsinki. The construction of the building was subject to much delay and controversy, and it was only completed in 1990. In Aotea Place is a statue of the Earl of Auckland, after whom the city is named.The Aotea Center is comprised of two major theatres, three spacious foyers and a number of rooms and spaces suitable for meetings, conferences, and exhibitions.
On the southern fringe of the city center Karangahape Road, familiarly known as K' Road, cuts across Queen Street. It is particularly busy on Friday evenings when the shops stay open until 10pm; a colorful touch is added by the many South Sea islanders who congregate here.
Albert Park, with its fine mature trees, was the site of the first barracks built in Auckland.
Old Government House
Old Government House is a timber neoclassical building (1856 by William Mason). After the transfer of the capital of the colony to Wellington in 1865 it served as a summer residence for the governor and a guest house for important visitors. It now belongs to Auckland University.
Opposite Old Government House is the Old Synagogue (1884 by Edward Bartley), now used for small-scale cultural events (concerts, drama).
The High Court (1868) on Waterloo Quadrant, a richly decorated brick building complete with turrets and gargoyles, was modeled on Warwick Castle. A modern annex housing the district appeal court spoils the effect of the older building.
Map of Auckland Attractions