The Wrong Side of my Car

A blog about Auckland City, its streets, and culture shock

3 Aug 2019

Wynyard Quarter, the new hipster paradise

Wynyard Quarter. The paradise of car free spaces, waterfront promenades and expensive restaurants. It is almost unimaginable that just over 10 years ago the fish market was sitting in the middle of some desolate old industrial land.

These are your rates dollars at work. An ornamental tram line, why not. The rust on the tracks gives away the fact the trams are not running anymore. *1

It was nice while it lasted, although not very useful.

A sure way to know you’re in Hipsterland is the fake filament LED bulbs. Along with that slightly aloof electronic music.

That often is a sign telling you to bring enough dollars. The hipster lifestyle is expensive.

So, what about these tracks? These are old train tracks. From back in the time this was part of the port of Auckland, and back in the time when goods were still carried away on trains. (they are mostly carried on trucks nowadays, with most of the port no longer served by rail)

One way in is Halsey street. All dark and oppressive with all that 5-storey high-rise…

or not. The height is a nice fit for what is actually a very wide urban street.

Daldy Street is bordered by a linear park with a few peculiar landscapes. There are a couple of small playgrounds there as well.

This is one of the better settings where you’ll find apartments in this city.

Yeah… I can see families living here.

So, how much? If you have to ask, you can’t afford it.

Development is steadily progressing south, away from the waterfront, and has nearly reached Fanshawe Street. Much of the area in between is now a confusing landscape of temporary lanes and fences.

And cranes, lots of cranes.

One thing I haven’t seen here are plans to build a school. There are currently no schools in the city centre at all, despite having a population of tens of thousands of people *2. At first blush, with all the parklets and playgrounds this looks like a relatively kid-friendly area so I’m not sure what the deal is here.

This being a central area, many people would be arriving on public transport or on foot. But going here by car is very well catered for as well.

Think about how much land value is sitting under these car parks. That will be well over $100,000, each. And I could park here for a couple of hours for just $2. The apartments may be beyond reach of most, but parking is cheap and plentiful.

So there you have it, the shiny and new. This contrasts markedly with many surrounding areas, which we will see next time.


(*1) 

The tram in question was one of these old heritage trams. It is not really clear why it was put in there. The track was too small to be useful, you can walk the entire loop in about 20 minutes.

(*2) 

It will probably soon overtake cities like Whangarei and Rotorua, at around 50,000 people. Surely you won’t have to go out of town to find a school over there.

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