The Wynyard Quarter (historically also known as the Western Reclamation, Wynyard Point, Wynyard Wharf or Tank Farm) is a reclaimed piece of land on the Waitemata Harbour at the western edge of the Auckland waterfront in New Zealand. A good part of the area is still covered by petrol and liquid chemical storage facilities of Ports of Auckland Ltd (POAL) and various other companies, that gave the area its now slowly disappearing “Tank Farm” moniker. The area fronting the harbor is called the North Wharf Promenade. With 10 eateries and bars serving up an eclectic mix of international cuisine, craft beers, tapas and all day sun, North Wharf is a great place to kick back and soak in the authentic working wharf setting. With stunning views across the magnificent Waitemata Harbor and back to the lamp lit city beyond, North Wharf is a short walk west over the Wynyard Crossing bridge from the Viaduct Harbor.
The Voyager New Zealand Maritime Museum is New Zealand's top maritime museum, which we did not get to visit due to time constraints. It is located on Hobson Wharf Auckland, adjacent to Viaduct Harbour. It houses exhibitions spanning New Zealand's maritime history from the first Polynesian explorers to modern day triumphs at the America's Cup. Its Maori name is “Te Huiteanaui-A-Tangaroa”, holder of the treasures of Tangaroa (the Sea God).
Viaduct Harbor is host to many events including the past America’s Cup defenses, Louis Vuitton Regattas, the Volvo Round the World Race stopover in March 2012, the Auckland International Boatshow and New Zealand Fashion Week among many other events. Viaduct Harbour Marina caters to pleasure craft, super yachts and commercial vessels with 150 marina berths ranging in size up to 60 meters. New Zealand’s largest marine service precinct, Westhaven, is a short walk or boat ride to the west. There are some expensive boats in this harbor.
Right inside the Wynyard Quarter the ANC Viaduct Events Center (VEC) is on your right. Designed by Moller architects the VEC (Viaduct Events Center) offers 6000 sq meters (64,583 sq feet) of exhibition, meeting and hospitality space on Halsey Wharf, while allowing the marine and fishing industry to continue to operate from the wharf. Strong connections to the venue’s maritime location can be seen in the lyrical wave form of the roof and the gangplanks that lead to the public viewing deck.
Parked outside the VEC was the Super-Yacht Chrisco (CNB 100) worth a few hundred million dollars. This stunning design by Luca Brenta, with its gunmetal-gray hull and beige teak decks, was built in Bordeaux by French yacht maker CNB. The 100-foot Chrisco will be a template for future models from the French shipyard. The hull, made of carbon fiber, balsa, and vinyl ester resin, is extremely lightweight. Even the furniture was made out of honeycomb sandwich panels for weight savings. Brenta also wanted to break design parameters, so he used 75 glass panels for the cockpit roof, which gave it a futuristic sci-fi look but also allows natural light into the cabin. The interior by Wetzels Brown Partners is modern but “comfortable.” Apparently Super-Yachts (less than $100 million need not apply) are not uncommon in this harbor and the local news regularly reports on their arrival.
Once you pass over the Te Wero drawbridge, you have entered the Wynyard Quarter and there are lots of restaurants, bars and people. The $3.7 million Te Wero drawbridge across the Viaduct Harbor was not built with longevity in mind. In 2010, with the Rugby World Cup looming and no money for the $51 million “aesthetically world class” winner of a 2007 Auckland City Council design competition in sight, the modest pedestrian-cycle bridge they now enjoy was rushed up as a temporary solution. The existing bridge is certainly more modest in size and appearance than the prize-winning design, but it’s both eminently more functional and popular.
These are just a few of the restaurants along the North Wharf Promenade including the one I reviewed, the Urban Turban. We stopped for Indian food at the Urban Turban but there were people walking past the tanks at the far end of the walk, there must have been more places beyond them.
Out beyond the “tank farm” are more restaurants, bars and Auckland's largest marina, Westhaven. If you are looking for a bit of nightlife in downtown Auckland, Wynyard Quarter and the North Wharf would be a good place to start.
Wynyard Quarter: http://www.wynyard-quarter.co.nz
Viaduct Harbor: http://viaduct.co.nz
Voyager Maritime Museum: http://www.maritimemuseum.co.nz
Super-Yacht Chrisco: http://www.cnb-superyachts.com/sail_image_uk-s_chrisco.html
North Wharf: http://www.northwharf.co.nz/north-wharf/home/