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Channeling Melbourne, our dreamy laneways are set for summer

Publish Date : 07 Dec 2022
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Vulcan, Durham, High, O’Connell, Fort, Snickle, Elliott, Federal, Galway, Tyler, Little Queen - our list of vibrant, quirky, charismatic laneways is growing.

This summer there’s no need to look across the Tasman for the street vibe of Melbourne’s laneways. Our very own joined-up laneways network is right on your doorstep.

Walk with us through our laneways - some with refreshed design and artworks, some with new trees and rain gardens and some with long-time loyal fanbases.

Federal Street zen

The Sky Tower end of Federal Street has long been a magnet for delicious food, glamour and good times, but there’s a new kid on the block bringing a zen vibe.

The newly upgraded Mayoral Drive end of Federal Street was opened by Auckland Council in July 2022 with an inclusive feel, enhanced lighting, 13 new native trees, nine rain gardens filtering stormwater before it reaches the waterways, and a shared space.

Feel the freedom of walking or riding down the middle of the street, breathe the clearer air, and notice a new mural by artists Teare Turetahi and Abigail Aroha Jensen (Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tāmanuhiri) who blend their solar, lunar and stellar knowledge into a stunning work of art.

Famous ridgeline 

The free spirit of Auckland’s city centre, Karangahape Road forms the southern bookend of the city centre. Fresh from a significant makeover completed in 2021, K Road is edgy, diverse and authentic while also a charming, uber-modern, smoothly functioning street aka laneway. Discover the energy, colour, people, music, lights, art, nightlife, shops and new design elements which celebrate the Māori adventurers who walked this ridgeline between harbours hundreds of years ago. Read more here.

Labyrinth of lanes

Pinch yourself as you wander through the laneways in our flourishing High Street District – Vulcan Lane (upper and lower), High Street, Freyberg Square, O’Connell Street and Fort Lane.

Let the romantic in you take over for a milli-second and imagine you are meandering through the intimate walking lanes of Barcelona or Bilbao or Berlin. While our laneways are young, by comparison, they are starting to nourish the soul in the same way.  

Whether it’s sitting at tables along curbsides of narrow streets or strolling through the heart of our fully pedestrianised lanes, you are largely protected from through-traffic. You’ll find places to sit and spend time, smell delicious food cooking and hear live music.

This summer, passionate people are bringing diverse expressions of art and music to these super-special city centre streets and squares.

Island in the city

Check out the streetside corner of our Central City Library-Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero where Lorne Street meets Wellesley Street. You’ll meet Pacific artist Numangatini Mackenzie (Numa) who has created Te Varivari.

It’s an art residency enabled by Auckland Council that Numa sees as ‘an island in the city.’ He describes it as a place for ‘people to plan for greater things.’

“This is a maker space, a gathering space and a pop-up event space. It has already become a sanctuary for people who come to the city to meet, relax and kōrero,” he says.

An interdisciplinary artist, Numa works in mural painting, tatau, textile printing and mixed-media installation. His practice centres on the exploration of urban space with connections to his Pacific heritage and people.

Queen of streets

It’s the coveted spot in New Zealand’s version of the Monopoly board game. Queen Street is all shiny and new from Mayoral Drive to the sea. Our new Queen Street design gives priority to people who walk, so get your stride on (or scoot or ride) and discover the new eight-metre-wide footpaths (in places) and our new Waihorotiu path. Read more here.

Once you reach our beautiful downtown square – Te Komititanga – weave a path to the east and find stunning Galway Street. Let yourself be captivated by the area’s urban charm as the smoothed edges of this walking street lead you to one of Auckland’s hospitality gems: Britomart and Takutai Square. Read more here.

Waterfront lanes

Not strictly a lane, but take a stroll along our new, calmer, leafier Quay Street and find Te Wānanga on the seaward side. It’s an award-winning architectural take on a rocky tidal shelf, with openings like rock pools and steel balustrades like giant kina shells. Its organic shape was inspired by the sandstone headlands of the Waitematā Harbour. Read more here.

And don’t miss the space between Halsey and Daldy Streets in Wynyard Quarter called Tiramarama Way. Featuring foot-powered fountains and purposeful puddles designed to rise and fall with the tides, the laneway provides an opportunity for fun. And if you hear the song in your head - Where do the children play? - click here.

There’s a laneway for everyone this summer.

Find out about the next big development – the midtown regeneration - at ProgressAKL.co.nz/Midtown.

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