Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand’

Abandoned Buildings in New Zealand – Hokitika Former Government Offices

abandoned building new zealand

abandoned building new zealand

When I first booked my flights to Christchurch, little did I know what the South Island of New Zealand would have in store. After travelling over the North Island, and seeing some incredible abandoned buildings that just didn’t want to allow me to explore them, today, in the small town of Hokitika, the South Island of New Zealand showed me that there is far more in this part of the world than just glaciers and mountains.

There are many historical buildings in Christchurch, which I visited in the days leading up to my adventure in Hokatika. Unfortunately, this list of historical buildings in Christchurch that collapsed was extensive.  Such heritage buildings  as the Durham Street Methodist Church, the Stone Chamber of the Canterbury Provincial Council Buildings, the Oxford Terrace Baptist Church, and the Sevicke Jones building in Cathedral Square – all fully collapsed during the destructive Christchurch earthquake.

Other listed buildings partially collapsed in Christchurch, and made for eerie viewing. These included the famous  Christchurch Cathedral, the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, and Holy Trinity Avonside.

The Christchurch earthquake may have been recent, but the history of this featured abandoned building began over one hundred years ago. On the 7th May, 1908, the then Prime Minister of New Zealand, Sir J.C Ward, travelled to Hokitika and laid the foundation stone. I can only assume, from some of the evidence and signage still in place, that the building was used as government offices.

Founded in the mid 1800′s, the small town of Hokitika was the centre of the West coast gold rush in New Zealand. Buildings of this size seem out-of-place in a town like Hokitika, as the population is currently only about 3000 residents. However, in 1866, the town was one of New Zealand’s most populous centers, and there remains many striking examples of fine architecture, reminding visitors that Hokitika is a town with a glorious past.

Located on Sewell Street, the building itself consists of two main levels, with a central corridor from one end to the other. There is a grand entrance and staircase at the center of the building. Most of the rooms are small and office-like, however, there are grand rooms at the end of each wing of the building.

The building showed all the signs of the era it was constructed in, such as high quality carpentry, and ornate plaster work. The peeling paint provided a wonderful patina, and combined with the dappled light entering the premises, everything was right for a good dose of exploration as well as photography.

Fortunately, a local resident, “John” that I bumped into whilst poking around on-site, had access to the building, and was more than happy to allow me entrance. He unlocked a couple of doors, and left me to my own devices.

Being in a relatively remote location, the building was remarkably intact. The windows weren’t broken, and apart from some scratchings dating back to the 1960′s, no graffiti was present. It was an “honest” abandoned building. John advised me that the building has been vacant for “oh, quite a long time now”.

Currently for sale, the future of this grand building is up in the air. I could think of many uses for such a structure, and I’m sure one day a new owner will give it the attention it deserves.

I will soon be leaving New Zealand, to continue my exploration of abandoned buildings around the world. If you haven’t already joined, please feel free to follow along by entering your email address over on the side of the page.

Enjoy.

Dr Hank Snaffler Jr.

 

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Bendigo New Zealand – Abandoned Gold Mining Town Info and Photos

Bendigo New Zealand

Bendigo New Zealand


Bendigo New Zealand is an abandoned gold mining town on the top of an impressive mountain in the South Island of New Zealand. Located near the (not abandoned) town of Cromwell, Bendigo operated as a bustling small town for around half a century, ceasing operations almost one hundred years ago.

This is something a little different here on Abandoned Journey. Usually, my abandoned building reports tend to have a distinctly urban feel to them. Not this time – Bendigo is about as country as it gets. The drive to the top of the mountain, on a steep, narrow, unsealed road, in the RV (or the “Snaffler-Mobile” as I have named it) was sketchy to say the least.

Although the drive was a little hair-raising, the remarkable views and striking remains of the old stone cottages, were worth it. These photos were taken at “Welshtown” – Bendigo was large enough at one point to consist of more than one town. When new, these cottages would have been cozy and well decorated, down to the latest in fashionable wall papers sent direct from London and Paris.

Most of the original structures were made of wood and tin, and have now been reclaimed by time. Fortunately, Bendigo grew wealthy enough, and large enough, that the residents upgraded to stone – the remains of which are still standing a century later.

It was incredibly cold up on the mountain top, but a brisk walking exploration of Bendigo revealed some interesting remains, with at least ten or more stone structures, and various mine shafts. The mine shafts were located within a few minutes walk from the stone cottages.

The ruins of Bendigo reminded me of my holidays to Greece from several years ago – the buildings may not be as impressive as the ruins of the Parthenon in Athens, but the view certainly was. In any case, I enjoyed my time at Bendigo, and although the structures were not as grand as some of those I have explored, the overall feel of the destination made for a great afternoon.

From the abandoned town of Bendigo, I have carried on further South in New Zealand, giving the Snaffler-Mobile a work out in search of more abandoned structures, towns, and well, anything abandoned at all really!

I hope you enjoy the photos of the abandoned town of Bendigo, New Zealand.

Dr Hank Snaffler Jr.

PS, Bendigo is also the name of a former gold mining town in Australia. Bendigo in New Zealand got its name due to the large number of Australian gold miners that made their way over to New Zealand to search for gold in this area.

 

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Bendigo New Zealand - Panoramic View

Abandoned City : Christchurch New Zealand – CBD on Life Support

Abandoned City

Abandoned City

An abandoned city in New Zealand.

Christchurch is the third largest city in New Zealand. In February of 2011, a powerful earthquake caused severe damage to the city center. Indeed, it was the most destructive earthquake in the history of New Zealand, and 188 people lost their lives.

Today, 18 months later, the city core is off limits, and remains for the most part, abandoned. The buildings are being demolished, one by one. I explored the city streets, where possible, and took a few photos of what has become an abandoned CBD. The only signs of life were demolition crews here and there, and a few people walking around taking photos.

“Earthquake tourism” is a strange phenomenon. Perhaps abandoned and decayed buildings are more popular than I thought. Whilst I suspect most regular tourists are booking trips to Spain, there certainly was more than a handful of people in Christchurch who were there purely to view the abandoned city. I even saw a “Red Zone Tour Bus” – the red zone being the heart  of the city that remains off-limits due to the extreme danger present.

Christchurch produced mixed emotions within me, as I wondered around the desolate streets. On one hand, this was an absolute playground for urbex and abandoned building fans. On the other, this was a scene of extreme destruction, and danger even greater than the fifty story abandoned skyscraper I scaled in Bangkok.

Although I snuck through a fence or two, I wasn’t game to enter the buildings. There was at least one army patrol, and really, to what level am I willing to take my hobby? I’m not willing to risk my life – and that is what it comes down to in this situation.

My thoughts go out to those people of Christchurch who have suffered through the earthquake and the aftermath.

The city centre will remain off-limits, and abandoned, for some time yet. There were countless buildings that required demolition. If you would like to read more about the Christchurch earthquake, here is a link to the wikipedia article. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Christchurch_earthquake

I will continue to explore the wonderful country of New Zealand, and look for some abandoned buildings a little safer to explore.

Please enjoy the photos of the abandoned city of Christchurch, New Zealand.

Dr Hank Snaffler Jr.

PS, I have added a  lot of photos on this post – keep in mind, virtually every building you see, in every shot, is abandoned. Even the multi-story hotels and office towers.

 

Abandoned Buildings in New Zealand – Napier Hospital

Napier Hospital

Napier Hospital

Hello again, abandoned building fans. I have arrived in New Zealand – the land of the long white cloud. After a brief stopover in the capital city of Auckland, I have made my way down to the East Coast town of Napier. On day one over here, I got quite a surprise with an abandoned building expedition.

You see, Mr’s Snaffler was born in Napier – which is why we are here. Catching up with family, I asked Mr’s Snaffler’s young nephew a question. “Do you know of any abandoned buildings around here young man?”. He mentioned a few houses he knew of. I said to him “no, I’m looking for some very large abandoned buildings.” He replied “well, the old hospital on the hill is abandoned, it’s been empty for years!“.

New Zealand Abandoned Building

Napier Hospital Entrance

I asked Mr’s Snaffler if she knew how to get to the hospital on the hill. As it turns out, she was born in that very hospital! She knew precisely how to get there, so off we went.

Up on a wet and windy day on Bluff Hill in Napier, our discussion about a holiday in Turkey - which will hopefully take place later this year – came to an abrupt end when the Napier Hospital came into view. I couldn’t believe my luck – it was huge.  I got Mr’s Snaffler to drop me at the entrance, and told her I would call when I was done exploring.

Several buildings, some multi-stories in height, and best of all – a large hole in the fence. With apologies to the local authorities, of course I ignored the “video surveillance - trespassers will be prosecuted” signs, and headed into the hospital grounds.

Napier Hospital Interior

New Zealand Abandoned Building

New Zealand Abandoned Building

Taking a few photos of the imposing structure, I began to get excited. A few peaks through some windows told me that this was in pristine condition, and that I would be one of the few people to have ventured inside since the hospital was closed, over a decade ago. There was almost no graffiti, or any other signs of previous visitation.

Scouting around the hospital grounds, I searched for an entry point. I should say at this point – I would never break a window or door to gain entry. If there is an open entrance, again, with apologies to the local New Zealand authorities, I will enter – keeping in mind the motto of “take nothing but memories, and leave nothing but my footprints“.

And then – I saw it. An open window. Large, and inviting. I put my camera through first, placing on the floor inside so that I could climb through.  One leg over the window, I got quite the shock.

abandoned hospital new zealand

Napier Hospital Interior

WOOP! WOOP! WOOP! WOOP! WOOP! Yes, it seems I had activated the motion sensor alarm! As you can see from the external photos, the site was very large. Well, I can tell you, the alarm could be heard over the entire site, and in the surrounding neighborhood!

So close, and yet so far. I waited for security to arrive, partially to explain myself and apologise, and also – I thought I could sweet-talk my way in if somebody with keys and the means to disable the alarm arrived.

After about 15 minutes, the alarm stopped. No security arrived. Unfortunately, this is life in the world of Urbex or abandoned building exploration – you win some, you lose some. The abandoned Napier Hospital would not be explored – this time.

Stay tuned, I will continue to explore New Zealand over the coming weeks, and will be sure to get a little further into my next abandoned building.

Dr Hank Snaffler Jr.