Parks

Albert Park


Location

  • Princes Street, Auckland Central
  • 1.1km - 3 minute drive from Downtown Auckland

Albert Park is one of Auckland’s most important parks with its central location in the heart of the city, its long history and distinctive character.

The papakainga (village) that occupied the site prior to European settlement was named Rangipuke. In 1845 the Albert Barracks were built there.

At one corner of the park is the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and gardens, and on the other side is the original park-keeper's cottage, which is now a museum of memorabilia. The park also features a range of statuary and memorials, as well as formal flowerbeds, a Victorian fountain and mature trees.

 

How to get there

Car or Walk

From Downtown Auckland, from Queen Street, turn right into Wellesley Street East and then right into Princes Street. There are access paths through the park from Kitchener Street, Wellesley Street, Princes Street and Bowen Avenue.

Get directions with Google Maps.

 


Opening hours

  • Pedestrian access: 24 hours


Amenities and activities

Arts and science
The elaborate Victorian fountain has been a central feature since the park's early development. In its early years, the pool surrounding the fountain was stocked with carp. The nearby Queen Victoria statue was unveiled in 1899 to mark the 16th jubilee of her reign. It was the first statue of her in the country.

The two muzzle-loading guns on display were originally brought to New Zealand in 1879 and set up in forts at North Head and Point Resolution to defend the harbour. The guns were buried in 1941, as it was feared that they might attract enemy aircraft. They were unearthed in 1977.

The Boyd statue, which is located near Albert Park House, was erected in 1900. It represents Love breaking the sword of Hate. The Reed statue was erected in 1901 as a memorial to the Auckland journalist George M Reed. Another statue across the path from the guns honours Sir George Grey, the former Governor of New Zealand.

Close to the flagstaff and guns is a marble statue of a soldier that once featured a drinking fountain. This was erected in 1902 as a memorial to troops of the Fifth New Zealand Contingent who died in the Anglo-Boer War of 1899 to 1902.

Along the Princes Street frontage there is an area of mixed perennial and annual bedding. This area also incorporates the floral clock, which is a significant vegetative feature of Albert Park with the clock orientated to Princes Street and one of the pedestrian entry points.

The electrically powered Laidlaw Floral Clock was constructed in 1953 to commemorate a visit of her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II's first visit to New Zealand and was donated by the Laidlaw Family, founders of the Farmers Trading Company. The clock is at its best in late January and late June with renovations occurring throughout March/April and October, normally the week leading into Labour weekend.

Albert Park House is home to the collection of Auckland philanthropist Bruce Wilkinson. It features clocks and ceramics - treasures acquired during his working travels between the 1930s and 1960s and later donated to the city.

The Meteorological Observatory is situated at the highest point of the park and has been providing recordings of weather information since 1909. Prior to this, the army at Albert Barracks had undertaken regular weather readings as early as 1854.

Contemporary artworks include Neil Dawson's Throwback sculpture, commissioned to mark the art gallery’s centenary in 1988.

Chris Booth's impressive Gateway sculpture stands at the top of Victoria Street East and is composed of basalt boulders gifted by the Ngati Kura people of Matauri Bay in Northland. It was formally presented to the city in April 1990.

A landscaped extension of Albert Park containing seats and a fountain lies amongst the row of historic houses on Princes Street opposite the university. Four early merchants' houses have been preserved, and most are occupied by commercial tenants and university offices. At the northern end of the row lies the old Jewish Synagogue that now houses the National Bank.

Plant life
The group of oak trees that stands near the band rotunda replaced a stand of oaks originally planted in 1908 to commemorate the visit of the United States Navy's Great White Fleet. Each tree honoured one of the 16 battleships in the fleet.

Other notable trees in the park include some fine specimens of Moreton Bay fig (Ficus macrophylla). This species is native to the Australian rainforests of coastal northern New South Wales to southern Queensland.

Running parallel with the floral border on the Princes Street boundary of the park is a row of tall Mexican washingtonia palms (Washingtonia robusta), also known as petticoat or California fan palms.

If you follow the path from the guns and flagpole towards Princes Street, there is a large tree with twisted branches and a flattened base. This is an ombu (Phytolacca dioica), which is native to Argentina. Its massive roots emerge above the ground as the tree grows.

There are access paths through the park from Kitchener Street, Wellesley Street, Princes Street and Bowen Avenue.

Toilets
Public toilets are situated between Albert Park House and the pedestrian walkway from Albert Park over Wellesley Street East.