About UC

“When we see a sign that says ‘Danger: Do Not Enter’, we understand that this is simply a shorthand way of saying ‘Leaving Protected Zone: Demonstrate Personal Accountability Beyond This Point’”: Jeff Chapman (aka Ninjalicious).

Welcome to Urbex Central. We are a loose affiliation of urban explorers based around the geographical centre of New Zealand who for various reasons make a habit of leaving the ‘protected zone’. Essentially, we go wherever we please throughout New Zealand and overseas, and document our adventures in still and moving images and in words. From subterranean tunnels up to the tops of towers and rooves, from abandoned sites through to active sites, we each have our particular haunts.

At the time of updating this page (February 2016) we have about 500 posts to enjoy, including the first published explorers’ pictures from inside Christ Church Cathedral and other Christchurch sites since the earthquakes. Use the dropdown menus up the top and down on the right of this page to browse by geographical region (for example: Auckland, Wellington, Bulgaria), or for location or type of activity (for example: rooftopping, climbingdrainingbridges, ship). Videos can be browsed, both in 1080p full HD and in 4K ultra high resolution, along with photography. We also have a highlights category where we will variously showcase some of our favourite explorations. Check out our locations around New Zealand and overseas.

You’ll notice that we don’t pinpoint exactly where the sites we explore lie on a map. This is intentional. We do not wish our publishing of images to create additional difficulties for the legal owners of the sites we explore. We ask that media respect our wishes in this regard when reporting on our publications. We subscribe to the worldwide “take only photographs, leave only footprints” ethical code. This makes our community distinct from those who seek to transform and/or profit off the urban landscape, including street/graffiti artists, taggers, thieves, vandals, arsonists and burglars. We probably have the most in common with parkour athletes and skateboarders, both of whom fleetingly utilise spaces owned by others in order to create visual and performance art, leaving no trace.

We’ve been asked by newspapers in New Zealand and abroad why we explore. A few figures in authority have expressed concern at what we do. Sometimes our images are used to illustrate a wider news story. Sometimes our activities are the story itself. On occasion we’ve captured the attention of bloggers. We are artists, and it is hard to codify artistic inspiration. We see it as a natural human inclination to acclimatise to our surroundings. We are participants in the city who wish to get to know our urban setting. Cities are complex and at times unwieldy places, providing opportunities to observe them from unusually seen angles. As artists we find these unique angles to be informative and aesthetically pleasing.

Some of us explore to uncover and to document the forbidding beauty of abandoned, overlooked, secluded or restricted environments. Some of us enjoy personally experiencing the concept of public ownership by exploring urban infrastructure that has been built out of our contributions as tax-paying citizens. Some of us explore for the physical, psychological and ethical challenges involved with confounding the porous barriers around us that separate the known environment from the lesser known. All of us share the desire to learn from and to interact with the world around us in deeper ways. And together, we try to do so leaving as light a footprint as we possibly can. Please enjoy and revisit our site which is constantly getting updated.

If you’d like to get in contact, to find out more about the New Zealand urban exploration communities, perhaps get involved or come experience exploring with us, drop us a message via the contact tab under the ABOUT/HOME menu top left. Remember we don’t give out location information to anyone we haven’t met in person.

Also for more urbex check out our friends in AustraliaPoland and the UK.

42 thoughts on “About UC

    • Thanks for your kind words gpcox. This manifesto is taking us into some interesting environments. New locations and possibilities are opening up faster than we can document them! While our histories will never be as comprehensive as your pacificparatrooper ones, we hope you find occasion to drop by every now and again to see our latest movements in the unprotected zone.

  1. Heya Gunner! I’ve gone and nominated you for the Liebster award on my blog… If you wanna pay it forward, then there are a few rules: 1. Pay tribute to the blog than nominated you, 2. Tell us something about yourself, and 3. Tell us about some blogs that you follow! Kinda simple? I hope I’m doing it right….😛
    Don’t worry, no one will die if you don’t participate, no bad things will happen to you, and you’re gonna be just as lucky or unlucky as you currently are if you post about it. So no worries! just wanted to tell people about your blog.🙂

  2. Hi there, I’ve added your blog to my reader. I will come and visit this blog again to have a good look at your adventures. Love your photos of Beelitz-Heilstätten. As I live in the Netherlands, perhaps I will try to visit it too. Unfortunately my blog is in Dutch. Would be nice to see you stop by.
    Cheers, Jos

  3. hi there loving the vids. i am into paintball and looking for abandoned buildings to play, where would you recommend. i am from palmerston north new zealand

  4. Hi there, i always wanted to take some shoots in the abandoned area, but do not have a guts to go in the “Do not enter area.” I would like to know about which is the best “Do not area” for me to take some night shoots? (Safer) Or if in the future you guys have any project in Christchurch area, please do let me know and allow me to join you guys.


    • Hi Lex

      Our advice is just start local. Go roaming with your camera. It doesn’t actually matter how “edgy” your images are. Just go wherever you are inspired to go and capture angles you’ve never seen and experiences you’ve never before had. Another New Zealand urbex group has published a blog post of some places for newbies (as they call people like you). You might want to check that out. Keep in touch with us about your progress.

  5. Found this site after a write-up on the Stuff website. Wonder how many hits you’ll get after that?😉 My workmates have now all visited and given you a thumbs-up on StumbleUpon. Keep up the good work and be careful out there!🙂

    • Hi Nic. We don’t usually trawl the stats, but we could help noticing that we had over 200,000 visits yesterday to the site. Thanks for the referral on StumbleUpon, and thanks for taking the time to leave a comment🙂

  6. Like Nic, I found this site only after reading of it this morning on Stuff. Breathtaking. Whoever is behind the camera seems to have a pretty good understanding of how lens and light evokes emotion. As one who lived through all of the Christchurch turmoil, and who on a daily basis knew the Anglican Cathedral and Catholic Basilica so, so well, my heart and head churned all over again when viewing those two portfolios.This web address with its such invaluable portfolios well and truly deserves its bookmark.

    • Thanks mgnz. Like any community, we have a range of skills and skill levels. While some come to exploring already experienced photographers, others acquire a few skills along the way on a need-to-know basis. It’s kind of you to say that you feel the images evoke emotion: we try hard to capture the best images we can in spite of the constraints of available time and light. Some additional, more considered photographic work at these sites would add another layer to the visual history being accumulated. It’s the sites themselves of course that are the real source of the emotions we feel. If we can capture a bit of that awe, or rekindle a bit of that in others, we are happy.

  7. The photos of Christchurch Cathedral are eerily beautiful and as sad is it is to see this great structure destroyed, these photos are a beautiful collection to add to the history of the building and City.

  8. Wow amazing photos documenting these important stages in building lifecycles, thanks for your persistence and skills, appreciated cheers!

  9. How have I never come across this before!!!! The artistry of the photos are….. Just damn!
    Some of the scenes are haunting, frightening, beautiful and touching all at the same time and manage to capture emotion of inanimate objects in an indescribable way!
    THANKYOU! What an incredible gift you’re providing us with. (IMHO)

  10. I don’t necessarily agree with all that you do but the results are these amazing photographs. You guys do a fantastic job. It’s really great to be able to see some of these old abandoned buildings, factories, hospitals and industrial sites. The amount of things that have been left behind is amazing. The ghosts of the old employees are palpable and almost seen. Thank-you for reminding us of some of what used to be.

  11. great concept!!! i like the fact that you dont support Graffeti. i am the Custodian of an old Building and find it annoying when certain People draw all over it! I get the exploration idea, but get abit bummed when certain “explorers” have the “F##k you” attitude. Im a pretty easy going Fella and Im quite approachable

      • Hi again :: today i had ANOTHER BLOODY episode of Photographers/Artists BREAKING and ENTERING a Building that im looking after. So once AGAIN i have to repair the DAMAGE done!!!!!! and ONCE AGAIN facilitate with the Neighbors of this Building(they are retired/OLD People who scare easily!!!!!) these Photographer/Artists access My Building via their WELL FENCED Village. Please……this kind of shit needs to stop!!!!!! please feel free to call Me (Jonnie 0277287848)

    • Hi again :: today i had ANOTHER BLOODY episode of Photographers/Artists BREAKING and ENTERING a Building that im looking after. So once AGAIN i have to repair the DAMAGE done!!!!!! and ONCE AGAIN facilitate with the Neighbors of this Building(they are retired/OLD People who scare easily!!!!!) these Photographer/Artists access My Building via their WELL FENCED Village. Please……this kind of shit needs to stop!!!!!! please feel free to call Me (Jonnie 0277287848) p.s….once again the Police arrived and took Photographers/Artists for a Drive (what a bloody drama aye!!) when simply just keeping out couldve made everyones Saturday Afternoon alot more enjoyable

      • This is nothing to do with us and we don’t damage anything or ever break in anywhere, we often get permission and we can’t control what other people do, not sure why you have posted this here?

      • so You can say 100% that People that follow Your Website……dont EVER get tempted into going just that little bit further?? The Angle im coming from is one of concern!! i spend six Days a Week working in Demolition…..i know when a Building should & shouldnt be enterd. I dont want to have to be involved in a Coroners inquest : My reason for posting what i did comes from corncern!! thankyou for letting Me post My Message

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