The Holiday Inn

Abandoned and severely crippled by the earthquake this hotel had also played host to an arsonist over the years.

Cautiously venturing around the burnt ruins of this hotel you could smell and feel the wet carpets from when the fire was brought under control. We could hear the faint beeping of nearby smoke alarms and motion detectors for an alarm we thought could surely not work anymore due to the damage.

Further into our explore we finally found what we were searching for the pool, sauna, gym and main reception! Excitement flowed through us as we took our photos quickly, cautious of triggering any alarm. Once we had finished with the pool we entered the reception, an amazing space seemingly untouched with tourist pamphlets from 2011 still sitting there, one step further and we would finally set off the security alarm, piercing our ears letting us know it was probably time to go.

Abandoned Holiday InnAbandoned Holiday InnAbandoned Holiday Inn Tourist BrochuresAbandoned Holiday InnAbandoned Holiday InnAbandoned Holiday InnAbandoned Holiday InnAbandoned Holiday InnAbandoned Holiday InnAbandoned Holiday Inn Pool

Wellington’s Abandoned Chapel

It has been a long time since urbexcentral visited this beauty, a famous abandoned icon of our city.
While the rest of the buildings fall further into despair the chapel remains mainly untouched, preserved and safe from graffiti for now – let’s hope it stays that way.

 

Waikune Prison Part two

Abandoned since 1986 this derelict prison camp located in a remote area of the North Island in New Zealand barely resembles a prison. The prison is heavily decayed with surprisingly little vandalism and the prisons strange colour schemes were meant to help calm prisoners. Our road trip taking us to this prison began with a sunny 18 degrees, five hours later we were in snow, this place  had a very somber feeling to it.

With thanks to WildBoyzUE who joined Urbexcentral for this explore.

Chiller

A video from a couple of years ago- wandering around the creepy ruins of an abandoned cool-stores facility in Taranaki. Happy Halloween folks 😉

Power Station

This thermal power station was completed in 1972 and was decommissioned between 2001 and 2008, it’s chimney was once the tallest structure in New Zealand, it is now being demolished and in the final stages of demolition.

We began exploring this Power Station back in Easter where after trekking down in the darkness from the top of a hill we eventually reached a shoreline where we met a couple of angry seals who we had to dodge as they tried to attack us. Once we found our way in, avoiding light and the risk of areas with motion detectors we reached the main building, our eyes were greeted with a wonderland of ‘pipe-porn’ and steel. The first thing we knew we wanted to hit was the turbine room and to reach this we needed to scale some ladders through the maze of pipes and steel.

Upon reaching the turbine room we found a gigantic space full of yellow turbines, all fully lit up, the whole place echoed as you walked through it which made us feel on edge. After documenting the turbine room we advanced on to find the control room, from intel we had been given we attempted to enter through to the control room where we were met by locked doors, the control room was not to be seen that visit.

Included in this post are pictures months apart, the second series of pictures were pictures taken when the turbine room was mostly deconstructed but we finally found an intact control panel room :).

 

A Religious College

This old college was a religious secondary school built in a religious “commune” solely by volunteer labour missionaries in the 1950’s who worked for the church. The school has a huge American influence as you can tell by the pictures, it is huge! The amount of things left behind is also astonishing, what a waste!
The school was closed when church leaders accepted that mainstream schools offered “quality education” and the school has started to be demolished to either be converted to farmland or some other future usage.

Our explore here began by cautiously entering a construction zone, in the past we had been greeted by angry residents who live on the commune and we were chased into a wet marsh behind the school, so this time we did our best to avoid that situation. After finding access presumably created by vandals, we were greeted by a huge American style school including full size swimming pool, gym and theatre, all without any signs of vandalism and the only graffiti being that of previous students to the school, making it the best abandoned school we have seen so far in New Zealand.

See our video too.

 

Inhospitable

Filmed in late 2011- this was the final days of the old Hawera Hospital (1925-2012). Demolition was already well underway on the South Taranaki Hospital, with at least half the complex already gone. A compact digital camera was rigged onto the hot-shoe of a DSLR to capture on video the state the place and what was being photographed- plenty of shaky camera footage ensued. Abandoned in 2002, the hospital’s state of decline over the next decade was dramatic and completely unnecessary. It wasn’t a pretty explore- a bleak and hazardous environment, the complete opposite of what a hospital is supposed to be about- inhospitable.

House on the Hill

Rural legend says this house was transported to its spectacular hilltop location sometime in the 1980’s. Allegedly the farmer who owned the property, had intended to renovate the house and make it the family home. Apparently though soon after the building was in place, the couple separated and the man was left to bring up the children on his own. Then, because he couldn’t afford to spend any more time and money on the house, it duly deteriorated and is still standing like a folly decades later. Check out our videos here and here.

The Chancery Arcade

This shopping arcade in central Christchurch was once bustling with shoppers, now damaged beyond repair it awaits its fate of demolition. The owner of the arcade before the earthquakes was a millionaire business who has since declared bankruptcy with the fate of this arcade being the last straw. While exploring the arcade we bumped into a man who used to work in the mall who described the place as being a great place to shop that soon turned into a ghetto once a strip club and dodgy bar were opened on the second story by the millionaire owner.

Korokoro dam

Built in 1903, the Korokoro dam was the first gravity fed concrete dam in New Zealand. It was originally constructed to supply water to Petone, some kilometers away.
The dam is now defunct and full of silt.

Undercity – House beneath the hotel

Until finding this place, I had no idea there was any kind of undercity in Wellington (drains notwithstanding).
It seems this hulking highrise luxury hotel has been built directly on top of an old house which is accessible from a dank ledge perched beneath the overhead colossus. Supporting columns sprout from the floors and pigeons seem to have taken up residence in this old home. Given Wellington’s tectonic nature, this was somewhat of an uneasy location to explore – but a very cool one nonetheless.

I’m not sure what the motivation was here in not demolishing the house, perhaps it was impossible to do so given some heritage protection – so the developers may have just worked “around” the problem…

Some old hotel paperwork hint at the house being previously accessible from the hotel above – but now any such route has been sealed over and the only access is via a a climb through a trash, rat and sewage filled dead space between buildings.

Stadium Wasteland

This stadium was built in 1880 and has seen extensive redevelopments and financial difficulty over the years, up until the Christchurch earthquakes which have deemed the stadium damaged beyond repair. The stadium however still sits idle and abandoned with no final decision over it’s future. Throughout it’s lifetime the stadium played host to such famous acts as Tina Turner, Pearl Jam, Meat loaf and U2.

This explore was in collaboration with Wildboyzue from the U.K and finding this stadium was quite a shock to us, such a huge, seemingly solid looking facility wasted and most likely soon to be demolished.

II Casino

We explored this former Italian restaurant two years ago, just prior to demolition. Remiro Bresolin, a flamboyant pioneer of Italian cuisine in New Zealand and legend of Wellington’s social scene, took drab Wellington and gave it a splash of Italian colour. For nearly 30 years his Il Casino restaurant was a capital icon and a mecca for food lovers everywhere. The restaurant closed just prior to his death in 2007 and in it’s place now stands another inner city apartment block.

ZK-EPA

 

Abandoned in a patch of farmland in New Zealand lies this abandoned plane, the plane was originally a military plane which transported RNZAF squadrons until 1978. The plane was then sold on to an Airmotive company who had planned but found no further use with the plane, thus the fuselage was broken up and transported to the farmland where it still lays to this day, a sad end for such a fantastic and unique looking plane.

 

Escuela Mala

A re-posted video of Petone College from early 2013. This former high school- abandoned, vandalized and the victim of numerous arson attacks- has finally been euthanized to make way for a retirement village. Escuela Mala loosely translates as “bad school” in Spanish.

Bad Education (redux)

One of our old haunts has finally been demolished. Hutt Valley High School (formerly Petone Technical College) was closed in 1998, but partially used up until 2002. The site had been heavily vandalized over the years and targeted on a number of occasions by arsonists- most recently this past January. This last fire was the nail in the coffin for the former school. The remaining buildings were demolished last month to make way for (ironically) a retirement village.

 

 

 

 

 

Isolation

This psychiatric hospital was opened in 1912 and operated till 1998, surrounded by controversy with how patients were treated throughout its lifetime, this set of photos documents our explore of the isolation wards. Finding old x-rays and patient records scattered throughout the wards among the decay of the hospital gave us a chilling insight into its history.

WAIKUNE

After 30 years of decay this abandoned prison camp is barely recognisable as a prison anymore, this was a quick, fun early morning explore of a prison that was closed due to 1000 prisoners being released in New Zealand under the Criminal Justice Act in 1985.

Mental Health – Secure Child Facility

This psychiatric hospital facility was open for more than 85 years and contained a society of mental health workers and patients. There are many reports of mistreatment throughout the years and it being an isolated, depressing place to live. Under some pressure and excitement we explored and were treated to some amazing finds.

Enjoy part one – The children’s ward 🙂 More to come.

Gunkanjima

One of us was lucky enough to visit legendary “Gunkanjima” a few years ago. Hashima Island, known locally as Gunkanjima (Battleship Island)- is situated off the coast of Japan near Nagasaki. Mitsubishi purchased the island in 1890 and began the project of extracting coal from undersea mines. They built Japan’s first large concrete building (9 stories high) in 1916 to accommodate the burgeoning ranks of workers. Concrete was specifically used to protect against typhoon destruction. In 1959, the 6.3-hectare (16-acre) island’s population reached its peak of 5,259, with a population density of 835 people per hectare for the whole island. As petroleum replaced coal in the 1960s, coal mines began shutting down all over the country, and Hashima’s mines were no exception. Mitsubishi officially announced the closure of the mines in 1974, with the local workers/inhabitants having to vacate their island fortress immediately.

Gunkanjima is increasingly gaining international attention, not only for its modern regional heritage, but also for the undisturbed housing complex remnants representative of the period. In the 2012 James Bond film Skyfall, the island served as an inspiration for the lair of villain Raoul Silva, but filming did not take place on the island itself. One section was recreated at Pinewood Studios in England and the rest via CGI. In 2013, Google sent an employee to the island with a Street View backpack to capture its condition in panoramic 360-degree views and allow users to take a virtual walk across the island. Google also used its Business Photos technology to let users look inside the abandoned buildings, complete with old black-and-white TVs and discarded soda bottles.

The Lost Resort

Anyone visiting Rarotonga for more than a few days, will probably have heard of (or seen) the doomed and abandoned Sheraton resort on the south coast. For a tiny country (pop. 14,600) which earns half of its income from tourism, completing the project is seen as vital.

The history of the project dates back to 1987 when the Cook Islands Government signed a deal with an Italian bank, after being unable to attract the required foreign investment. The Government acted as guarantors for the NZ$52 million loan and agreed to an Italian company’s bid to build Rarotonga’s first luxury 5-star 200-suite hotel and golf course. Sheraton signed up to manage the property and work began on its construction in 1990.

However within a few years, the lion’s share of $52 million disappeared down a black hole carved out by the mafia and other crooks- the project was 80% complete when the insurance firm cut off funding to the builders. Since then, Rarotongans have seen a steady flow of foreign receivers, consultants, con men, lawyers, bankers and developers trying to figure out what to do with the site. The country’s finances were crippled as the government’s liability ballooned to $122 million, and taxpayers are still saddled with the interest bill. The issue of who owns the hotel has been stuck in the courts for years.

Many locals think the project was doomed from the beginning, after a curse was thrown on the site in 1911- after More Uriatua was shot dead by William John Wigmore, following a bitter argument over ownership of the land. At the project’s official launch, Metua More’s grandson, More Rua turned up dressed as a high priest in warlike regalia, intoning the resurrection of his grandmother’s curse. He ended by slamming his spear into a rock onto which a plaque had just been unveiled by the Prime Minister, marking the beginning of the Sheraton project. When the rock split to ground level, the locals saw it as a sign that the resort was still cursed and doomed. It still lies abandoned and derelict today, with no new grand plans of completing The Lost Resort.

 

 

 

A Mansion Has Many Rooms

According to local legend, this mansion house was transported to it’s current hilltop location in four sections- sometime in the 1980′s. Allegedly, the farmer who owned the house and property- had intended to renovate the mansion, making it the family home. With spectacular 360 views of the surrounding countryside, it’s obvious as to why. Apparently though, soon after the building was in place- the couple tragically separated and the farmer was left to bring up the children on his own. He could then no longer afford to spend any more time or money on the mansion- and so the house deteriorated and stands as a reminder to this day…

Hospital Estate

An explore of an abandoned hospital lead us to find a morgue, chapel and operating theater. Some of the equipment had never even been used due to a change of governments at the time and a mixture of interests lead to the closure of the hospital many years ago.

One of the hospital buildings
One of the hospital buildings
Hospital Wards
Hospital Wards
More hospital wards
More hospital wards
X-Ray machine controls
X-Ray machine controls
X-Ray room
X-Ray room
X-Ray machine
X-Ray machine
Operating theater equipment drawers
Operating theater equipment drawers

Hospital Chapel
Hospital Chapel
Morgue
Morgue

School of Poor Achievements (Part One)

An Anglican school founded in the 1840’s and once home to some of New Zealand’s Maori leaders sits decayed and vandalised after closing its doors due to bad performance and bullying. While sad to see such a grand building in such a state, it’s location and clock tower are beautiful and feel more like entering a European village than a New Zealand location.

Carpe Diem

This former high school closed in 2007, and despite more than $85,000 spent on security since, fed-up residents have arranged patrols after systematic vandalism and theft. A poster in one of the classrooms ironically proclaims “seize the day”- yeah right… The New Zealand Government is currently trying to offload 52 closed schools. Doing so is more complex than selling a private home, and steps required under the Public Works Act can cause big delays. Obstacles to sale include locating former owners and their successors if the land was gifted, or for the right of first refusal, and complex Maori land claims. But for local residents the delays further the pain of school closures, as past community hubs turn into eyesores.

Smash You Bro

This car wreckers yard was the set of the New Zealand cult classic film Smash Palace released in 1981. The junkyard offers a rare opportunity to see cars from multiple eras and in various states of decay – some are even in the process of being reclaimed by nature by means of plants growing inside them.

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for Urbex Central. Thanks for watching and stay tuned for 2014…

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 25,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 9 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Ruapehu Railways

Standing at the feet of Mt Ruapehu are the remains of several railway viaducts in various stages of decay. Modernisation of the railway network and the move towards concrete bridges in place of the historic steel viaducts has meant that these symbols of industrialisation are no longer in use. One of the viaducts has been turned into a tourist attraction with the option of walking across it – on this viaduct I took the path less travelled and popped down for a look at the hidden service platform beneath its deck.

Harrods?

In a small country town that sits in the shadow of Mt Ruapehu there lies a shop, a shop bearing the same name as an infamous London department store.
I’m not sure if this place ever operated as a business, or if this is just some sort of joke but it’s closed these days either way.
image001 image002 image003

Thermal Resort

 

This abandoned thermal resort has sat vacant for years, cats both living and dead can be found throughout the premises and the place has a very peculiar air about it. The lawns are mowed, the garden tended to and the cats fed. Someone has been looking after this place, despite the fact that it does not seem to have functioned as a business for many years.
The area this is located in has a reputation for being a little bit dodgy, and I couldn’t help but feel on edge walking around with a DSLR when there was a ute (SUV for you Americans) parked in an abandoned service station across the road with two unsavory types eyeballing me.

Building compute

This 1930′s era totalisator building was a real joy to explore and document, thousands of people used to attend the race courses of New Zealand commuting by train for the big day. Now one of the last untouched buildings of its kind in New Zealand and  sitting idle as a pioneer of New Zealand’s computing history.

For the video of our explore :  Excitation

Future Fix

Exploring the grounds of a former historic hospital- unfortunately now earmarked for demolition due to the large amount of asbestos and at least a $50m repair bill.

Hospital on the Hill pt 4: Wards

Exploring some of the wards of the abandoned hospital in central New Zealand featured in our previous posts.

Click on each thumbnail to view the full picture.

The previous posts may be viewed here:
https://urbexcentral.com/2013/10/05/hospital-on-the-hill-pt-3-utilities/
https://urbexcentral.com/2013/09/25/hospital-on-the-hill-pt-2-hospital-laundry/
https://urbexcentral.com/2013/09/24/hospital-on-the-hill-pt-1-exterior/

More to come…

Hospital Complexities

Once upon a time this complex housed New Zealand’s largest hospital complex, catering primarily towards those of an unsteady state of mind. The site now houses a modern hospital, together with a modern psychiatric facility. Many of the older buildings of the complexes former life still litter the grounds, we stopped by to have a look at some of the remains.

Man on Wire

Gunner gets in some tight rope walking practise up the cables of an abandoned suspension bridge. This particular bridge was a crucial factor to the success of this region in the early to mid 19th century. Check out Gunner’s video of the event here

mow1. mow2 mow3 mow4 mow6