OVERLOAD

A return and a farewell to an enormous, decaying industrial site- on the eve of its imminent demolition, decontamination and redevelopment. The soundtrack (The Overload) by Talking Heads, is the finale from their 1980 album “Remain in Light”.

Penalty For Improper Use

$20 is what it cost if a passenger improperly stopped this train by pulling down a lever. It’s hard to estimate the cost of rail transportation being effectively stopped in its tracks by Sir Robert Muldoon’s government in 1975. By the time Muldoon was ousted in a snap election in 1984, only two trains of this style remained, having been replaced by busses. A group of enthusiasts is currently restoring this lonely survivor with the intention of returning it to riding the rails from 2022 as a reminder of a bygone era of New Zealand’s history.

All You Need To Know

Inside the front door a short and almost indecipherable note is written on the wall: “John’s house is the best house in the ohu and that’s all you need to know.” There was certainly much to learn at John’s house, which seems to have doubled as a miniature school and a private residence for this commune founded in 1973 and abandoned around 2000. Quotes by Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist Carl Jung peacefully coexist on John’s walls with those of American novelist Tom Robbins. Upstairs in John’s loft — where the magic presumably happened — Madonna reminds us: “Life is just a party. That’s all you need to know.”

From Ten To Two

Built in the late 1880s, this 1.1 kilometre tunnel was completed some years before the construction of the rail lines it ultimately served, which eventually snaked their way south to meet it. Located in an area described as “an unpeopled wilderness”, it required a township of workers to be established and a brickworks created. Additional materials were brought in by canoe to Te Kuiti and by rail to the Puniu river, and hauled from there to the worksite by horses. After the work was completed, and trains were not yet running south of Te Kuiti, the access roads and tunnel had a life for some years as a road for horsemen and pack-animals bound for the southern parts of the King Country. Traversing the tunnel was memorably described as “an uncomfortable experience . . . get[ting] a packhorse bogged in the stiff clay . . . through the black dripping hole in the hill.”

130 years after its construction, and 40 since its abandonment, the dripping continues, and the clay is still incredibly boggy.

Thanks to The Forsaken Explorer NZ for directing me when I got a little lost on the hunt: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsDB2AmI-Lr4EhHOgZxA7Ag

A Sweet Spinner’s Lament

In 1930, the first New Zealand-made bar of Cadbury chocolate was produced at biscuit maker Richard Hudson’s cocoa and chocolate manufacturing plant in Dunedin, founded in 1868. Hudson had been orphaned at the age of 9 and came to New Zealand in 1865. He became known as a caring employer who believed that everyone who contributed to a profitable business should benefit from its success. The company offered accommodation and even a recreational rifle range for its staff across the road from its present site. Cadbury was acquired by Mondelez International in a hostile takeover in 2009, and the factory didn’t quite last the decade following — closing its doors in March 2018. 350 jobs were lost in the closure. The site is now being demolished.

Residual Controls

During our most recent visit to this sprawling fertiliser manufacturing plant we could see from the air that demolition was progressing apace. So it seems the right time to bid farewell to the place with an edit combining a complete set of our former explorations there with recent drone footage. The company that formerly operated the plant started trading in the late 1970s in response to the risk of a proposed merger creating a monopoly in the production of fertiliser in New Zealand.

Part One: “Diocletian Allegories” [0:00] High-ceilinged and partially flooded, parts of the compound had the feeling of an ancient Roman bath.

Part Two: “The World As A Machine” [8:14] The generous size of the site felt all-encompassing: an industrial micro-world.

Part Three: “Residual Controls” [14:51] We always enjoy getting our fingers occupied in environments where museum rules don’t apply.

Butt of a Joke

Māori history records that long before this 1.2 kilometre, late 1880s-era tunnel was built, the chief Tarau, heading southward, climbed the range through which the tunnel now passes, situated near the upper Ongarue Valley in the Waitomo region of New Zealand. His subjects dutifully followed their chief, in single file. Mirth must have spread down the line of travellers about Tarau exposing his backside (“poro”) as he bent to the task of scaling the steep hill. And so that place, and the tunnel which was later dug through it, operating for nearly a century until 1980, acquired a colourful name: Poro-A-Tarau — “the posterior of Tarau”. It was a place where a chief exposed his rear end, becoming literally the butt of a joke.

Congratulations to The Forsaken Explorer NZ, Urban Kiwiana and KEWM for tracking down Poro-A-Tarau last year, and special thanks to The Forsaken Explorer NZ who promptly and kindly directed me when I had lost my way. Links to their videos of the tunnel are below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQh4_nK0r7s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66KJ7nEdyeA&t=3s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96a8bm7oifI&t=34s
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9lv1ucPRlQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SS6uFvBpcgQ&t=540s

Out of Bounds

Welcome to the complete document of our explore of this huge campus of four prison units abandoned in 2012 and currently being demolished.

Part One: “Out Of Bounds” [0:00] Prisons have existed on this site for nearly a century. During the Second World War, conscientious objectors were detained here. In the 1950s the site housed a prison farm which was further developed in the late 1970s. The scale of the site — thousands of hectares of commercial and native forests, farms, wetlands and a river — meant that a perimeter fence was impractical, deemed only ever suitable to house up to 600 inmates at a minimum to medium security level. From 1998 the prison began to suffer repetitional damage, with a seizure of almost $1 million worth of cannabis plants growing on site, a buckets-for-toilets scandal, two inmate drownings involving Māori cultural training, canoes and parachutes, and a guard convicted of supplying cannabis to a prisoner in return for a bribe. The closure of this unit – one of four we visited as the autumn sun was falling fast – was announced in 2012, and the land and its buildings have now been returned to their original owners. No signs of the commencement of demolition were then evident, and — gratifyingly — no signs of vandalism. A 360-degree panoramic mural painted around the walls of the dining hall conveys a sense of geographical placement among the majestic landscapes beyond the perimeter of confinement, tantalisingly out of reach.

Part Two: “Man With Short Arms” [6:30] Perhaps some kind of neuroscience was at play in this choice of images — SpongeBob SquarePants meets the lost city of Atlantis — for a mural painted along the back corridor of the isolation cells of this unit. Presumably intended to calm disruptive prisoners, and engage painterly ones, further intriguing murals adorn the cold cell walls: a man pruning the limb of a tree so anatomically uniform that he might just as likely be an electrician working on wires strung from a lamp post; a Māori wahine wearing a pounamu and a kākahu feather cloak — barefoot on a pedestal — turning her face to the light; a man surveying his upcoming twisting traverse into a landscape crowned by an active volcano, with only a briefcase to sustain him; and the man with short arms — seemingly ill-equipped to utilise the key to freedom that lies beside his truncated frame with its enormous feet.

Part Three: “Traces of Time” [11:49] From the window of #55, an informed eye studies the moody skies above the central courtyard. Glenn’s 1972 Christmas present — The World Encyclopedia of the Film — languishes in #11, its front cover torn off but not yet discarded. #18 plays host to a brown-crayoned face, mouth agape as if inviting the throwing of ping pong balls at a fairground amusement. Nearby a grey-bearded pig farmer and an athletic woman carrying groceries seem to be missing an opportunity to converse at the fence line. Monied wanderlust is palpable in #16, where a shrine to cars, boats and exotic getaways gleams under fluorescent light. Outside Sunday church services advertise the promise of personal transformation via belief in a higher power, while inside #37 another route to growth is being chosen. The number of 5 — denoting maximum difficulty — is written into every column associated with expressing affection towards anyone from an intimate partner to a shop assistant.

Part Four: “But They Can Die” [16:30] The pigs of George Orwell’s Animal Farm proclaimed, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. Pigs are similarly the object of resentment in under-the-mattress graffiti in Cell #26 of this former prison. The poem begins burnt into the wood: Pigs CAN’T FLY and continues in blue pen: BUT THEY CAN DIE NEXT FINE DAY BLOW A Pig away IF YOU KILL A Pig a day it WILL Keep the doctor away Nowhere more clearly did we find articulated the smouldering frustration of incarceration, channeled into the kind of blind hatred that negates any opportunity for insight. Elsewhere was a mixture of light and shade. In the kitchen the relative gentleness of a rainbow framing the extractor fan was juxtaposed with murals depicting fearsome hyper-masculine muscularity. No such diverting decor was provided for prisoners in solitary confinement, who were required to surrender their tobacco products and were issued with fresh water, a chamber pot, one mattress, one pillow, one pillow slip, one sheet, and blankets or duvet “in accordance with climactic conditions”. How some of them obtained implements sharp and sturdy enough to partially chisel their gang names and insignia into the stone walls and into the paint of their cell bars and doors is anyone’s guess. Puzzling at what we had experienced, and all the more aware of our own freedom of movement and expression, we walked for ninety minutes back down the road through pine forests to where we’d parked our car.

Across Time

This viaduct was built in 1908 during the ‘Age of Steel’, when steel plates, beams, girders and trusses held together with bolts and rivets were seen as the answer to almost all engineering problems. Curving elegantly amongst notoriously difficult terrain, it consists of steel lattice and mass concrete piers interspersed with Pratt truss and plate steel girders. It remained in use until 1987 when it was superseded by a creation of the ‘Age of Concrete’ as part of the electrification of the North Island Main Trunk (NIMT). At that time the decking was removed, and since then it has remained in the landscape as an inspiring site of groundbreaking New Zealand engineering history.

Hard Labour

Sentences with hard labour were common in the New Zealand criminal justice system through the 19th and into the 20th centuries. Convict working gangs were dispatched to build public works, often making bricks on-site from materials sourced near their worksites. They wore distinctive prison uniforms marked with arrows to decrease the likelihood of covert escapes. While the clay was still soft, inmates marked bricks with arrows as a form of self-portrait: a reminder of their presence and their contributions in spite of the ostracisation associated with their incarceration. Several inmate fingermarks are also visible in the bricks of this 19th century convict-built rail tunnel abandoned in 1900.

Hive Minds

Nearly four decades ago, collectively-minded communities of bees regularly filled these wooden beehives. The hives were painstakingly emptied and their contents weighed and processed in this beekeepers’ workshop. This organic, systemic process can be seen as a microcosm of the commune within which the workshop was situated. Up to seven couples with children resided here at any one time from 1973 to about 2000. They collaborated on self-sustaining endeavours such as dairying, making butter and soft cheese, harvesting, hunting, generating hydro-electric power and beekeeping. Their honey had a branded label which is still proudly stuck to a window in one of the former commune residences. Presumably manufacturing honey was a much-needed commercial interface with the outside world, where in-house produce could be sold for money.

According to records marked on a chalkboard inside, April 1993 appears to be when beekeeping operations ceased. A quarter of a century later, a falling pine tree has done its utmost to topple the workshop, and the whole commune sits decaying in the landscape, somewhat like a giant set of deserted beehives. The ‘hive mind’ of the commune has fragmented and dispersed. Or rather, it has shifted shape. A stream of ants is relentlessly appropriating the remnants of the 1993 honeycomb, hauling tiny piece by tiny piece back to its nest. Given enough years, the ants alone will demolish all that remains of this once-prosperous collaboration between humans and nature.

MX3030

Cars up trees: it’s a sight that still confounds, even half a decade after we first visited this odd scene. Above where the cars now lie is a cliff, beyond which is a sharp bend in the road. Stolen cars have been sent airborne over the edge – ‘Thelma and Louise’ style – since the 1960s. It appears the landowners and their local council still haven’t yet agreed who bears responsibility for resolving this mangled mess. And so the cars steadily are rusting their way into the ground – or at least the ones that managed to set wheels on the ground after their joyride.

Raw

For music, just the fizzing of cicadas on a hot summer day, and our footsteps ringing out in the cool air inside this 1876-built tunnel which was closed in 1955 after a deviation in the rail line it served.

Down River

An important aspect in understanding residents’ lives at this commune from its founding in 1973 to its abandonment in about 2000 was to locate and traverse their river access. The river was their source of hydration, cleanliness, spirituality, and even the electric light in their homes once they’d installed a generator at the dam. So early one misty morning, we set out to divine for water.

Pentagonal Dreams

The dome ceiling of the upper floor of this meeting house of a commune founded in 1973 and abandoned about 2000 is designed as an expression of mystical geometry. Pentagonal and triangular windows intersect with hexagonal timber patterns. It must have been quite a trippy place to take a nap: regrettably the bed is now utterly squalid.

#12

This former rail tunnel has sat abandoned since 1900. It is now three-quarters buried by the earth, and half-flooded. Distinctive arrow imprints on the red and brown clay bricks indicate the presence of prison labourers in its construction. Prisoners serving terms with hard labour wore arrows on their uniforms to visually distinguish them from civilian workers, and they marked their handmade bricks with arrows, as a kind of self-portrait. Finding this tunnel was a team effort involving anecdotes from rail workers, hand-drawn maps of enthusiasts, and – finally – simply groping through thick vines in search of the source of faint sounds of trickling water. The entrances are completely obscured in dense overgrowth. The thrill of finding something so untouched for so long is indescribable.

Ohu

This former commune was founded in 1973. At the time of its closure around 2000 it was the most longstanding of eight communities set up around New Zealand under the Ohu Scheme umbrella. Labour Prime Minister Norman Kirk approved the scheme in which young adults could channel their disenchantment with urban life into forming intentional communities centred around a ‘back to the land’ ethos.

Ohu is a Māori word meaning ‘communal work group’. Ohu communes were set up on unused Crown land, with their residents paying leases matching those of farmers grazing their livestock on government-owned land. Some saw the Ohu Scheme as a calculated initiative to remove radicals from urban settings, while its stated objectives were: to assist people in becoming self-sufficient from the land; to enhance people’s spiritual and social wellbeing; to reconnect people to the land; to give people a chance to develop alternative social models; to provide a communal environment as a potential antidote to the ills of modern society; the promotion of the virtues of a simpler life; to be a place of healing for participants as well as for society as a whole.

The area in which this ohu commune was situated had originally been gifted to servicemen returning after World War One. However, by the time of World War Two, the land was abandoned and the access track winding its way through steep terrain steadily returned to bush. It took the 1970’s ohu founders three months of hand cutting and digging to rehabilitate the track sufficiently to allow even horses to reach the ohu site. Over the course of its lifetime, up to five couples with children lived at any one time at the ohu, and undertook a range of initiatives to explore self-sufficiency, including gardening, bee keeping, dairying, manufacturing butter and soft cheese and hunting meat. Quirky DIY housing flourished in a climate of limited resources, salvaged materials, amateur architects and builders, and a relaxed attitude towards regulations. The central meeting house was an exceptional architectural achievement. Its circular form, pentagonal upper floor and feature windows, and domed timber ceiling constructed of triangles forming interlocking hexagons speaks to the utopian ideals of its community and era. It now cuts a lone, striking figure amidst a rewilded landscape.

By 2000, the same forces of isolation and endless hard manual labour that had prompted the returned servicemen’s families to walk away had again splintered a community, and the ohu dwellers departed, seemingly taking with them only what they could carry on their backs along the hour-long walk down to the river crossing to conventional civilisation. In recent years, former residents have expressed a desire to return to the ohu and transform it into an outdoor education centre. However, the Department of Conservation remains unconvinced at present that the group have the resources required to restore the buildings to safe habitability and to mitigate against the environmental impact of reoccupation. And so for now the remains of the ohu quietly stand as an inspiring – and perhaps also cautionary – tale about utopias and visionaries.

Stothert & Pitt

Last restored in the year 2000, this 1950’s-era tripod crane built by Stothert & Pitt Ltd of England has recently had its boom lowered to the ground. Given that a future climb to the top has been rendered impossible by the removal of the majority of its boom ladder, this edit commemorates a climb made several years ago. Tripod cranes were in use throughout the world until the advent of container shipping in the 1960’s.

UP

After an architectural competition in 1961 to commemorate the founding of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers Party, architect Georgi Stoilov revised his designs, separating the saucer-shaped body from the star mounted in a conjoined tower to give it better stability against wind and the risk of earthquakes. We’ve heard from a Bulgarian contact that the entrance to the towers’ stairs and ladders has now (late 2020) been closed off with a brick wall. In 2015 there were no such impediments.

Heat, Water and Silence

The current temporary closure of this commercialised geothermal area in the North Island of New Zealand allowed us to capture nature steadily continuing its activity in the peaceful absence of human occupation. According to Māori legend, New Zealand’s geothermal areas were created by two ember-bearing travellers – not on the sea, but through the earth. The two sisters of ocean navigator Ngātoro-i-rangi heard his call for their help from the midst of a blizzard at Mount Tongariro. They loaded six kete baskets with glowing embers and summoned Te Pupu and Te Hoata – the subterranean goddesses of fire – to deliver them to their imperilled brother. The goddesses dived deep into the earth and carried the baskets of heat from Hawaiiki (the Polynesian homeland) to Aotearoa. Each time the goddesses surfaced on their voyage they left a trail of embers, creating geothermal sites at Whakaari (White Island), Moutohorā (Whale Island), Rotoiti, Tarawera, Rotorua, Ōrākei Korako, Wairakei and Tokaanu. By the time they reached Ngātoro-i-rangi at Ketetahi, Tongariro, only one kete of fire remained to save his life.

Arnold

For almost six decades, Wellington airport’s incoming and outgoing flights were controlled from this tower which had its own residential mailbox on a suburban street parallel to the runway. It was opened in 1959 and operated until 2018. While it was known among Airways New Zealand staff as, “The Grand Old Lady of Wellington”, its neighbours are said to have had a more charming and humble nickname for it: “Arnold”.

Keith Butler

This incline was opened in 1889 in the South Island of New Zealand to transport coal by rail down from the mines it served. It operated for nearly a century until the closure of the mines. A caretaker, William Butler, stayed on when the settlement emptied out. On the 13th of September, 1988, a rainstorm caused a landslide, burying what remained of the settlement and killing Butler. His body and car were never found.

I’ll Send You A Postcard

A comparison between Budludzha monument in Bulgaria as pictured in 1970’s publications and its abandoned state in 2015. The Getty Foundation’s investment of $185,000 in July 2019 to support the creation of a conservation and management plan for the monument hopes to reverse its sharp decline.

Inclinations

Since the late 1960’s these coal tubs on the Millerton Incline in the northwest of the South Island of New Zealand have sat unmoving on their tracks. The Millerton Incline was built in 1891 and the mine it serviced began production five years later. The tubs would transport coal to Granity, which boasted at the time the largest wooden coal loading bins in the country. For the past half century coal production has shifted to the nearby Stockton coalfield.

A Christchurch landmark

So I finally decided to check out this abandoned house which has been awaiting demoliton for a long time in Christchurch!

To my suprise this place still survives to this today however I imagine it’s far beyond repair judging by the damage.

That’s all for now, enjoy the pics.

With The Birds

After an architectural competition in 1961 to commemorate the founding of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers Party, architect Georgi Stoilov revised his designs, separating the saucer-shaped body from the star mounted in a conjoined tower to give it better stability against wind and the risk of earthquakes. I’ve heard from a Bulgarian contact that the entrance to the towers’ stairs and ladders has now (2020) been closed off with a brick wall. In 2015 there were no such impediments.

Reverberations of Socialism

In 1961, architect Georgi Stoilov submitted a design inspired by the Roman Pantheon and 1950s sci-fi films for a monument to commemorate the founding of the Bulgarian Social Democratic Workers Party. The party was established by Dimitâr Blagoev’s group at a gathering at Buzludzha Peak 70 years earlier. Construction began a decade later. Within two decades it had again become symbolic – of the decline of the Soviet Union and Bulgaria’s unwillingness to memorialise its political past. The Getty Foundation’s investment of $185,000 in July 2019 to support the creation of a conservation and management plan for the monument hopes to reverse its sharp decline. The circular form of the Buzludzha monument appealed to Stoilov “as it seemed to symbolize infinity, and thus echoed the popular communist theme of building an eternal future and eternal glory.” [https://buzludzha-monument.com] It also seems to speak of a more inclusive, egalitarian politics. Wild acoustics were an unexpected discovery in this exploration shot in 2015.

Ossuary

One’s ability to walk freely into this petite Bulgarian ossuary is somewhat unsettling and confronting in relation to patterns and codes of behaviour around human remains that exist elsewhere. However, the artful calligraphy on the skulls, and our desire and that of others before us – and presumably after us – to leave them undisturbed affords some welcome sanctity. Memento mori: we remember death – both as a concept and the personalisation of it – in these bodily fragments of individuals who have passed away.

An Eye In The Earth

While exploring the small gold mining settlement of Waiuta, near Reefton in New Zealand, we found this little u-shaped tunnel network with two entrances nestled into the side of a bush-clad hill.

My Teacher’s Left

In 1987, the teachers at this now-abandoned Bulgarian school were likely told to destroy all artefacts relating to the Soviet era. Instead, they stowed images of Lenin, the communist flag and other left-leaning iconography in the basement and in the attic. One teacher was committed enough to keep anti-Fascist partisan artwork in the classroom, featuring scenes of the educating of children in secret, the supplying of food and water to resistance units hiding in the woods, partisans and their supporters being apprehended by the military and by their fellow villagers, and the brutal interrogations that swiftly followed.

The Millerton Incline

This small settlement and area of mining is located in Millerton on the West Coast of New Zealand.

Once a bustling town of 700, there now remains around 30 people who still call this place home. The area is littered with abandoned tunnels and mining carts and was a real ‘gold mine’ of interest for the urbexcentral gang.

LITTLE KNOWN FACT: The Millerton football (soccer) club, known as the Millerton All Blacks, were twice runners-up in the Chatham Cup, New Zealand’s knockout football competition, in 1932 and 1933.

The Abandoned Masonic Lodge

Located in Brooklyn, Wellington this Freemason’s lodge was the largest lodge in the Wellington region.

The secretive Freemason’s had left a lot of treasures to be found when they abandoned the lodge, we looked through numerous documents such as a detailed explanation of the initiation ceremony members must go through to become a lodge member. We felt a certain eeriness to the place as we explored and photographed the lodge but also felt a little sad for the members of the lodge and what the future of the Freemasons may be.

We hope you enjoy the pictures and video.

Check out https://urbexcentral.com/category/freemasonry/

 

Abandoned Teaching College

Abandoned University

Located in Wellington, New Zealand this former teachers college was built in stages between 1966 and 1977 by architects Toomath and Wilson. Teaching here focused on social good and personal development and was what the architecture was meant to represent. Victoria University originally bought the campus for $10 and then on sold it to Ryman Health for 26 million dollars last year. (more…)

Abandoned West Coast Cranes

Along the wharf of this small West Coast town sit these old electric coaling cranes. They are in a terrible state of disrepair and reported that if left any longer would begin to pancake on themselves.

Built in the 1900’s and used up until the 1970’s these cranes had been defunct for the past 50 years and without any restoration or maintenance had fallen victim to the weather of this West Coast town. There are plans to move the cranes and restore them but it uncertain if financially feasible. While taking photos of these cranes I spoke to a local who seemed really upset the cranes were being removed and thought it was a total waste of heritage.

 

Abandoned South Island tunnel

After hearing a rumor about a mysterious train tunnel in the South Island of New Zealand myself and DerelictNZ went out to investigate.
Sadly our first attempt was a bit of a fail after spending a whole afternoon trying to find it but after some more research urbexcentral returned and this time success!

The tunnel was fully bored and constructed in the early 1940’s however it was given up on after some of the walls started breaching. The damage inside the tunnel is pretty substantial and it felt pretty unsafe to lurk through, from the crazy angles and curvature in the tunnel I suspect the kaikoura earthquake in 2016 played a part in the damage.

Abandoned South Island tunnel, New Zealand, Urbex Central NZ

Abandoned South Island Tunnel

Abandoned Tunnel South Island New Zealand

Abandoned collapsing tunnel

 

Above The Glass

A couple of old chimneys tower over an abandoned glass factory near the village of Krushevo, in the municipality of Sevlievo, in Gabrovo Province, northern central Bulgaria. Gunner thanks his generous and kind hosts, Nicola Miller and Jonathan Taylor.

 

Abandoned Aquarium

 

Located in a sleepy town that has had its fair share of earthquakes lies this little aquarium on the wharf, abandoned and closed down due to earthquake damage. In operation, it seems the aquarium was well loved and although small was full of interactive activities for children who visited.

Due to an injury this explore posed a little bit of a challenge to UC but thanks to fellow explorer DerelictNZ we were able to successfully explore this place and enjoy its wonder; such as an inflatable shark, not quite the infamous Melbourne shark but close enough.

 

 

The Abandoned bowling alley

Located between Tokyo and Mount Fuji, we eventually found this bowling alley ‘Yukio jamaji’ on google maps. Walking around the bowling alley felt a bit like a time capsule – seemingly locked in time, closed down and untouched for the last 10 years.

With mixed information regarding the security in place at this location we went in cautiously but were pleasantly surprised by the gloomy abandonment we found.

 

Abandoned Bowling

Abandoned bowling japan urbex

 

The Empire Hotel

A little bit of luck goes a long way in the world of urban exploring and we happened to stumble upon this hotel in Masterton in the North Island of New Zealand just before it began being demolished and destroyed forever.

This old hotel had an amazing art deco staircase and some other interesting features including housing a recording studio. There were signs of squatters in some of the rooms which was also reported in local news papers.

Due to redevelopment of ‘a new chain store coming to town’ the hotel has now come to the end of its life and will be demolished.

The Empire abandoned hotel, Masterton, New Zealand.

 

 

 

Waterpark

Late last year we explored the abandoned waterpark “Ho Thuy Tien” near Hue, Vietnam. This place has been fairly well documented by UE and backpackers before, so to mix things up a bit we decided to predominately explore the park via bicycle- and we’re talking about the old school one speed bicycle variety with a basket on the handle bars.

It took 30-40 minutes in the heat & humidity to bike there from Hue city, courtesy of Google Maps. At the main gate we were surprisingly waved through by a guard. We were expecting a “fee” like all other locals and visitors alike. Perhaps he felt because we’d biked all the way out there we deserved the “free” entry- what ever the case it was good karma.  Locals we spoke to later just could not believe we’d been given “free” entry.

Closed a decade ago- probably because of the high priced tickets and lack of attractions- the park has over the years become a hang out for local youth, urban explorers, backpackers, and on weekends (in this case) a bus load of students. Apart from getting the neck slit gesture after outstaying our welcome at some local lads bbq on top of the waterslide section- it was a safe and surreal experience- and then we had to bike all the way back to town…

The Abandoned Supreme Court House, West Coast, New Zealand.

 

This abandoned courthouse was built in 1913. It was designed to reflect New Zealand’s ties to the British Empire. The building was only used until 1970 as a courthouse and was continued to be used for government buildings till the 1990’s.

Since then it was laid unoccupied and fallen into disrepair although meant to be restored, it is far from that. Hope you enjoy the pictures, it was a solid explore and one of urbex centrals’ most desired locations along the West Coast of New Zealand.

Abandoned Lower North Island Hospital

This hospital is one of the most intact abandoned hospitals left in New Zealand. Closed in 2007 and subsequently purchased privately, this hospital has been left abandoned and untouched.
Inside the hospital it’s quite amazing how much is left, from X-ray machines to a fully functioning theater its as if the hospital could open again at any minute although left abandoned 10 years ago.

We first visited this hospital in 2012 and now once again in 2017, not much has changed but it remains one of Urbex Central’s favourite explores in the North Island of New Zealand.

 

 

 

Tonghui Town – Abandoned Swiss town in Beijing.

Tongui town – This abandoned street was built in 2011 as a ‘bar street’ development.

Six years later and the place is a ghost town, abandoned in central Beijing, there was a mixture of themes used in this European style town including Italian and Swiss. It is unknown whether this site will ever be used as its intended purpose and what a strange sight to see in Central Beijing.

As you can see none of the internal parts of the building were completed and they were all joined together through a tunnel underneath the street, we hope you enjoy the pics, UC.

 

Rest in peace Erskine College.

Erskine college built in 1905 is due for demolition this year and any day now the demolition crews will move in. Urbex Central decided to take one more visit back before it is gone forever, come say goodbye to one of Wellington’s most famous abandoned, ‘haunted’ whatever you want to call it, buildings.

 

Black Palace

“Black Palace” (Damnak Sla Khmao) was a little summer palace of King Sihanouk, abandoned sometime in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. It’s located on Bokor Hill Station in southern Cambodia. The “Palace” itself is not on a grand scale, but the overall spectacular location and many outer buildings must have been fairly impressive in its day.

The hill station was built as a resort by colonial French settlers as an escape from the heat, humidity and general insalubrity of Phnom Penh. Nine hundred lives were lost in the nine months during the construction of the resort in this remote mountain location.

The centrepiece of the resort was the grand Bokor Palace Hotel (which has never been a casino) inaugurated in 1925. See previous video- “Casino Rouge”. It was used as the location for the final showdown of the excellent Matt Dillon 2002 movie, “City Of Ghosts”.

Bokor Hill was abandoned first by the French in late 1940s, during the First Indochina War, because of local insurrections guided by the Khmer Issarak. It was only in 1962, for the reopening of the “Cité du Bokor”, that a casino was established in the new hotels near the lake, (Hotels Sangkum and Kiri). Some buildings were added at this time: an annex for the palace, the mayor’s office and a strange mushroomed concrete parasol.

The Bokor mountain was abandoned again in 1972, as Khmer Rouge took over the area. During the Vietnamese invasion in 1979, Khmer Rouge entrenched themselves and held on tightly for months. In the 1990s Bokor Hill was still one of the last strongholds of Khmer Rouge.

Abandoned Great Wall, China.

The great wall in China, one of the great wonders of the world.

Although seen as a tourist destination that is well kept and maintained by the Chinese government, the great wall spans for 8,851.8 kilometers. Of this 8000 Kilometers much of the great wall has fallen into disrepair and is subsequently abandoned and falling apart.

It takes about two hours of walking past the vast amounts of tourists before you get to the abandoned and what is arguably most representative version of the huge spanning great wall, we hope you enjoy the shots!

Abandoned Cement Works, South Island, New Zealand.

 

Having had this closed down and dilapidated cement works on the radar for a couple of years, the urbexcentral crew alongside wildboyzue (UK) finally got to take a visit!

As we drove the long drive to this location, we had mixed feelings of defeat and curiosity from earlier exploration attempts but we were determined to finally do something epic this road trip.

Now, with our target in sight we quickly worked out the best way to photograph the place and we were soon basking in an oasis of abandonment, from coming across remnants of a past busy workplace, to huge machinery and infrastructure, including a decommissioned coal run power plant!

 

Abandoned Cement works, South Island, New Zealand - Urbex Central

Abandoned Cement Works - Urbexcentral.com

Abandoned Cement Works - Urbexcentral

Abandoned Cement Works, New Zealand - urbexcentral

Abandoned Cement - Urbexcentral

Abandoned cement urbexcentral

Urbex Central, Abandoned Cement Works New Zealand.

Abandoned Cook House

We came across this dilapidated, soon to be demolished house recently after having it on our radar for quite some. After a shall we say, tight crawl we found ourselves surrounded in forgotten belongings and hoardings.
As we crept through the house we came across many memories of the old house owners past and it was quite sad to think that most of the amazing stuff in this place would soon be in the landfill,  what a waste!

Abandoned Mini Golf In New Zealand!

On our recent trip down in the South Island of New Zealand we found ourselves accidentally stumbling across this soon to be demolished abandoned mini golf course in Christchurch, New Zealand.
As we walked through it, it felt barely abandoned and seemingly such a waste; it must have been a pretty cool course once upon a time, it is soon to be bowled over to make way for a redevelopment, most probably housing.

Abandoned Minigolf.

Abandoned Pirate Mini Golf koisk

Abandoned and Derelict Minigolf, New Zealand.

Abandoned Minigolf Course

Abandoned Pirate Ship, Christchurch, New Zealand.

Abandoned Pirate ship mini golf

Abandoned Mini Golf

 

 

 

The Mill

This woolen mill in the South Island of New Zealand had been through troubled times, with it being saved from closure in 2012 until once again facing uncertainty in early 2016 when the company running the business finally went into receivership.
The machines,  wool and remnants of the workers have lain dormant since, like everyone just up and left one day!

Our visit here was along route on our South Island urbex trip, never expecting such an intact woolen mill to be just sitting there decaying and forgotten. Subsequently our explore into the mill began cautiously and it appeared the further we ventured into the mill, the more it seemed likely we might suddenly bump into an angry ex worker of the mill (who may not have shared the same passion as we do for abandoned photography) any moment! Enjoy the photographs!

Abandoned Woolen Mill, South Island derelict urbex central New Zealand.