In the late 1940s, Hardie Bros established a stone quarry at the Russell Rd site and began producing aggregate for local roading projects. Following a severe flood their quarry operations were moved to Otaika and Winstone aggregates ltd took over the site. It was then donated to WDC in 1976 to become part of the city’s parks and reserves network. Today, the subtropical Whangarei quarry gardens have become a community project created by volunteers. A master plan has been put in place in the aim to provide a stunning sequence of gardens and spaces, optimise visitor numbers and reinforce the flow of the valley and the movement of water through the site.
This visitor’s centre is the first attempt to make the quarry gardens more than a garden but a destination for people to visit. The café will be a great help in the efforts of achieving this.
Whangarei Quarry gardens visitor centre was the winning entry in a competition, which forms part of the master plan for the gardens. The building needed to capture the sculptural qualities of industrial relics, reflect the massive scale and industrial heritage and honour the gardens huge voluntary effort.
The Whangarei Quarry Gardens new Visitor Centre is a building that draws on the surrounding landscape for material inspiration and strives to connect visitors to the Gardens beyond. The interior serves as a blank canvas encouraging the gardens in through large openings. Its multifunctional capability accommodates meeting room for volunteers and local groups, public toilets, a manager’s office, volunteers room, outdoor seating areas, kitchen facilities, and a café/dining room for around 80 people.