Auckland's temperate coastal climate makes the great outdoors accessible all year round. Art and landscape combine in gardens and events across the region, providing art lovers with plenty of opportunity to enjoy art in the outdoors.
Waiheke Island, located 35 minutes by ferry from downtown Auckland, is a haven for artists, with more than 70 working artists resident on the island. Their studios are dotted across the island.
Connells Bay Sculpture Park - Waiheke
On the eastern side of the Waiheke Island lies Connells Bay Sculpture Park, located on a 60-acre coastal property. Owners John and Jo Gow established the park with the vision of uniting art and nature by planting sweeps of native trees and creating special places for commissioned site-specific New Zealand sculptures.
Their collection includes pieces made in concrete, bronze, stone, steel, aluminium and wood - some up to eight metres high. Accommodation is available onsite in a 100-year-old, self-contained guest cottage, located metres from the beach and set amongst native trees.
Sculpture on the Gulf - Waiheke
Outdoor sculptures are showcased at the biennial Headland Sculpture on the Gulf, an exhibition created by the locals of Waiheke to interweave art and landscape and embrace the coastal scenery of the island.
The exhibition takes place on a two-kilometre-long public walkway above the ferry terminal at Matiatia Harbour. More than 40,000 visitors walked the trail in 2017, and the next exhibition is scheduled to take place from 1 - 24 March, 2019.
Domain Sculpture Walk - Auckland city
In Auckland city, Auckland Domain is home to both the stately Auckland War Memorial Museum and Domain Sculpture Walk. The project, initiated in 2004, now includes eight large works from leading New Zealand artists on display throughout the domain: Chiara Corbelletto, John Edgar, Charlotte Fisher, Fred Graham, Christine Hellyar, Neil Miller, Louise Purvis and Greer Twiss were each commissioned to create site specific works for these locations.
The freshly minted Sculptureum in Matakana, opened in 2017, is a newcomer to the Auckland art scene, but it is already home to an outstandingly impressive private collection that includes works by Cézanne, Chagall and Rodin. When owners Anthony and Sandra Grant opened their property to the public, they described it as “art entertainment”. The three sculpture gardens and six galleries to browse are fuelled by Rothko, a restaurant and bar that’s the perfect environment for reflecting on the magnificent artworks.
Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens
Just a 40 minute drive from Auckland brings visitors to the delightful Kaipara region - an area framed by rolling hills and surrounded by the expansive Kaipara Harbour. The Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens combines a relaxing art and garden experience showcasing around 50 selected sculptures created by an array of New Zealand artists. The display changes each year - offering a new experience - and the art is for sale.
Not far from the Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens is Gibbs Farm - a private collection of 18 sculptures from some of the world’s most prolific artists. The farm - the private residence of New Zealand entrepreneur Alan Gibbs - houses the larger-than-life sculptures created to sit perfectly on the expansive land that offers views out to the Kaipara Harbour.
The park, open to the public once a month by appointment only, allows visitors to get up close to the large works - often the largest piece ever undertaken by the artist. Work by Anish Kapoor, Len Lye and Andy Goldsworthy dot the landscape while alpacas and sheep roam the grounds. Feeding Gibbs’ giraffes caps off the surreal experience. Check the website to book your visit well in advance.
Brick Bay Sculpture Trail - Snells Beach
The Brick Bay Sculpture Trail, near Snells Beach north of Auckland, is an ambitious project that has turned coastal farmland into a celebrated vineyard and a magnificently landscaped outdoor gallery framed by lakes, native trees, palms and vines.
The Brick Bay Sculpture Trail starts at the unique Noel Lane-designed Glass House building which also serves as a cellar door and café serving platters and wine. The ever-changing exhibition of around 45 sculptures by leading contemporary New Zealand artists is sited along a 2km trail that takes an hour to complete. Smaller works are displayed in the Shrunk courtyards, and all sculptures are for sale. The trail is open daily.
Telstraclear Pacific Events Centre - Manukau
In Manukau in south Auckland, the 'Pou Kapua' on display at the Vodafone Events Centre is a significant Maori and Pacitic Island arts show-piece carved from a large kauri tree. The 'pou' weighs more than 30 tonnes, and at 70 feet high is the largest totem of its type in the world.