Work starts on Wellington ice rink

Contractors have started assembling a temporary ice skating rink on Wellington's waterfront which is expected to attract 30,000 punters over the next month.

The Wintergarden Ice Skating Rink is scheduled to open to the public on Friday and is being set up beneath the sails on Queens Wharf. Up to 15 contractors will work on the rink's assembly over the next four days, freezing 50,000 litres of water for its base.

The 15-metre by 35m rink is timed to coincide with the knockout phase of the Rugby World Cup and is targeting visiting rugby fans and holidaying school children. It has been brought to Wellington by Christchurch events promoter Douglas Webber Group in conjunction with Ice World International from the Netherlands.

Douglas Webber Group is financing the project at no cost to Wellington ratepayers and Wellington City Council has granted the company permission to use Queens Wharf at no cost.

The last time Wellington boasted an ice rink was nine years ago when a 20m by 30m rink was set up in the former Chaffers Park - now Waitangi Park - in 2002. It attracted 20,000 skaters during its 16-days of operation and the council has since considered building a permanent rink in the city.

Douglas Webber Group sales and marketing director David Parlane said the surface area of Queens Wharf where the rink would sit actually had an 8cm drop so the first step was to build a flat base.

''It looks flat, but it ain't.''

Once the base was constructed, 50,000 litres of water would be pumped into it and frozen with a network of cooled pipes, similar to an engine radiator.

''Obviously the ice needs to be hard to skate.''

The Queens Wharf rink will be open from 10am till 10pm seven days a week. Skating will cost $20 for adults, $15 for children and students, or $50 for a family of four pass.

* An earlier version of this story stated admission will give punters up to four hours on the ice. However, organisers say a time limit has not yet been confirmed.

Related content: Official site of ice rink in Wellington

COOL EXPERIENCE: An artist's impression of the ice skating rink to be set up at Queens Wharf.
COOL EXPERIENCE: An artist's impression of the ice skating rink to be set up at Queens Wharf.

The Dominion Post