The waterfront wharves feature historic cranes.

Hikitia floating crane.
Hikitia floating crane

The Hikitia Floating Crane − Taranaki Street Wharf

The Hikitia floating crane is a Wellington icon and thought to be the world's oldest ship of this type still working. 

Built in Scotland in 1926 she sailed from Glasgow on 29 September and arrived in Wellington on 21 December – some 84 days which is considered a record distance for a ship of this type. She began work almost immediately and for 63 years was used in construction and other work, including demolishing the Wahine.

In 1990 she was purchased for preservation by two couples. After hard work by the owners and many volunteers, in July 1992 the 66-year-old ship was approved to lift 80 tonnes after succeeding in an 88-tonne lift. She went on to successfully complete a 100-tonne test lift to maintain her licence, which matches her performance in 1926 when she first arrived in Wellington.

Level luffing crane.
Level luffing crane

Since then Hikitia has performed some 300 lifts including linkspans for roll-on roll-off ships and three separate fleets of BT Global Challenge yachts. She has lifted harbour ferries, acted as a breakwater, salvaged sunken boats and even a Catalina flying boat, been a platform for firework displays and relocated a 7-tonne anchor for conservation.

In June 2009 the Hikitia went to Lyttelton for extensive hull repairs and exterior painting before returning to Wellington in November of that same year.

Level luffing crane and tripod crane − Queens Wharf

These two cranes are surviving examples of the many cranes that once lined the waterfront.

Tripod crane.
Tripod crane

The level luffing crane was made by Stothert and Pitt Limited of England in 1951 and is the only one left in Wellington − and probably the last surviving example of its kind in the country. These cranes were once commonplace on the waterfront, from Queens Wharf to Aotea Quay.

The tripod crane is the last remaining on the waterfront - there were once nine of these cranes along Glasgow Wharf. Tripod cranes were in use throughout the world until the introduction of container shipping in the 1960s.

Both cranes were restored in 2000.

Straddle crane.
Straddle crane

Straddle crane - Queens Wharf

The Series 520 Straddle Carrier, near Dockside Restaurant, is a fine example of one of the carriers in use during the early years of container shipping.

The carrier sits astride a 40ft shipping container through which the public can view a static display of the history of Wellington's waterfront.