Motorists in central Whangarei have about five weeks left to make the most of free parking in the town's newest carpark.

The old Toyota dealership's front yard between Carruth, Reyburn and Robert Sts has been leased by Whangarei District Council and turned into a carpark.

The carpark, which opened last week after the marking out and painting of spaces, is free for now but when parking machines are installed motorists will have to pay.

The parking machines are expected towards the end of November. When the meters are installed, parking will cost $2 an hour.

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Parking will be available for an unlimited time between 8am and 6pm from Monday to Friday and free at weekends.

The site has 74 carparks which includes disabled parks and spaces for campervans.

In July, the council voted to introduce $2 an hour parking for a maximum of three hours at the Town Basin carpark across the road to increase turnover of the spaces.

Infrastructure committee chairman Greg Martin said with a lot of new development in the area the council also wanted more all-day parking close by.

He said leasing the former Toyota site for five years enabled that to happen while plans for the future were made.