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Old St. Paul, Wellington Overview

The Old St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the best buildings in Wellington, with a display of Gothic and Revival Gothic architecture. With its beautiful stained glass windows, panels, and gleaming wooden interior, you should not miss out on this church if you are in the capital city of Wellington! It serves as an essential landmark of the city, especially in the Thordon area, where it is located.

Today, it serves the function of a popular tourist attraction and is one of the most popular wedding venues in the city. It also houses a small gift shop and information desk. Also used for several other small, private functions, the bookings for the same can be made by contacting the authorities – Heritage New Zealand currently manages it. The church is of great cultural, historical, and aesthetic value to the people of New Zealand. The efforts to restore the church towards the end of the 19th century is called a ‘battle’ to restore the building, as the whole city came together to preserve this work of art. 

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History

The Old St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most important historical sites and landmarks in the city of Wellington. It opened in 1866, and served a triple role for almost 100 years – the parish church for Thorndon, the Anglican cathedral for the Wellington diocese, and the unofficial national cathedral for New Zealand – until it closed for regular worship in 1964.

It was also found to be a little unstable, and many additions were made towards the end of the 19th century. For the past 50 years, it has served as a venue for multiple events, including weddings, and has welcomed people from all around the world. It is now managed by Heritage New Zealand.

Architecture

The church is the perfect representation of the early age of Gothic architecture, and was designed by one of the most well-known architects of the time, Frederick Thatcher. Even the interior of the church represents Revival Gothic architecture – with colourful stained glass windows and panels that add to the shine of the beautiful interior. The materials used were the locally available ones, including kauri, rimu, tōtara, rather than oak and stone.

The most glorious part of the church is its wooden interior, and the carvings have their own charming aura. The additions made toward the end of the 19th century to maintain the stability of the church greatly integrated with the feel and look of the church, and did not take away from the character of the original design.

How To Reach Old St. Paul's Cathedral

The city of Wellington has an extensive public transport network. The cathedral is located at  a distance of 500 meters from the main Wellington train station. You can also use the following means to get to Old St. Paul’s Cathedral:
  • Bus – This is the cheapest and most convenient way to get around the city. The bus stop closest to the church is Murphy Street – Wellington Girls’ College stop. It is located just 100 meters, or a 1 minute walk, away from the church. Another bus stop is Thorndon Quay – Capital Gateway, which is 200 meters, or a 2 minute walk away. 

  • Taxi –
    There are multiple taxi operators that function throughout the city, throughout the day. They are on the pricier side, but are also very easily available. Mobile-based taxis such as Uber are also popular and easily available in the city. 
  • Car – If you plan on driving down to the cathedral, there is plenty of parking space available around the place, and on the nearby streets. It could be paid, depending on where you park your vehicle.

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