Welcome to this website celebrating the stairs of Wellington!
These are the first 90 (!) sets of steps with more to come.
Wellington’s public staircases have fascinated me for many years, and I’ve wanted to do something to share the fun of finding them around the city. This has taken some time and the patience of friends who sent me their discoveries and offered mounds of help for this project.
The arrangement of a study of steps proved difficult, and stalled me for some time – geographic, alphabetical, age? But finally I’ve settled on this rather personal collection of selected steps, with a view toward finding them all over time. A long project given that Wellington City Council’s list they kindly provided is around 300. But here is the beginning.
“Hidden away” is a most frequent phrase that arises when discovering Wellington’s outdoor public staircases – along the most well-travelled city walkways lie wonderful small excursions to delay or subvert your usual walk to work or on an errand.
If you are a visitor to Wellington you will find history, charm, confusion, and possibly the odd unique encounter with startled city dwellers who appear mystified that you have found your way to their pathway.
Many staircases are simply utilitarian passageways and offer no amusement but the staircase itself while others open to spectacular views of the city, bush, or harbour.
The staircases themselves were built over the decades and many seem to have been left unattended since the builders walked away from them. Most bear the evidence of wear and the strain of Wellington weather.
You could build a full day’s exercise regime with a little planning and pacing. Most of the staircases in the Central Business District are located near cafes or dairies to find water or coffees as needed. Some of those located away from the CBD are connections between residential streets with few options for similar rest.
This website is meant to be a guide to find the staircases but also as an appreciation of the stairs themselves. The photos feature the texture of the concrete and brick stairs, the rust of railings, worn paint of barrier fencing, and the flash of the colour of occasional graffiti art enhancements.
All the staircases in this website are available for public use. I have not included the many marvelous stairs to private residences, and I urge the user to respect them as well even though you may encounter them as off-shoots of the public passageways.
Some warning should be offered – the staircases may be worn and uneven, handrails could be uncertain, and the quick pace of development in Wellington could obliterate any of these staircases overnight. So enjoy them while you can.
Along Ballantrae Place – as clear a summary of the appreciation of steps as could be stated without words.