FIND THESE STEPS – From Willis Street, turn up the hill at St John’s Presbyterian Church, 168-176 Willis; Dixon Street meets The Terrace at 271 The Terrace, and the steps are at the far end of the street.
This is a favourite of Victoria University students, and the hearty and fit commute – 144 steps – the Dixon Street staircase trims the time for a walk to work or a quick run to Courtenay Place.
A short walk from The Terrace along the residential portion of Dixon Street, then zigzag down the stairs to where Dixon Street and Macdonald Crescent meet.
From upper Dixon Street with a view of the spire of St John’s church.
As you walk along Dixon Street on the upper level, you will be walking over the tunnel of the Wellington Inner City Bypass.
For a bit of a rest on the way up a memorial to “a feminist and activist and former head of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs” – this bench was installed in 1988. From the Wellington City Council website for the Dixon Street Steps.
View towards Willis Street.
According to The Streets of My City, the street was originally named ‘Dickson Street’ in the original plan of Wellington in 1840, but other investigation indicates it was named for one of the members of the New Zealand Commercial Company, John Dixon.
When the sun is right, the stairs can become a sun lounge for a cat.
And a strategic hideaway in the shade.
View of the Dixon Street flats from the stairway. The building was part of the Labour government’s state housing project in 1944, and designed by Gordon Wilson and possibly Ernst Plischke.
The flats front on Dixon Street and also at the top of the Willis Street steps.
As they were around 1970.
And today, from the bottom of the steps, just up Dixon Street from Willis Street.
From Paperspast (Evening Post, 11 May 1886), evidence that the Dixon Street steps have been well used for decades:
(Paperspast, National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Matauranga O Aotearoa)
That’s Dixon Street – from a distance it becomes rows of trees with Victoria University in the back.