Wellington’s St Paul Cathedral: Gothic Revival vs Modern

Old St Paul Cathedral in Wellington caught me by surprise. The streets of New Zealand’s capital reflect an active, upbeat, modern city. The general architecture styles are eclectic, contemporary and interesting. Then there is old St Paul Cathedral. Built entirely of native timber, this 19th-century gothic-revival masterpiece is well worth a visit. The high, vaulted ceilings, wooden beams, and stained glass windows seem out of place in such a young country. Built in 1866, it has a feel like many of the much older churches we visited in Europe.

Natural timber interior of Old St Paul Cathedral in Wellington New Zealand

The stunning interior of the old church.

Organ inside Old St Paul Cathedral in Wellington New Zealand

The organ that is currently in the Old St Paul Cathedral is its fourth organ. The original is now in the new church.

Stained glass windows inside Old St Paul Cathedral in Wellington New Zealand

Stained glass windows inside the old church.

Exterior Old St Paul Cathedral in Wellington New Zealand

Exterior Old St Paul Cathedral.

Only a block away sits the new St Paul Cathedral, built in the 1960s. It’s massive organ is built from the remnants of the original water organ of old cathedral. We were lucky enough to stumble upon an organ concert, free to enter with a recommended donation. The photos were shot before the concert – later the seats filled up quite a bit.

Modern interior of new St Paul Cathedral in Wellington New Zealand

The modern interior of the new church.

Exterior New St Paul Cathedral in Wellington New Zealand

Exterior of new St Paul Cathedral as seen from the nearby steps of Parliament.

Practical Information:

  • Old St Paul Cathedral is located at 34 Mulgrave Street. It’s open everyday from 9:30am to 5pm, except when being used for private functions (it is popular for weddings).
  • Hourly guided tours of the Old St Paul Cathedral are available for $5 per person.
  • New St Paul Cathedral is only a block away at the corner of Hill and Molesworth Streets.  It is open Monday to Friday 8.30am to 4.30pm and on Saturday from 10am to 4pm.  There are three Sunday services at: 8am Said Eucharist, 10am Choral Eucharist, and 5pm Choral Evensong.
  • New St Paul Cathedral serves as the Anglican Diocese of Wellington.
  • Both are free to enter, although donation is requested.

New or Old, which St Paul Cathedral do you prefer? Have you visited either?

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Old St Paul Cathedral in Wellington New Zealand

This post also linked at:
Screen Shot 2015-10-13 at 8.30.17 pmThe Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes and Beyond, Weekend Wanderlust at Justin plus Lauren, Photo Friday at Pierced Wanderings, and Sunday’s in My City at the Unknown Mami.

Colourful Photos from Wellington Botanic Garden
Two Powerful War Exhibits in Wellington New Zealand


  1. says

    Cool pictures. The stained glass windows remind me of some of the churches in Croatia. I imagine the atmosphere would be really nice when all the seats are filled and the concert is on.

  2. says

    Hi Rhonda – both are lovely buildings aren’t they; the old Cathedral is stunning … while the new one I’m sure has excellent acoustics. Lovely photos … cheers Hilary

  3. says

    The pics are great! I love old stone and timber cathedrals. So impressive, and so much more awe-inspiring and spiritual than the updated designs. Have a great weekend! 🙂

  4. says

    I’m usually a Modernist, but wow – the interior of the Old Cathedral is just gorgeous, with all that warm wood and beautiful stained glass. That said, I do like the look of the New Cathedral’s exterior; very grand. #wkendtravelinspiration

  5. says

    Very interesting combination between old and new. Although I am not a great fan of the new, modern architecture, I sort of like this one. It’s surprisingly cozy and it doesn’t feel inadequate for the exterior.

  6. says

    Oh, right away, I felt almost a system shock going from the warm photos of the old cathedral to the more austere, cold photos of the newer one. Perhaps, had I seen more of the stained glass of the new one, or a different angle, I might have been just as enthralled with it. I do believe I could sit for hours in the old cathedral.

  7. says

    I’ve never been to New Zealand… but I do love visiting OLD churches. There is something peaceful about thinking a building has been visited by so many people (visitors or parishioners)… especially love the stained glass in this church and thinking about how many hours, days, weeks and months creating those objects of art may have taken.

  8. says

    Oh I love old Buildings – I loved visiting the old churches in England, back when I was 18 {I went there for two months} and castles 🙂
    St Paul Cathedral in Wellington looks so beautiful 🙂

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