Walking Tour: City Sculpture

  • Start Post Office Sq
  • End Karo Dr
  • Length 2.8km; one hour

Get started in windswept Post Office Sq, where Bill Culbert’s SkyBlues twirls into the air. Cross Jervois Quay and pass between the Academy Galleries and Wellington Museum. At the Queens Wharf waterfront, turn right, past the big shed to the Water Whirler, the largely lifeless needle of kooky kineticist Len Lye that whirrs crazily into life on the hour several times a day.

Continue along the promenade below the mast of the Wahine, which tragically sank in Wellington Harbour in 1968. Around the corner are the white, rather whale-like forms of the Albatross Fountain. Detour up onto the flotsamy City to Sea Bridge and check out the collection of weathered wooden sculptures here.

Back on the waterfront, continue past the whare waka (canoe house), to the mooring of the Hikitia, the world’s oldest working crane ship – something of a sculpture in itself. Strip to your undies and jump off the diving platform, or perhaps just keep on trucking along the wharf, past the naked bronze form of Solace in the Wind leaning over the harbour fringe.

Turn right and wander through the landscaped wetlands of Waitangi Park before crossing Cable St and cutting along Chaffers St, and then Blair St with its century-old warehouses.

At Courtenay Pl look to your left, to check out the leggy form of the industrial-cinematic Tripod, before turning right. Continue along to wedge-shaped Te Aro Park with its canoe prow and trip hazards.

Turn left when you hit Cuba St, heading up the pedestrian mall. Watch out for the sly, sloshy Bucket Fountain – it exists solely to splash your legs.

Change down a gear and window-shop all the way to the top of Cuba St, where a remnant heritage precinct is bisected by the controversial inner-city bypass. Bookend your sculpture walk with Regan Gentry’s brilliant but ghostly outline of a demolished house, Subject to Change. Alongside is the curious 7.5m-deep Tonks' Well, dating from the 1860s.