WellingtonSee & Do
Wide of the cable car driving up the tracks with the sun setting over Wellington city and harbour in the background.

Wellington Cable Car

For over 120 years, the Cable Car has trundled up and down the Kelburn hillside. Ferrying commuters, students, and tourists between Lambton Quay, Victoria University, and the Botanic Gardens. The five-minute trip has become a Wellington must-do for tourists.

Every 10 minutes, the bright red Wellington Cable Car departs from Lambton Quay and makes its way up into the hills of Kelburn. 

The 612m journey travels through three tunnels and over three bridges. Once you’ve reached the top you’ll have risen 120m above sea level. The views of the city below and harbour and hills beyond are, predictably, spectacular.

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A milestone in engineering when it opened in February 1902, this is New Zealand’s only remaining funicular railway. Originally steam-powered when it began, the two red cable cars have traversed the hill many times a day for over one hundred years.

As you travel from the city centre to the Kelburn terminal make sure you check out the LED light installations by Angus Muir. Each of the two tunnels has 60 arches of light strings, which synchronise with a computer program. The program allows the Wellington Cable Car team to choose different patterns and put on special displays for events, such as the Pride Rainbow, Matariki Stars, New Zealand flag, and plenty more.

Once you reach the top, pause to take in the panoramic views from the nearby lookout. Then head into the Wellington Cable Car Museum. Housed in the original winding house, the museum extends over two floors. It tells the story of the cable car through original artefacts, photographs, and interactive exhibitions. Entry to the museum is free. The return journey back to Lambton Quay completes the experience. However, if you feel like walking, you can enter the Wellington Botanic Gardens directly beside the Kelburn terminal. There are also free shuttles to Zealandia, and Space Place is a two-minute walk away.