Ride the iconic Wellington Cable Car

For over 100 years, the Cable Car has trundled up the Kelburn hillside making it one of Wellington's most iconic experiences

Wellington Cable Car at sunrise 2021 v2

Where

Lambton Precinct

Location

Cable Car Lane
280 Lambton Quay

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

On the five-minute journey upwards, the Cable Car rises 120m over a length of 612m, travelling through tunnels and offering spectacular views of the city below.

A milestone in engineering when it opened over 100 years ago, the Wellington Cable Car is New Zealand’s only remaining funicular railway.

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Originally steam-powered when it started in 1902 – the two red cable cars have trundled up and down the hill, through three tunnels and over three bridges, multiple times every day since – stopping only once for an upgrade break.

While it may be one of the more interesting ways to get to work for some, there's art, too. Keep an eye out for the Rainbow Mural by Gina Kiel at the Lambton Quay terminal, the Cable Car Transition Mural at Clifton Station, and the LED light installations by Angus Muir throughout the two tunnels.

At the top, you'll find one of the more iconic views overlooking Wellington. If you time it right, you can have your own blue-skied panorama of the city with the red cable car sitting front and centre. 

It’s not hard to see why it's one of Wellington’s most popular attractions for locals and visitors.

Cable Car Museum

After taking in the stunning panoramic views from the Cable Car Lookout, head into the Wellington Cable Car Museum. Housed in the original winding house for the cable car, the museum extends over two floors and tells the story of the cable car through original artefacts, photographs and interactive exhibitions.

Delve into the engineering skills, innovation and technology that allows Wellingtonians and visitors alike to travel up and down the hill with a visit the winding machine room that was operational from 1902 until 1978 shows the machinery once used to haul the cable cars up the hill to the summit in action. The winding machine was eventually replaced by a new Swiss-designed system which still remains in operation today.

For more than a century the cable car has carried millions of passengers. On the Cable Car’s opening weekend in 1902 more than 4,000 passengers jumped on board, in 1912 that number had grown to more than one million, and today passenger numbers total 1.17 million yearly.

Entry to the museum is free and the shop on-site features an array of New Zealand gifts. The complex is open from 9.30am-5pm daily. The return journey on the Cable Car completes the experience, but if you are driving you can park in a paid carpark just a short walk away from the museum.

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What to do at the top of the Cable Car

Visit a world-class conservation ecosanctuary, take a trip to outer space or go back in time to 19th century colonial Wellington.

Find out more

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