When it comes to New Zealand icons, the Wellington Cable Car is right up there. It must be one of the most photographed attractions in the country and for good reason.

Not only does a trip up the cable car in Wellington offer up amazing views, it is also packed with history. For over a hundred years, locals and visitors alike have been enjoying the 5 minute journey from the heart of the city up through the terraced hillside houses of Kelburn to a stunning lookout perched high above the city.

Other than the stunning views though, what else can you expect from a trip on the Wellington Cable Car? Let’s dig a bit deeper…


The Wellington Cable Car is New Zealand’s only running funicular railway which is a pretty awesome starter for ten. It runs daily from Lambton Quay up to Kelburn and is used as both a way of commuting into work and also to explore and discover our wonderful capital.

The railway was originally formed in 1898 under the Kelburn & Karori Tramway Company and was sold to Wellington City Council in 1947 where it was incorporated into the city’s passenger transport operations.


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It has gone on to form an iconic backdrop to the city and it’s famous red cable car can be seen from all around the city as it transports commuters and visitors up and down the hillside from Kelburn to Lambton Quay.

Botanic Gardens


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One of the best things to do once you have taken a ride to the top of the cable car is take a stroll around the Botanic Gardens. Covering 25 hectares, Wellington’s Botanic Gardens offer a nique landscape of protected native forest, exotic trees and colourful floral displays. It’s a great place to visit with the whole family with plenty of green space for the kids to play as well as a designated play area and duck pond.

Cable Car Museum

If you are interested in the history of Wellington’s Cable Car, then a trip to the museum is a must. Located adjacent to the Kelburn terminus, it houses the original winding machinery for the cable car system that operated from 1902 to 1978. It’s a pretty cool little museum which should come as no surprise in one of the world’s coolest little cities.



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This is a must for those looking for something a bit different on their next trip to Wellington. Take the cable car from Lambton Quay to Kelburn where you can catch the free shuttle bus to Zealandia. When you enter through the gates, you will feel a million miles away from our capital city. This 225ha park is a sanctuary for native wildlife and is a stunningly beautiful place to spend a few hours. We have written plenty of posts about Zealandia so be sure to check them out.

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Other things to see


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The council in Wellington is constantly investing in new and interesting developments around the Cable Car. Recent developments have included a new Rainbow Mural in the Lambton Quay Terminus which is the work of a local artist. The Clifton mural also showcases the entire history of the Wellington Cable Car. Another pretty awesome feature is the light display as you pass through the two 100 metre long tunnels where bursts of LED lights create some stunning patterns and imagery. If you need a car while you’re in town, check out our Wellington car rental deals.

We love a good trip up the Wellington Cable Car so make sure you check it out the next time you’re in town.