Operating since 1902, the Wellington Cable Car is one of the city’s most famous sights. The ride, from the central business district to the city’s tranquil botanic garden, offers a stunning light show inside the tunnels as well as gorgeous vistas of Mount Victoria and Wellington Harbour as you reach the top.
The recognizable red cable car transports passengers from the central city to the Wellington Botanic Garden and its uninterrupted views. At the top, explore the gardens and the historic Bolton Street Cemetery, learn more about the history of the cable car and Wellington at the Cable Car Museum, walk to the nearby Carter Observatory to check out the full-dome planetarium, or head into nearby Kelburn for lunch and boutique shopping.
You can ride the cable car independently or as part of an organized sightseeing excursion that hits Wellington’s highlights.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Wellington Cable Car is ideal for first-time visitors to the city and anyone wanting a lift up to the area around the botanic garden.
- Get a multitrip card to save time at the terminal, or purchase a discounted-fare Snapper card from a local supermarket.
- Catch a free shuttle to Zealandia, an urban nature reserve and sanctuary filled with native plants and birds, from the top of the cable car station.
- Pick up souvenirs, including limited-edition die-cast cable car models, at the Lambton Quay terminal.
- Ask the cable car staff before taking your bike on board—you may not be able to if the trolley is too busy.
- The terminal and cable car are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers. Mobility scooters are available to borrow at the terminal.
How to Get There
Wellington Cable Car’s center-city terminal is located down an alleyway in the center of Lambton Quay, across Grey Street. If you’re driving, park at the Clifton Terrace lot and catch the trolley there. From Kelburn, get the cable car at the end of Upland Road, atop the Wellington Botanic Garden.
When to Get There
A cable car leaves the Lambton Quay station every 10 minutes between 7am and 10pm Monday through Friday, 8:30am and 10pm Saturday, and 8:30am and 9pm Sunday. Late afternoon is best to avoid crowds. Summer and autumn offer visitors the most scenic views from the top of the cable car.
Cable Car Eats
Looking for a post-ride bite with a view? Pop into Cable Top Eatery for lunch and a wine or beer while looking over Wellington before exploring the botanic garden. You can also eat at Picnic Cafe, right next to Begonia House in the gardens, or walk into Kelburn to explore its many eateries.