Explore Wellington’s Iconic Cable Car

A trip to Wellington isn’t a proper trip without a ride on the capital’s iconic cable car.

A 5-minute ride from downtown Wellington to the top of the terraced houses in the hilly suburb of Kelburn, this railway journey takes you through tunnels swirling with a kaleidoscope of colours and murals before arriving at the top to the spectacular views across Wellington harbour. From the lush rolling hills to the vast expanse of the Cook Strait, this is one panoramic view that will blow your breath away (literally).

Situated at the top of the Wellington Botanical Garden with easy access to the Cable Car Museum, Space Place at Carter Observatory, and a free shuttle to Zealandia, a ride on the cable car connects you with a plethora of Wellington’s weirdest and most wonderful attractions.


Wellington’s cable car is the capital’s only running funicular railway, with the original Kelburn & Karori Tramway company formed in 1898. This was sold to Wellington Regional Council in 1947 and incorporated into the city’s passenger transport operations. 

Many people think that the cable car is purely for tourist purposes, but in actual fact the cable car is used by thousands of locals on a daily basis. Connecting one of the most populous suburbs to the CBD with Victoria University of Wellington one of the stops along the way, it is frequented by workers, students, and tourists alike, and is just a regular part of Wellingtonians public transport system.

Timetables & fares

The cable car runs on a regular basis, with cars leaving every 10 minutes from both the top and bottom of the cable car between the hours of 7:30am-8pm Monday-Friday, 8:30am-8pm Saturday, and 8:30am-7pm on Sundays and public holidays during winter. 

There are a range of different fare options available depending on your needs and frequency of use, with a variety of different multi-trip, student, adult, and child prices available.

For those who are only catching the cable car once, an adult fare is $9 return and $5 one-way, with a child fare $4.50 return and $2.50 one-way, as well as family passes. Check out the prices here for more information.

Top tip: the timetable changes during the seasons to accommodate the amount of people using the cable car, so make sure you check the right timetable.

Transport to the cable car

If you’re catching the cable car from the bottom end of Lambton Quay, you may struggle to find a car in the surrounding streets (especially during the business hours of Monday-Friday). Car parks are limited within the CBD, and the cost of parking will make your eyes water.

The easiest way to get there from your accommodation if you’re staying out of the city is to catch a public bus that goes through the CBD via Lambton Quay (nearly all public buses go via this street), and get off at the closest bus stop to the cable car.

If you’re catching the cable car from the top, you may be able to find parking on the surrounding streets or within the nearby car park, but again, be prepared to pay.

Related Articles