Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is it called a Cable Car?
The term "cable car" was really a misnomer, as the tramway was technically a funicular worked on the counterbalance principle. But the trams retained and used the true cable tram grippers and brakes, hence the term "cable car" was used and have retained its name since it first opened in 1902.

2. What type of Cable Car is it?
Wellington Cable Car

The Cable Car is a funicular railway rising 120 metres over a length of 612 metres with the ride taking only five minutes. The line rises at a constant grade of 1 in 5 (18%), through three tunnels and over three bridges. It look similar to the Hong Kong Peak Tram. Many visitors ride the Cable Car but it’s use is not simply confined to tourist, as many Kelburn residents and University students travel on the cars on a daily basis. 
Not aerial 42

The Cable car is NOT:

  • an aerial cable car (Table Mountain, SA)
  • a gondola
  • over-hanging


3. Where can I park my car?
There is no public parking at the Cable Car. The nearest parking buildings are at:

  • Queens Wharf
  • The Terrace for Lambton Quay
  • The Skyline at 1 Upland Road, Kelburn (top of the Cable Car)

There is a coach drop off point on Lambton Quay and a waiting area at Kelburn.

4. Where would you get the best views of the city?
At the top of the Cable Car (Kelburn Terminal) is where you'll find the best panoramic views over the city. Upon arrival at the last station, exit to the right-hand side where you'll find the indoor viewing platform with a telescope, just make sure to bring some coins for this! On a clear day, you can see Sommes Island in the middle of the ocean and across to Mount Victoria, and even across to the Lower Hutt residential area.

Check out a virtual tour of the top of the Cable Car:
Wellington Cable Car (Kelburn lookout) - Google Maps

5. How much time should I spend at the Cable Car?
How much time you spend at the Cable Car will largely depend on how long you spend at the summit and surrounding attractions. We would recommend allocating at least 20 minutes for a return trip on the Cable Car and then allocate extra time for a visit to the Cable Car Museum and walk around the Botanic Garden.

6. How do we get to the Cable Car? And can we walk?
The Cable Car is located at 280 Lambton Quay, Wellington. The entrance is situated in a lane between Flight Centre and Countdown Supermarket. Look out for the street sign on Lambton Quay.

Street view of Lane entrance  Entrance Sign

For Cruise Ship Passengers: A regular shuttle service runs from the cruise terminal to the city at a cost of approximately NZ$10. The Cable Car is just a two minute walk from the Brandon Street shuttle stop.
Alternatively you can walk from the cruise terminal - this takes about 25 minutes. For the first 10 minutes the walkway is between a busy road and commercial port operations, however, after this the route take you along the picturesque waterfront to Queens Wharf. From there, turn left and cross over to Customhouse Quay and walk along Grey Street. The Cable Car is at the end of Grey Street on Lambton Quay (see map). There will also be Wellington volunteers (they will be wearing yellow jackets) placed around the city to help upon your arrival. They are very knowledgeable!

7. Do you have to queue for the Cable Car? When is it the busiest?
When a cruise ship is in port all day, the Cable Car is particularly busy between 9:30am and midday, however the queues often look worse than they are. There are two cable cars and they can each accommodate up to 70 people. With cars running every 7 minutes the queues tend to move quickly. When full, the terminal only accommodates two car loads and Cable Car Lane a further car load, so maximum wait times from the ticket booth are 15 minutes and 20 to 30 minutes from the end of the Cable Car Lane at Lambton Quay.

8. Can I use my Snapper Card on the Cable Car?
The Wellington Cable Car has simplified the fare policy, relative to your concession and independent of your direction. If your journey begins or ends at the Lambton Quay terminal gates you will be able to pay with your Snapper(+) card. By paying with Snapper you will save more than 10% on an adult fare compared to paying with cash or Eftpos.

9. Can I use a bus pass on the Cable Car?
The Cable Car is a stand alone transport operation and no bus tickets are accepted for travel.

10. Do you have Senior Fares?
We do not have senior fares. We are part of the passenger transport reimbursement scheme under the New Zealand Government SuperGold Card concession, however this is only applicable to NZ SuperGold Card holders. There is currently no reciprocal arrangement with any other country.

11. Can I take my dog onto the Cable Car?
With the exception of disability assist dogs, dogs are not allowed to travel in the Cable Car due to health and safety reasons.

12. Can I take on a pram/mobility scooter/wheelchair on the Cable Car?
Yes, the Cable Car’s entrant/exit area have a wide gate suitable for standard prams/mobility scooter/wheelchairs. There are ramps installed at all stations for easy access.  Users should access the cable cars via the upper doors. Those travelling to Talavera Station should only use car 2.

13. How often does the Cable Car run?
The cars run every 10 minutes from the hour. During the weekday, it runs at 7:00, 7:10, 7:20, 7:30....until 10pm at night.

Got a question for us? Visit our Contact Us page,  post on our Facebook wall, email us on or give us a call on +64 4 472 2199.

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Contact us
+64 4 472 2199
Cable Car Lane
280 Lambton Quay