The crimson red cable car running uphill from Lambton Quay to Kelburn has been one of the most iconic sights in Wellington for over a century. Inching its way some 600 metres from the CBD's bustling commercial district, the cable car emerges at the peak of the Wellington Botanic Gardens, allowing visitors to meander downhill at their leisure and, quite literally, stop and smell the roses along the way.
More than simply an iconic Wellington sight, the Cable Car is still a preferred mode of transport for many residents dwelling in the city's picturesque upper reaches. When it's not busy delighting visitors with its nostalgic appeal and panoramic outlooks, the cable car still shuttles commuters on their daily trips to and from the city, stopping at Clifton Terrace, Talavera Terrace and Salamanca Road / Victoria University. The Wellington Cable Car runs approximately every 10 minutes from morning until evening, with one way and return fares available.
At the summit, cast your gaze out across Windy Welly's harbour to Hutt Valley, Eastbourne and Mount Victoria from the scenic Kelburn Lookout. While you're there, stop in at the free Cable Car Museum to see two of the original cars and discover the magic that has kept the tracks running smoothly for all these years. The Carter Observatory and Planetarium are conveniently just a few minutes' walk from the Kelburn terminus too – get an insight into mysterious Maori cosmology, take a virtual journey through the galaxy under the dome or even adopt your own star!
A charming matching-red shuttle bus outside the Cable Car Museum ferries visitors to the Lady Norwood Rose Garden, while another shuttle is ready to whisk you away to the eco-sanctuary that is Zealandia. Many visitors choose to only travel uphill on the cable car and explore the Botanic Gardens walking trails that wind their way back to the CBD. The main downhill walk allows you access to the garden playground and serene duck pond, while the track in the garden's west passes the Hiroshima Nagasaki Peace Flame and several eye-catching art installations.