Cable Car Museum
This free museum tells the story of Wellington’s cable car since its beginnings at the turn of the 20th century.
At the Cable Car Museum, watch motors, wheels and gears whirr into action as you learn about the development of Wellington’s cable car system. The Cable Car Museum is inside the winding house that was once the control center for the cable cars. Here, a steam engine used to power the cable winding system that hauled the cars along the track.
As soon as you walk through the entrance you’ll see a red cable car in the Upper Gallery. It has been restored to its 1970s condition. That’s exactly how it would have appeared before the steam-powered system was retired in favor of today’s electrical process. Climb aboard and sit on the outside seats and imagine how people used to kick against tunnel walls as the car moved down the line.
In the museum’s cinema, watch three short films that focus on New Zealand’s trams, and private and public cable cars around Wellington. View photos and information panels that cover some of the cable car system’s history.
Head down the stairs to the lower floor and look at the fully restored winding gear with its huge wheels and levers. Although no longer used for the cable cars, you can see the machinery in action.
While you are on the lower floor go over to the museum’s other cable car. It has been restored to its original 1905 condition. In order to keep the cable car in a good state of preservation, visitors are not permitted to climb inside.
The Cable Car Museum is situated at the top of Wellington Botanic Garden, next to the lookout at Kelburn. The cable cars run every 10 minutes from Lambton Quay in the city center. If you are planning to drive, there is paid street parking nearby.
The museum is open every day except Christmas Day. Entry is free.