Cook Strait Crossing

Wellington and Picton
Wellington, Wellington
The North and South Islands are connected by a three hour ferry service between Picton and Wellington, currently serviced by two firms, the Bluebridge and Interislander. Most of New Zealand's interisland cargo and passengers use these roll on-roll off services.
Interestingly the port of Picton is on the same latitude as Wellington with the journey divided into three clear legs, the most lengthy being from Picton up the Queen Charlotte Sound, the second part a short and often rough bolt across the Cook Strait and around the dangerous Barrett Reef, completed by the journey into Wellington Harbour and Port.
Traditionally ferries connected Wellington with the port of Lyttleton, Canterbury and Port Chalmers, Otago, with Picton taking over as chosen destination after improvements to road and rail in the 1960s.
Interislander line currently runs the Arahura (Pathway to Dawn) and Aratere (quick path) which was renovated in 2011. Their largest vessel, Kaitaki (challenger) which was refurbished in 2013, can carry 1600 passengers . In 2015 the Kaiarahi, which was previously chartered as a substitute while the Aratere was out of service, joins the fleet with increased freight capacity after a refit in Singapore.
Competitor Bluebridge, Strait Shipping, also runs three vessels, the Santa Regina, the Straitsman. Santa Regina retires in July to be replaced by the Strait Feronia purchased from Sweden.

Linked below are two crossing films including the award winning 2010 short film DayTrip about a Mongrel Mob (gang) member taking a trip from Wellington to Picton is an offbeat take on the classic journey.


Scenic Route
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Note: Location is approximate.


  •  The Interislander in Cook Strait
    The Interislander in Cook Strait
  • Cook Strait Crossing
    Cook Strait Crossing
  • Interislander and Cargo Ship heading to Port Wellington
    Interislander and Cargo Ship heading to Port Wellington
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