06 Dec 2019

Cook Strait Ferries


If you’re planning on seeing New Zealand’s North and South Islands during your holiday with Wilderness, you’re in for a treat. You’ll get to take your campervan across Cook Strait, which separates the two islands, and is regarded as one of the most beautiful ferry crossings in the world.

Cook Strait was named after English explorer Captain James Cook, who was the first European to map New Zealand in the late 18th century. With spectacular scenery, sea life to spot and comfortable ferries to relax on, your Cook Strait crossing will be a memorable part of your time in New Zealand.


Crossing the Strait

Crossing Cook Strait with a vehicle on the Interislander ferry is easy, and means you can head straight to your next destination on the other side without any fuss.

The sailing runs between Wellington (at the bottom of the North Island) and Picton (in the Marlborough Sounds at the top of the South Island) and takes 3-3½ hours. There are several sailings each day in both directions.


Book ahead and stay flexible

Make life easy and let us take care of booking the ferry for you. Wilderness is an agent for Interislander, so you can purchase fully-flexible fares through us. If your itinerary changes while you’re on the road, your tickets can be changed at no extra cost up to 24 hours before you’re booked to sail (subject to availability when you re-book).

You’ll find some useful information here about crossing Cook Strait with a vehicle.


On board the ferries

The Cook Strait ferries offer TV lounges, cafés, bars, and even playgrounds. There are viewing decks to watch the stunning scenery as it passes and you might even see dolphins and other sea life on the trip.


Each of the three ships also features a Plus Lounge (for those aged 18 and over), offering the most comfortable and relaxing way to cross the Cook Strait. Your pass to the Plus Lounge includes:

  • Guaranteed seat
  • Sofas/armchairs
  • Magazines
  • Blankets
  • Hot buffet
  • Cold platters
  • Sweets & cheeses
  • Tea & coffee
  • Fruit juices
  • Wine & beer

You can add a ‘Plus Lounge’ Pass when you book your tickets with us, or online later through the My Booking page.


Useful things to know about travelling with Interislander

  • Tickets can be amended free of charge up to 24 hours prior to sailing, subject to availability.
  • All amendments and cancellations made 24 hrs prior to scheduled departure are free of charge
  • All cancellations made after the scheduled departure date and time are non-refundable
  • All no-shows are non-refundable
  • All amendments are subject to availability
  • Interislander schedules are subject to change.* Check the Arrivals and Departures Board for the most up-to-date information.
  • Interislander reserves the right to inspect any vehicle, baggage or other property.
  • Smoking onboard or at Interislander ferry terminals is not permitted except in designated outdoor areas.

*See the full terms and conditions of travel on the Interislander Cook Strait ferry service here