Interislander - NZ Travel



Interislander is the New Zealand ferry service which crosses the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand.  The 92 km, three hour journey between Wellington and Picton is one of New Zealand's most iconic tourist experiences, and one of the most spectacular cruises in the world.

Interislander operates three ships to carry both passengers and their vehicles: Arahura, Aratere and Kaitaki. All our ships offer a safe, comfortable and affordable journey, as well as a complete range of onboard services. Offering up to 11 sailings a day, passengers also have the convenience of a wide choice of travel times. Your trip across the Cook Strait will be both enjoyable and unforgettable.


Interislander Map

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Help Notes


The Ships


Kaitaki is a Māori word meaning "challenger". With the capacity to carry up to 1600 passengers, it is both the largest ship in Interislander's fleet and the largest ferry operating in New Zealand waters. Kaitaki offers a unique tourism and travel experience.

Kaitaki provides an array of options designed to enhance your journey across the Cook Strait.  From the many observation decks, enjoy the magical scenery of the Marlborough Sounds and Wellington's natural harbour.  Or, sample local cuisine, coffee and wines, from the many food and beverage outlets.

For children, Kaitaki offers nurseries, play areas and, during school holidays and peak seasons, even magicians and clowns as part of your on-board entertainment.



Arahura is a Māori word meaning "pathway to dawn". The Arahura River on the South Island's West Coast is the country's main source of New Zealand jade (also known as New Zealand greenstone or pounamu). So precious was greenstone to Maori that they called the South Island "Te Wai Pounamu" - the place of the greenstone. Arahura can carry up to 550 passengers and has been sailing across the Cook Strait since 1984.

With a bar and food court, Arahura offers extensive food and beverage facilities designed to suit all tastes.

The onboard facilities are equally comprehensive.  Outside observation decks, lounges, Wi-Fi Internet and a cinema, will make your journey across the Cook Strait a memorable part of your holiday.



Aratere is a Māori word meaning "quick path". As one of the most modern, high-tech vessels operating in New Zealand waters, not only does Aratere provide travellers with a "quick path-way" across Cook Strait, but also a comfortable, entertaining, safe and scenic cruise, through some of New Zealand's most impressive landscapes.

This ship provides top quality facilities to ensure a memorable cruise. Including a food court, bar, Wi-Fi internet, cinema and Club Class Lounge, the extensive on-board facilities mean there is plenty for everyone to do on their journey through the Marlborough Sounds.  So, whether entertaining the children, or watching the spectacular scenery pass by, your journey on the Aratere will be a memorable part of your holiday.


Onboard Services

Interislander offers a variety of onboard facilities to ensure a memorable, safe and enjoyable journey.

Comfortable seating is provided for everyone, even during the busiest Christmas and Easter sailings. Or, enjoy the comfort and privacy of the Kaitaki Plus and Club Class Lounges (additional fee applies - must be added at time of booking).

Current release movies are screened in a state-of-the-art cinema.

Onboard shops make available a selection of newspapers, gifts, and other holiday items, such as films and postcards.

The ships also offer a wide range of food and beverages, to satisfy the most discerning appetite.  From Interislander's specially designed pie, through to an impressive selection of New Zealand wines, be tempted by one of the many available options.

Onboard entertainment is also varied, for the amusement of young and old. Clowns and magicians perform for children during the busy summer months, while many New Zealand bands "play for their supper", proudly supported by Interislander.


Kaitaiki Plus

Kaitaki Plus offers the most comfortable and luxurious way to travel between the North and South Islands of New Zealand.

Your Kaitaki Plus ticket will give you access to an exclusive, premium, onboard lounge, providing:

  • Comfortable seating
  • Free Internet access
  • Sky TV
  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Complimentary food and beverages. A cooked breakfast is provided on the sailing from Wellington, while a hot lunch is available for departures from Picton.
  • Access restricted to passengers 18 years and over

Checking In

Passengers on foot

If you are travelling as a walk-on passenger, check in at the terminal at least 45 minutes prior to departure time.

Passengers on foot may carry on small items of hand luggage, but are required to check in all large items of luggage.


Passengers with a vehicle

If you are travelling with a vehicle, check in no later than 1 hour prior to departure time.  To minimise delays, please have your reservation details ready to present to check-in staff: ticket, itinerary, voucher, or booking number.


During the sailing, access to the vehicle deck is not permitted.  Please take any items you require during the sailing with you to the passenger areas onboard.
Note - The cost for taking vehicles and campervans on the ferry is deterrmined by the length and time of year.


Hand Baggage

Small hand baggage can be taken on-board our vessels as personal hand luggage. Coin operated lockers are available onboard for the storage of these small items.


Checked-in Baggage

Larger baggage, including backpacks, must be checked in at the Wellington or Picton terminals. Baggage can then be collected from the carousels at the port of arrival.

We will not accept individual baggage items which exceed either 32 kilograms in weight, or 200 linear centimetres (height and length and width) in dimension. For safety reasons, there are no exceptions to the weight restriction.  However, the restriction in dimension is relaxed for sporting equipment (refer below).

The luggage allowance is two (2) items of baggage per person.  Additional baggage items may be carried, subject to availability and on the payment of an additional charge.


Service Delays, Changes or Cancellations

Departure times are not guaranteed and schedules are subject to change. Interislander will not be liable for any loss suffered as a result of a cancellation or a service departing/arriving before or after the scheduled time.


Ferry Terminals

The terminal provides toilets/disability access toilets, Internet kiosks, an accommodation phone board, arcade games, and snack/drink vending machines. Coin operated storage lockers are also available at a cost.


People with Disabilities

Interislander takes very seriously its responsibility for the safety and comfort of all passengers.

Available Ferry Journeys
Wellington - Picton - Wellington


Wellington to Picton Timetable

Effective until 18 September 2011


Depart Wellington       Arrive Picton

8.25am                        11.35am

2.40pm                        5.50pm 


Picton to Wellington Timetable

Effective until 18 September 2011


Depart Picton              Arrive Wellington

10.30am                      1.40pm

1.45pm                        5.15pm

6.40pm                        9.40pm


Wellington to Picton Timetable

Effective from 19 September 2011


Depart Wellington      Arrive Picton

2.25am                        5.35am

8.25am                       11.35am

10.25am*                    1.35pm*

2.05pm                        5.15pm

6.25pm                        9.25pm 


Picton to Wellington Timetable

Effective from 19 September 2011


Depart Picton              Arrive Wellington

6.25am                         9.35am

10.05am                       1.15pm

1.10pm                         4.20pm

2.25pm*                       5.35pm*

6.05pm                         9.15pm

10.25pm                       1.35am


*Peak season only (approximate dates Mid December - January)

All times are subject to change, please check when booking.


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