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Ferry from Australia to New Zealand

Can you get from Australia to New Zealand by ferry and if so: How?

Is there a ferry from Australia to New Zealand?

Before we start answering and unraveling this question, we first have to say that you are not the only one looking for an answer to this question. 

Over 2200 people per month are googling about the possible existence of this route. We hope you enjoy reading what we collected and researched; here are all the answers:

Is there a ferry service running from Australia to New Zealand?

No, there is no ferry service running at the moment. Answers, however, from others who say: “It's 2155 KM from Sydney to Auckland, so a ferry service is impossible,” are wrong. The Alaska Marine Highway System (USA) covers a coastline of 5630 Miles. Meaning long-distance ferry services are possible. 

Is the sea too rough for a ferry connection between Australia and NZ?

No, The Bass Strait between Tasmania and Victoria can be as wild as the Tasman Sea. (That is the sea between Sydney and Auckland) There is even a daily connection on the Bass Strait: The Spirit of Tasmania. (Geelong – Devonport). And that ferry can easily take enormous waves:

Why there are there no ferries active between the countries

There are two major problems.

  • The relatively low cost of air travel and car hire. (Meaning your business case is weak if you want to launch a ferry service between AU and NZ)
  • Australia is not close to New Zealand, meaning a ticket or a car transport would cost about $3000+. You won't get enough bookings, turning this into a bad economic investment to launch.

But is it then impossible to book from AU to NZ?

With a car, it's not possible, since you can't travel with your vehicle, but you can put the car in a container and ship it from Australia to New Zealand. It could be difficult to organize.

However, there are a few websites where you might be able to book these kinds of cargo shipments from Australia to New Zealand:

Southern_Cross

The Maiden Voyage of the Ship the Southern Cross in 1955 was actually from the UK to Australia and New Zealand. However this was not a ferry but a cruise.

Less than Container Load (LCL) Full Container Load (FCL)

  • Brisbane to Lyttelton – 26 days LCL
  • Brisbane to Wellington – 14 days LCL
  • Fremantle to Auckland – 26 days FCL, 17 days LCL
  • Fremantle to Lyttelton – 37 days FCL, 20 days LCL
    Melbourne to Auckland – 34 days FCL, 13 days LCL
    Melbourne to Christchurch – 22 days LCL
    Sydney to Auckland – 37 days FCL, 13 days LCL

Traveling by Boat as a Passenger

As a passenger, it's much easier to reach New Zealand. But you have to hop on a cruise ship and empty your wallet while doing so. It's going to be expensive but there are also many options since most cruises that travel to the South Pacific will also pass on to Australia and New Zealand.

You also need to drop the word ‘ferry' here as these ships are simply ‘cruise ships' connecting the two countries:

A few examples:

Taking a ride with a cargo ship 

It sounds super friendly: tagging along with a cargo ship, paying not much for it, and reaching the other side. However, it's, in 90% of the cases, not an easy thing to ‘take a ride on a cargo ship.' We've seen 100s of sem-negative reviews on these travels. We'll explain why:

  • It's a lot of hassle (on a ferry, you are ticket #99213 on a cargo ship. You are passenger #1, meaning it's not easy to manage.)
  • These trips are, in most cases, quite expensive, you can be lucky, however but it will never be cheap.
  • Covid-19 messed up a lot of these cargo connections.
  • The captain is 100% in control, it sounds like ‘fun,' but not all captains are that nice and passenger friendly.

Was there a connection between Australia and New Zealand in the past?

Also, here we have to say no.

Of course, cruise ships were traveling around the world connecting Australia with New Zealand while entering the Indo-Pacific. But there never was a regular ferry connection. 


And there probably never will be. 

Similar Subjects

Timetable, availability, and compare prices

Our online booking module makes it easy to find and book your desired ferry crossing. All you have to do is enter your departure port, destination, and travel dates. The system will show you the best routes and possible alternatives. You can then choose the ferry that best suits your needs and budget. Have a great trip!

Not that busy between AU and NZ

If you look on Vesselfinder you can easily see that it's not very busy with ships (purple are very small ships and yellow are cargo ships) between Australia and New Zealand. Most ships are traveling between Picton and Wellington.

Not many ships between AU and NZ

FAQ From Australia to New Zealand

Never, though the cruise lines from the past were a bit the same as the ferries we have today. So sometimes people think that in the 1950-1960 ferries were active but these were actually large cruise ships. 

The fastest big ferries go close to 30 knots. This would get you in 9 days from Sydney to Auckland.

It's of course different as you can also leave from Tasmania, but if you want to travel from a large hub: let's say Sydney. It's at least 2000 KM.

Ferry talk: Share your questions and opinions

Especially for this article, we want to discuss the options and what people think about the possibility of a ferry between New Zealand and Australia! Let us know!

6 Comments
  1. The ferry would only be handy if you want to migrate or move and when you want to transfer all your stuff and be on the same boat.

    • Hi Meg,

      Yes that could be one reason for usage, (There are also companies who do this for you) but it won't be enough to get a ferry going between NZ and AU if that's your only target market 🙂

  2. Let's be honest here: There will be never be a regular ferry connecting NZ with AU.

  3. If 2200 people per month are googling about the possible existence of this route, I cant see why they won't put on a few ferries a month.

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