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Ferry from North to South Island NZ

How to cross the Cook Strait from or to Wellington

interislander bluebridge ferries wellington-pircton new zealand


North Island ⇔ South Island
3h 15 mins
Up to 6 times per day

Getting to North or South Island by ferry

The North and South Islands of New Zealand are separated by the Cook Strait. The Cook Strait is a rough sea, meaning it's difficult (nearly impossible) to build a bridge or tunnel here. Meaning there are two options to cross the Strait: By car or by plane. (Even though there are at the moment business cases being written for even a train ferry.

If you want to cross by car, the ferry is the only option and two options remain:

1. Cross the Cook Strait with BlueBridge.
2. Cross the Cook Strait with Interislander.

First, we start with the map to see the connection, then we move towards a complete comparison between the two. 

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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 from Wellington to Picton or vice versa!

Map with crossings from North to South Island

Connections matching the Train Timetable

The Interislander is preferred by users when you arrive by train, for $2 per passenger you can travel towards the ferry. The train from CHCH also meets the Interislander in a good way.

Interislander vs Bluebridge Ferries

Pricing – If you want to travel from North to South or the other way around as cheaply as possible: Then you must try the comparison website: They use real-time data. and you can also instantly make your booking. 

All ferries on the Cook Strait are old – Both the ferry companies run very old ferries. (Resulting in many problems around the year) Nothing compared to the new and modern ferries in Europe or the new ones connecting Australia with Tasmania. So the difference in terms of ‘which ferry is more luxurious' is very small. 

Tourist focus vs truck/freight focus – Bluebridge, while comfortable, seems to be more focused on truck services whereas the Interislander is more tourist orientated. On Interisland you can also upgrade your ticket for a bit more luxury which is something we would advise.

Bigger Ships – The ships from Interislander are bigger and can handle the waves between Wellington and Picton in the Cook Strait a bit better.  

Either way, the differences are minor. New ships would change his guide instantly and we do hope new changes will arrive in the near future. 

Popular 1 interislander bluebridge ferries wellington-pircton new zealand

Traveling from North to South

Sailing from North to South in the Cook Strait

Sailing from North to South on the Cook Strait

There are many influencers and Youtube tourists who made short reviews about crossing the Cook Strait, we selected two good ones:

Frequently Asked Questions

The ferry companies that sail from North to South are BlueBridge and Interislander.

There is only one good answer here: Compare the prices. 

Yes, you can bring your dog along. 

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1 Comment
  1. Great to know you can catch the bus for $2!

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