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Ferries and travel between the North and South Islands

Being an island country, ferries are an important part of our transport infrastructure. Here’s some info on the main services.

One of the most important routes in New Zealand is undoubtedly across the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands. There are two companies operating ferries between Wellington and Picton. The InterIslander is the largest operator with three large ferries that connect with train services between Auckland and Wellington, and Picton and Christchurch.

A smaller company called Bluebridge also operates a large ferry across the same route.

Interislander Ferry, Cook Straight

All InterIslander ferries take vehicles, however please note that most rental car companies do not allow their vehicles to be taken on board. You must return your rental car at one end and pick up a new car at the other end.

The sailing takes just over three hours, one hour consisting of a beautifully scenic cruise through the Marlborough Sounds. Both companies offer cafe facilities and WiFi on board, among other services. InterIslander also have a premium lounge offering a more comfortable cabin with satellite TV, free food, alcohol and no kids! This must be booked in advance, so be sure to enquire with your Pure Journeys consultant.


There are many commuter ferry services throughout Auckland. Fullers operate ferries to Devonport, Rangitoto and Waiheke. Most boats depart from central Auckland, from the ferry terminal at the bottom of Queen Street. Fullers also operates a vehicle ferry to Waiheke.

Stewart Island

Small passenger only ferries operate between Bluff and Stewart Island at the bottom of New Zealand. Rental cars are available on the island with flights also available to the island from Invercargill.


There are no ferry services between New Zealand and Australia, or any other country for that matter!