It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Mostly it was awesome, and the “worst” was my own fault. Remember my post on Wellington? Well, I took advantage of the nightlife scene, had a little too much fun, and a hangover combined with an 8:45am sailing wasn’t ideal. I tried to blame it on seasickness, but who was I kidding. Anyways…this is probably a more appropriate quote:
It’s about the journey, not the destination.
New Zealand is the perfect place for road trips, but you can’t exactly drive from one island to the other. In come the Interislander Ferry. There are multiple ferries everyday between Wellington and Picton, and it’s a great way to get from the North Island to the South Island or vice versa – at least for tourists. It takes 3-3.5 hours, and all of it is b-e-a-utiful. In fact, the ferry across is considered a “must-do” in and of itself. I can see why. And, you can even take your car on it…
Both the Bluebridge and the Interislander sail the Cook Strait a few times a day, and we went for Interislander because it’s a bit bigger. Bad weather had caused some cancellations in the previous days, and we had heard Interislander was more likely to run in not so great conditions – plus, I was hoping for smooth(er) sailing with a big(ger) ferry.
Although it was a little rough right after we exited Wellington Harbor, it was a relatively smooth journey. Three hours goes by pretty fast on the Interislander Ferry. You can enjoy a hot breakfast right as you board (at least for the early morning sailings), or get other snacks from the two cafés on the ferry, Local Heroes or Ocean View Eatery. If you feel like watching a movie, they have a theater. Or, you can do what I did, and just enjoy the views and slowly sip on water. The views are spectacular.
They have plenty of comfortable seating areas, tables, and a great outer deck for checking out the Marlborough Sounds. You can walk around the two sides and back of the ship. If you don’t feel like venturing outdoors, the huge windows allow you to soak it all in from the comfort of your seat. They even have outlets onboard, which I always get pretty excited about [and WiFi, but you can survive 3 hours without $4 worth of 40MB, especially with these views —>]
Only in New Zealand is the journey just as great as the destination, and three hours on the Interislander sure was memorable (including the first hour of hangover.) Learn from my mistakes. Sailing the gorgeous blue-green waters of the Cook Strait and Marlborough Sounds is the perfect way to help you explore both the North and South Islands, and it’s nice to take a break from driving every once in a while 🙂
They have three different fare types:
- Easy Change (can be purchased outside of NZ or Australia and allows you to cancel your trip right up until check-in)
- Saver Change (can be purchased outside of NZ or Australia, but there’s a 50% cancellation fee)
- Web Saver (cheapest, can only be purchased in NZ or Australia and is nonrefundable)
We booked our tickets while in NZ so we did the Web Saver for $55NZD one way and did not bring a vehicle. Saver Change is typically around $65, while Easy Change is $75. If bringing a vehicle, make sure to double check if your rental company allows you to take your car on the ferry as many do not.
Any other questions? Check out Interislander’s FAQ here or comment below! Sail away, and enjoy the views!