Ferry From Wellington To Picton

Our guide to the ferry crossing to the South Island

Ferry Crossing From Wellington To Picton

Both Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferry and The Interislander connect the capital city of Wellington, situated at the foot of the North Island, to the small town of Picton in the South Island.  The foot and vehicle carrying service takes around 3.5 hours  and is often described as "one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world".  The 92 kilometre trip showcases the eye-catching beauty of the Marlborough Sounds, giving passengers regular sightings of whales, dolphins and fur seals. 

The Journey

From the iconic hilly cityscape of Wellington Harbour out beyond to the rugged cliffs above the Wellington Heads, this is a journey of spectacular contrasts. As you sail the short stretch of open water between Wellington Heads and Tory Channel, you'll get opportunties to spot the marine wildllife swimming alongside the ferries. The route through Tory Channel in the Marlborough Sounds is a parade of rolling hills, lushly covered with native New Zealand bush to the water's edge, dotted with the occasional remote holiday home.  As the ferry cruises into Queen Charlotte Sound towards the pretty town of Picton, the landscape is defined by its beautiful beaches, bush walks and great climate.

The Interislander Ferry

Three comfortable ships catering for both foot passengers and cars. Up to 11 sailings a day.  Simply drive on, park up, then sit back and enjoy the ride. Each ship screens a movie during the crossing and offers wi-fi, a shop, cafes, bars, and a children's play area, plus a Kid's Club.  For those staying in and around Wellington and Picton, Interislander also offer day excursions. More Info.
Bluebridge Ferry

Bluebridge makes the Cook Strait crossing up to four times a day with a range of fares to suit your budget. Along with food and drink options, there are family-friendly play areas and free movies plus free WiFi.  Caffe L'affare offers renowned Kiwi coffee. for those with a bigger budget, there is the option of private cabins with en-suite bathroom and hot shower.  More Info.

Your landing point on the South Island and the Marlborough region is the picturesque town of Picton.  Situated on the north eastern corner of the South Island, Marlborough is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the finer things in life.  Blessed with a year-round sunny climate, it's New Zealand's leading wine region, internationally renowned for its Sauvignon Blanc.

Just over 90 minutes drive from Picton is Nelson. Surrounded by mountains on three sides, Nelson's beautiful landscape is also a gateway to three national parks of Abel Tasman, Kahurangi & Nelson Lakes.  Each very different from one another but all offering a heady mixture of spectacular beauty and outdoor adventure. 

Heading further south, the whale watching capital of New Zealand, Kaikoura, is a two hour drive south, while the 'garden city' of Christchurch is a shade over four hours drive.