By Air or by Sea, which way should you cross Cook Strait?

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    South to north, north to south, crossing the Cook Strait can be as easy as stepping onto the New Zealand ferry and watching the white boats bobbing in Wellington harbour, as your strait-faring vessel slowly carries you to all new adventures. To say there’s only one way, however, is inaccurate, as an alternative, open-air journey complements the sparkling water crossing – provided you’re not hoping to take a car, campervan or trailer! Let’s learn a little bit more about these two options.

    The Interislander Ferry

    The Interislander

    The Interislander has been described as relaxing, breathtaking and not-to-be-missed… needless to say, this isn’t just any ferry trip. New Zealand can transform even the most mundane activities into unexpected sight-seeing adventures, and the Cook Strait ferry crossing is no exception to this unspoken national rule – whether you’re a passenger, a driver or on a motorhome holiday extraordinaire, there are ticket options available to suit every travel style.

    How long does it take?

    Although conditions may vary, your time on the ferry averages at around 3.5 hours, travelling 92 kilometres between Wellington and Picton, with five departing times scattered throughout the day and night.

    Is it really that beautiful?

    View Over Picton

    Beautiful? Yes. Iconic? Definitely. From the Wellington docks and the lighthouse perched atop of Pencarrow Head to the glory of Marlborough and Charlotte Sounds, you’ll be spoiled with views of untamed, lush forest, playful water wildlife and much, much more.

    Connections to note…

    The Interislander Ferry serves as a natural conduit from the Northern Explorer scenic rail experience to its southern contemporary, the TranzAlpine and Coastal Pacific train.

    Do solo travellers, seniors, students, kids, adults, campervan drivers or car drivers and horse trailers have different rates?

    Yes! There are a few booking options available. To get the best price and package for your needs, speak to one of our consultants before taking off on your holiday.

    Sounds Air

    Sounds Air

    Provided you’re travelling car-free, Sounds Air may be the strait crossing you’ve been dreaming of, trading the sea-spray and gentle winds for a view above the clouds. Operating out of Picton, Sounds Air have made 150,000 Cook Strait crossings, from Wellington to Picton, Picton to Wellington and a range of other routes to boot!

    The planes…

    You’ll be delivered to your destination by an experienced pilot, arriving in either a Cessna Caravan or a Pilatus PC12. These are single turbine aircraft, known for both safety and comfort in aero-enthusiast circles.

    How long does it take to get from Wellington to Picton, or Picton to Wellington?

    25 minutes! Check in, board, sit back and relax – New Zealand will unfurl below you, lending itself to hundreds of happy snaps from the air. The best bit? You’ll arrive long before the Interislander ferry crowds!

    What about baggage?

    Each traveller is allocated a respectable 20kg – additional charges apply for anything over the limit, with specific pieces attracting pre-determined prices.

    Explore both islands on a single holiday. Reach out today and we’ll do the hard work for you, from crossing Cook Strait to organising what to do and see on the other side. Speak to a Kirra Tours specialist today!

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    Kirra Crew

    Kirra Crew

    We have been creating memorable New Zealand experiences since 1968. Our passion for this country is displayed through our unique itineraries. And we love to blog about exploring New Zealand and the many things to do & see here. Check out our articles and experience New Zealand your way.
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