Cruise Cook Strait in Comfort.

Cook Strait ferry crossing

The Cook Strait ferry crossing between Wellington and Picton is known as one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world.

Cook Strait is named after James Cook, the first European commander to sail through. The Maori name is Raukawa or Te Moana-o-Raukawa (“The Sea of Raukawa”). Raukawa may mean “bitter leaves”.

Crossing between islands in NZ, its narrowest point, it is 22 kilometres. It connects the Tasman Sea on the northwest with the South Pacific Ocean on the southeast, and runs next to the capital city, Wellington

Although the Cook Strait is only 24 kilometres wide at its narrowest point, the ferry between the North Island and South Island journey covers approximately 90 kilometres and takes around three hours, depending on the weather. You need to check in one hour before departure and disembarking takes about half an hour as well, adding the journey up to a total of four and a half hours one way.

Cook Strait ferry crossing with a Motorhome

Cook Strait ferry crossingNo matter which of the two Cook Strait ferry companies you use, booking is essential between the 15th of December and the whole of January. Outside these dates, you can book 48/28 hours beforehand, the only chance is you may not be able to sail at your preferred time. 

For both companies, you need the length (Explorer 5.95 m, Seeker 6.80 m) and reserve a Motorhome (not campervan). Whenever they ask for your licence plate, simply state Rental or TBC.

The ferries themselves are all “Drive on and Drive off” vessels. You’ll be expected to drive your vehicle safely on-board, although our friendly staff members are always close-by if you require a hand!

For extra safety, please ensure you turn off LPG tanks, double-check your handbrake is on, put it in gear and lock your vehicle.


The Interislander ferry is the longest running Cook Strait ferry crossing service in New Zealand. Interislander sails between Wellington (North Island) and Picton (South Island). 

Interislander AratereThe Interislander ferry is the longest running Cook Strait ferry service in New Zealand. Interislander sails between Wellington (North Island) and Picton (South Island). Our Interislander ferry is known as one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world and one of New Zealand’s most iconic tourism experiences.

The Interislander is one of the unmissable Great Journeys of New Zealand. It connects to the scenic rail experiences; the Coastal Pacific, which runs from Picton to Christchurch, and the Northern Explorer which journeys through the heart of the North Island.

You can book the Interislander online here, You can receive big savings when you sign up as a Top-10 Club Member first.


Cross Cook Strait on a Bluebridge Ferry and enjoy real Kiwi hospitality. On board, you’ll find a full cafe-style menu. And if you can take your eyes off the views, kick back with free movies and free WiFi 

Bluebridge ChefStrait Shipping beginnings

Jim Barker is the kind of man who sees opportunities not problems. As the founder of Strait Shipping Jim introduced a new shipping service into Cook Strait in 1992. He didn’t do it because he was tempted by a life at sea, but because he needed a competitive, reliable way to shift livestock between the North and South Islands. With escalating prices and frequent disruptions, he saw no way around it – he had to get his own ship.

The decision to launch a passenger service that gave travellers a true Kiwi experience when crossing Cook Strait – and again introduce competition to what was a monopoly market – was another major leap forward.

So, in early 2002, after a long search to find the Santa Regina, Bluebridge was born. The booking process is simple and can be done online here

Scroll to Top