When traveling between the North and South Islands of New Zealand I enjoy swimming the Cook Strait, but I understand this is not possible for everyone. For those who prefer to stay dry and travel at a higher rate of speed there is good news. A ferry cleverly called the Interislander makes the round trip journey three times a day.
Our journey begins in New Zealand’s capital, which despite public opinion is not Auckland in the North of the North island, but Wellington in the South of the North island. This could get confusing so have maps at the ready for reference. Those familiar with ferry rides anywhere in the world will meet with no surprises on the Interislander. For those who are ferrying for the first time we shall begin at the gate. Here you will pay for whatever you are bringing on board, be it just yourself, or with a bicycle, a car full of people, or even a truck. They accept everything for a price. A person will run you about $60 and a car $210 for a one way journey. These prices may stagger you a bit, or maybe that is sea sickness setting in. Once you have paid you sit in a giant parking lot queue until boarding time. Then you will drive your vehicle or walk on board, depending on your circumstances. Once parked you just leave your car and walk inside.
Now this is no small fry ferry. This is more like a cruise ship. There is a cafe, cinema, kids play area and more. But being only a three hour journey I skip all this and go out on the deck to enjoy the fabulous water and tree covered islands along the way. Bring a sweater with you as it will be cool on the sea even on a hot day. Watch the skyline of Wellington fade in the distance, enjoy the open ocean, then be stunned by the water color, windsurfers, and beautiful hills as you ride the final channel to your destination, Picton.
Picton is a tiny town on the North of the South Island and a major transport hub. Once you dock you will probably leave straight away. I have no recommendations for Picton as this is exactly what I have always done. As you drive away you will think back that you just got to travel between the islands in comfort and sightsee at the same time. You will finish this thought knowing that the price you paid is more than fair.