Travel and Culture

Cruising on the Interislander

Are you thinking about crossing the Cook Strait as you do a bit of local travel? We recently crossed the Cook Strait during alert level 2 and found the experience easy, fun and surprisingly relaxing. (And check out the photo gallery at the bottom of the article).

There are a couple of options to cross the Cook Strait including the Interislander and Bluebridge. While we have travelled on both, we haven’t been on the Bluebridge for a number of years so today we are writing about the Interislander.

First beginning crossings in 1962, we’ve travelled 58 years later in 2020 on the back of an international pandemic. What could go wrong? Nothing. The staff were helpful and the tables were kept well apart from each other. Passengers were generally respectful of each other too.

The brilliant thing with travelling on the Interislander is you can bring your vehicle with you which is what we did. This is a bonus as you can bring more things with you and not have the hassle of hiring a rental vehicle at your destination.

Waiting in line for the ferry was fine, there are bathrooms in both Picton and Wellington so if you get there nice and early, you can still use the restroom if needed. In Picton, there is also a small café for refreshments (in late December 2019 at least).

Once you’re parked you can head up to the boat to find a seat and get something to eat. There are some great options and delicious coffees. While slightly overpriced, this is to be expected on a ferry ride. It looked like they had some alcohol options too.

Once you’re in the Marlborough sounds, there are beautiful views and much calmer sailings. When we travelled in December 2019, the weather was warm and the boat was very full. There was also a children’s entertainer doing balloon animals and it was a little more difficult to find a seat.

Travelling in May 2020 was a much different experience. People we reserved and generally allowed each other space. A little nervous after Covid lockdown which I am sure we can all understand!

There is access for people who need a little extra space and there is even a private area for truck drivers so they can have a quiet time to rest before they set off on yet another long journey.

The sailing is around 3.5 hours and there are plenty of views, food, bathrooms and tables and chairs. Travelling on the Interislander is a journey in itself. Take the time to enjoy this ferry ride and make a day of it in either Picton or Wellington.

You’ll love the views and the time out of the car. Enjoy.

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