"The Cook Strait Crossing" New Zealand Transportation Tip by AKtravelers

New Zealand Transportation: 282 reviews and 260 photos

  Catching Sunrise from the ferry
by AKtravelers

If the Cook Strait Ferry weren't the only surface transport link between New Zealand's North and South Islands, it would still exist as a tour boat ride. The crossing was that beautiful. If you have great weather and you're doing the three-hour crossing on one of the two ferry lines, you'll probably be spending most of your time on deck admiring the scenery, just like we did. In fact, it's from the ferry deck that we saw our only penguin on the trip (we think -- it happened fast). We also got to see the leader of the Volvo Around the World Sailing Race (formerly the Whitbread) pull into Wellington Harbor (we think -- how do you tell if they were racers or just out for a morning sail?). And, finally, we saw stupendous views of inlets and mountains rising from the turquoise seas (we're certain of that). Our North to South crossing was perfect.
Our South to North Crossing took place at 6 a.m., so Kevin slept through much of it while Andrea did manage go outside as the sun rose. Once again. our weather was perfect, and the views materialized as the sun rose.
On the other hand, we heard some people trying to make the crossing a week later got stuck in high seas and horrible weather and the trip took eight hours, with several vehicles (and a few appetites I bet) damaged by the violent ship movements.
Which brings up an interesting point. Our rental car company was surprised that we wanted to take our car on the crossing, expecting that -- as most people do -- we would have arranged to drop off one car in Wellington and hire another in Picton. We never even thought to do that, but once we got the fare (after we had committed to the car rental) we knew why. Our trip cost around $500 because we had the vehicle. Apparently, passenger without vehicles pay only about $40 a piece. Well, at least we didn't have to pack up our stuff that was all over the car!

Type: Ship/Boat

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Mar 19, 2006
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