Cruising into the Marlborough Sounds. © KiwiRail

Take in the spectacular beauty of the Cook Strait crossing


They don’t call this part of the planet ‘The Roaring Forties’ because it’s a sedate little paddle across.

The Cook Strait is renowned as an unpredictable stretch of water, but the ferries here – big, wide, easy-going craft – chart a course on a journey that’s been called one of the most beautiful rides in the world. It’s spectacular.

You ease out of Wellington Harbour, with stunning views of the CBD and those villa-dotted valleys, then make your way across the strait.

It’s only about three hours to Picton and you’ll want to be on deck as you come into the Marlborough Sounds – sedate and absolutely beautiful as inlet after inlet, and secluded beach after secluded beach, slide by.

There’s a good chance you’ll see a dolphin or two, so keep your eyes peeled on this amazing stretch of water.

On the crossing, grab a pie and a pint, watch a movie, put the kids in the playground – have a breather, geezer. These guys do this about 5000 times a year, on any of three boats, Kaiarahi, Aratere and Kaitaki, so just relax. Multiple boats mean there’ll be a crossing that suits your schedule. And because they take both people and cars, you can do the whole drive-on, drive-off thing and be road-bound at the other end before you can say, ‘My, wasn’t that easy, Myrtle.’

Explore more...

More stories like this

Find out more

Get outdoors

Marlborough Sounds: unspoilt wilderness

Marlborough must have been an amazing place to visit in the last Ice Age when a fair chunk of the Southern Ocean was locked up in the Antarctic icebox.  Read the story . . . 

Find out more

Heritage and history

Wellington: the coolest capital

If you want real drama, come here by air when Wellington’s on song. For our beloved capital city is synonymous for most Kiwis with wind. Read the story . . . 

Find out more


Marlborough: From the vines to the sea

As the probable landing place of the first waka ever to visit New Zealand, Marlborough is the home of the very first people ever to travel to this country.   Read the story . . . 

Find out more


Cook Strait crossing: one of the most beautiful in the world

Anyone who has ever done a road trip of New Zealand will have indelible memories of their Cook Strait crossing. Read the story . . .