Aboard a ferry sailing across Cook Strait. © Tupungto

Cook Strait: through one of the world’s roughest stretches of water to spectacular beauty and calm


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Blowy enough for ya?! Let’s not beat around the bollard, Cook Strait is one of the roughest and most unpredictable stretches of water on the planet.

They don’t call this part of the planet ‘The Roaring Forties’ because it’s a sedate little paddle across, right? Good, now that we’ve got that out of the way, sit back and relax!

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.’

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