If you’re planning a trip to New Zealand, make sure to include both islands. There’s lots to see and do on the North Island, but for the most stunning views of the country, you really have to hit the South Island too. We might be partial, but the best way to see as much as possible is definitely a roadtrip, and the best way to get from one island to another on a roadtrip is by ferry. Bluebridge Ferries operates between Wellington on the North Island and Picton in the south, and there are several departures daily.
While you could also fly from island to island, you can bring your car on the ferry as well, so you don’t have to switch rentals. More importantly, the views along the way simply can not be beaten. We sailed north to south, leaving Wellington behind for more adventures on the South Island. Checking in with the car was easy, there are clear signs for everything once you get to the harbor and we never even had to get out of the car.
Once you’ve driven your car onto the ferry, you can forget about it for the rest of the trip. The journey takes about 3,5 hours and there’s plenty to do onboard – if you can tear yourself away from the views. There’s a restaurant onboard if you’re looking for a full meal, as well as a cafe for smaller snacks and sweet treats. There are plenty of common areas to lounge at but you can also book a cabin for some privacy or to catch up on sleep. There’s free wifi throughout the ship and movie lounges that play a range of movies, free for passengers to enjoy.
We appreciate everything the Bluebridge Ferries ships have to offer, though as mentioned it might be hard to concentrate on any of the amenities with the scenery around you. Leaving Wellington you get a great view of the city from the sea and on a clear day, you can already see the outline of the South Island. We were not quite that lucky with the weather, but after crossing the open waters of the Cook Strait and entering Queen Charlotte Sound, we would’ve been hard-pressed to leave the outside deck.
As soon as the ship enters the narrow waters of the sound, you are surrounded by lush mountains and it seems like there’s something to look at wherever you turn your head. We spent the rest of our ferry journey taking more pics than we knew what to do with, and before we even knew it, we were already docking in Picton Harbour.
This post was done in collaboration with Bluebridge Ferries but the experiences and opinions are all our own!