Aratere in Marlborough Sounds


Interislander provides a convenient, regular link for foot and vehicle passengers between Wellington in the North Island, and Picton in the South Island. Travel with Interislander and experience a most spectacular three-hour cruise. Take a stroll on the decks for the best views, have a meal or even see the latest movie releases. Taking your vehicle on board Interislander’s services is easy, convenient and saves you time - just drive on and off. Free WiFi is now included on Interislander services.

Premium Plus

Available on all three ships, Premium Plus is the most comfortable way to cross the Cook Strait.

An upgrade into the lounge includes:

  • Hot meals and snacks
  • A range of wine and beer
  • Coffee, tea, juices and soft drinks
  • Current magazines and newspapers
  • Comfortable lounge style seating
  • Restricted to ages 18+yrs

The Ships

Interislander operates three passenger ferries:  Aratere, Kaitaki and Kaiarahi. Each offers a safe, comfortable and affordable journey between the North and South Islands of New Zealand.

Kaitaki is a Māori word meaning "challenger". With the capacity to carry up to 1600 passengers, it is both the largest ship in Interislander's fleet and the largest ferry operating in New Zealand waters. Kaitaki offers a unique tourism and travel experience.

Kaitaki provides an array of options designed to enhance your journey across the Cook Strait.  From the many observation decks, enjoy the magical scenery of the Marlborough Sounds and Wellington's natural harbour.  Or, sample local cuisine, coffee and wines, from the many food and beverage outlets.

For children, Kaitaki offers nurseries and the largest 2 storey play area.  And from time to time during school holidays and peak seasons you may even spot magicians and clowns as part of your onboard entertainment.

Aratere is a Māori word meaning "quick path". As one of the most modern, high-tech vessels operating in New Zealand waters, not only does Aratere provide travellers with a "quick path-way" across Cook Strait, but also a comfortable, entertaining, safe and scenic cruise, through some of New Zealand's most impressive landscapes.

This ship provides top quality facilities to ensure a memorable cruise. Including a food court, bar, Wi-Fi internet, cinema and Aratere Plus Lounge, the extensive onboard facilities mean there is plenty for everyone to do on their journey through the Marlborough Sounds.  So, whether entertaining the children, or watching the spectacular scenery pass by, your journey on the Aratere will be a memorable part of your holiday.

Kaiarahi is a Māori word meaning ‘leadership’ or ‘to lead’ and its metaphorical meaning is ‘guardian’ or ‘to guide.’ In this way, the name characterises the dolphin, Pelorus Jack, who graces the Interislander logo.  For 20 years, this inquisitive dolphin "guided" ships through the waters of Cook Strait and the Marlborough Sounds. Kaiarahi’s name was selected by local iwi and KiwiRail’s Maori staff network, Te Kupenga Mahi, from a shortlist of competition entries.

In 2014, she underwent a dramatic transformation and was extensively refitted to meet Interislander's requirements. Kaiarahi’s upgrades included improved onboard amenities, new passenger lounges, food court, play area, bar, external stabilisers (to ensure a smoother ride), engine upgrades, new navigation equipment and new gangway access.

Onboard Services

Interislander offers a variety of onboard facilities to ensure a memorable, safe and enjoyable journey.

Kaitaki Bands: Interislander is proud to support New Zealand bands and musicians by allowing them to "sing for their supper".  To date, over 250 local bands have paid for their passage on Interislander by performing for our passengers. From jazz to rock, the performance schedule is varied and enthusiastically received.

Clowns and Magicians: For children, and the young at heart, Interislander showcases a number of children's entertainers performing on selected sailings during the school holidays. Indeed, our magicians and clowns may be the highlight of your family holiday.

Children's Play Areas: Across all three ships, children enjoy the various play areas. They are a safe and fun way to occupy our smallest passengers for the duration of the sailing. The areas range from an adventure playground on Kaitaki, through to specially designed children's areas.

Video Games: For slighter older children, video games are a popular and engrossing way to occupy the time between boarding and disembarking.

Observation Decks: From the beauty of Wellington's natural harbour to the panorama of the Marlborough Sounds, enjoy the stunning scenery from one of the many observation decks.

Movies: Each ship offers a cinema for your onboard enjoyment.  Enjoy a movie in specially designed and air-conditioned theatres.

If the selection of TVs showing various Sky TV channels doesn't take your fancy, each Interislander ship offers a cinema for your onboard entertainment.  Enjoy a movie in specially designed and air-conditioned theatres.

Movie tickets are sold onboard at the shop/reception, at a cost of $13.50 for adults and $8.50 for children.

Take advantage of our "Movie Deals" - ticket, soft drink and Jaffa chocolates - adults $16.50 and children $11.50

Food & Beverage
The Interislander fleet provides its passengers with a variety of quality food and beverage services.
The cafés, food courts and bars offer a wide range of hot and cold food and beverages, to satisfy all tastes and appetites.

From hot dishes in the foodcourts, and Fair Trade espresso coffees from our award winning baristas, to sushi and local New Zealand wines, we hope you will be spoiled for choice.

Alternatively, you can escape to our bars and view the latest sport on wide screen plasma televisions, while savouring your pick of our extensive range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. The bars also offer a selection of snacks at peak times.

Fresh Food Court (Deck 8)
Cafe Oliveto (Deck 7)
The Karori Rip Bar (Deck 8)
Play Zone Refreshment Counter (Deck 2)

Food Court (Deck7)
Queen Charlotte Lounge Bar and Cafe (Deck 8)

Pennant Café (Deck 4)
Fo'c'sle Lounge Bar (Deck 4)

Free Wi-Fi Internet
Interislander was the first to offer Wi-Fi on Cook Strait, and each vessel offers free onboard Wi-Fi so you can connect to the internet using Wi-Fi enabled laptops, iPads, iPod Touch, smart phones, and many other devices.

Operating a free service at sea can be a bit of a challenge, and while the connection quality is good for most of the journey, there is the occasional 'black spot' and the signal can be interrupted by weather and sea conditions.  We've mounted marine aerials on top of each ship to ensure the best possible coverage.

The service works using cellular data. To ensure that everyone gets their fair share, we have a 100MB limit.  Speeds will vary depending on the number of users. The service can slow significantly during busy sailings.

Insider Tips

It is cheaper for clients to book Premium Plus with Viva! Holidays rather than onboard.
If connecting to the Coastal Pacific service, tell our check-in staff and we will transfer the bags right through.

NZ ferry traveling through the Sounds

Interislander ferry Kaitaki traveling through the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand

NZ ferry traveling through the Sounds

NZ ferry traveling through the Sounds

Interislander ferry Kaitaki traveling through the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand

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Interislander traveling the Cook Strait

Interislander traveling the Cook Strait

Interislander ferry Kaitaki traveling through the Cook Strait, New Zealand.

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Interislander leaving Wellington

Interislander leaving Wellington

Interislander ferry Kaitaki leaving Wellington

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Aratere in Marlborough Sounds