To travel between the North Island and the South Island, take Tranz Scenic's Interislander ferry or the Bluebridge ferry between Wellington and Picton. Both ferries carry cars. They also connect with Tranz Scenic's trains, and a free shuttle is available between the railway station and ferry terminal in both Wellington and Picton. The Interislander travels four to five times a day; Bluebridge, twice daily. Standard one-way fare can be as much as NZ$70, but there are off-peak deals to be had for as low as NZ$39. The fare for a medium-size sedan costs around NZ$200. Be sure to ask about specials, including ferry-train package deals through Tranz Scenic, when you book.
Schedules are available at train stations and visitor-information centers around the country. Most will arrange Interislander ferry bookings. You can also check schedules and fares and book online via the Interislander Web site. Some fares allow you to make schedule changes up to the last minute and guarantee a full refund if you cancel prior to check-in. Discount fares can be booked once in New Zealand; these have some restrictions. No matter how you go about it, it's a good idea to reserve in advance, especially during holiday periods.
Bluebridge (0800/844–844 toll-free in New Zealand. www.bluebridge.co.nz.)
Tranz Scenic Interislander (04/498–3302 in U.S.; 0800/802–802 toll-free in New Zealand. www.interislander.co.nz.)
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