Access from North to South Island

Old Apr 23rd, 2003, 04:35 PM
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Access from North to South Island

I have started reservations for our trip to New Zealand and realize I've probably made a boo boo. I've rented a car at Auckland airport for the 3 weeks and want to know how to get it from the North Island to the South Island. Is there a ferry?
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Old Apr 23rd, 2003, 05:13 PM
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There certainly is a ferry which departs from Wellington and takes about 90 minutes to get to Picton on the South Island. The scenery going through the sounds to Picton is great. On arrival you can choose to take the route along the east coast to Kaikoura or head west to Nelson.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2003, 05:21 PM
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You will most likely need to make arrangements to drop the car off on one island [at the ferry terminal parking area] before boarding the ferry, and then pick up a second car on the other island. We did this in January. It seems the cars are not insured for the trip. There are two types of ferries. The regular one takes a couple hours. The Lynx [maybe called something else?] is about an hour and a half, as I recall. It was a very pleasant trip over for us, but it can be a rough trip, depending on the time of year and weather conditions.

When we did our trip, we started from Aukland as well, and drove to Corumandel, then to Rotoroa, then to Napier, and on to Wellington, which is where you catch the ferry to the South Island. We stayed at a wonderful B&B in Blenheim called Peppertree. The hosts were great, and the place was charming. Whatever you do, and wherever you go there, you'll have a great time. New Zealand is a wonderful, beautiful country. We were also there for about three weeks.
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Old Apr 24th, 2003, 02:27 AM
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I agree with the last post that you should leave the car in Wellington and either take the ferry as passsengers or fly and pick up a car again in the South Island. It is a waste of money to take a rental car on the inter-island ferry. I'm not sure if the Lynx is running at the moment, but it is quicker than the roll on roll off ferry.Contact your rental company and see if they can arrange this for you or use one company in the north island and another in the south, won't make much difference.
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Old Apr 24th, 2003, 02:27 AM
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Some correction to the 2 previous answers:
1. The ferry trip takes close to 4 hours not 1.5!
2. True some rental companies make you leave the rented car in the North Island and pick another one in the South. We used Maui Car Rentals and could drive the car on the ferry and continue with the same car in the South. This was very convenient.
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Old Apr 24th, 2003, 01:29 PM
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Keep in mind that you can also fly via Soundsair from Wellington to Picton and return. The flight takes about 20 minutes.
John
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Old Apr 24th, 2003, 03:17 PM
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Eri
We were not talking about companies making you leave the car in the north island, they would only do that if they have no branches in the south island. What we are inferring is that it is a waste of money to pay for the car on the ferry. It is quite expensive to take a car and even more for a camper van across Cook Strait.
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Old Apr 24th, 2003, 03:27 PM
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HI, We did this crossing in Jan of this year. We took the Strait Ferry, a cargo ship that allows a certain amount of regular traffic on it. This is much cheaper than the Lynx or the Interislander. We took our car and it does save the hassle of getting another one on the other side. The trip did take about 4 hours but it is just beautiful and goes by all too soon. Yes it can be rough but I wouldn't want to miss it for the world. I have a 8 page trip report if you are interested. Wendy
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Old Apr 24th, 2003, 07:09 PM
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Thank you for all your replies. I forgot to mention that the car rental contract stipulates returning the car at Auckland airport. So I would hate to be paying rental on a car parked in a lot on the North Island and paying for a second rental on the South Island.
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Old Apr 24th, 2003, 10:03 PM
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If that be the case then I would scrap that contract and find a more flexible option. There are plenty of rental car companies that will be able to give you both options, anyway, there will always be a car available.
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Old Apr 25th, 2003, 06:06 PM
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A couple of years ago when I did this trip, after much research I found it would be cheaper to turn in my car in Wellington after doing the north island, flying to Christchurch and getting a second car in the south island. In addition, the ferry scared me. I talked to a number of people who got stranded when the ferry was grounded, which seems to be a common occurrence. The flight from Wellington to Christchurch was cheap!
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Old Apr 25th, 2003, 06:43 PM
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Patrick
Where on earth did you get that information from?
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Old May 3rd, 2003, 04:32 AM
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Gee there's some wierd and wacky info out there. Patrick - the only time a ferry got grounded was in 1968. Maybe you meant delayed or cancelled. And that does happen from time to time. Cook Strait in a southerly gale is a wild stretch of water. So they just don't sail out there under those conditions.

There are two ferry companies, Interisland Line and Strait Shipping. Strait Shipping is much cheaper at $110 for the car, $40 for pax (and on some sailings that includes a meal).

The hire companies that avoid the ferry crossing cost are generally more expensive per day than companies that do not have that option. The economics depend on the length of the hire - and 21 days is often about the break-even point. The other consideration is, as one of the other posters noted, that it is a lot more convenient to just drive on, lock up and head up to the bar/cafe/restaurant instead of having to lug all your (current) worldly goods and chattels.

Do the trip during the day - the views are stunning.

Get more info at

http://visitnz.co.nz/cookstra.htm
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Old May 3rd, 2003, 07:05 AM
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David. I tried the web site you provided but it doesn't come up. I will print your answer and ask around in NZ. Thanks for all the help.
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