South Island trip day 7: a ferry ride back to Wellington

On the morning of 31 December we woke up, packed up and checked out of our hostel. We still had a few hours until the ferry, so we walked around, hang out by the waterfront, and finally made our way to the Bluebridge ferry terminal.




We needed to cross the Cook STrait to get back to Wellington, which took about 4 hours. There are two ferry companies – The Interislander and Bluebrudge. Here is a fascinating aside about Cook Strait from

“Cook Strait can also be one of the world’s roughest stretches of water. It’s part of the westerly wind belt known as the Roaring Forties. As the only gap between the mountainous main islands of the country, the strait acts like a huge wind tunnel. It was the scene of two of New Zealand’s worst maritime catastrophes, the 1909 Penguin disaster and the 1968 sinking of the Wellington–Lyttelton ferry Wahine.

In 1983 the Aratika’s Captain John Mansell was interviewed on a strait crossing:

The strait has a bad reputation because the wind can change so quickly. A southerly gale can blow up a big swell very quickly, and then you will be heading straight into the seas when you leave the sounds. That’s when you have a rough trip. You get this patch of unnatural water called the Karori Rip, where the wind and seas meet the tide head-on. We can even pick it up on radar.

Pick a day when the weather forecaster utters the dreaded words ‘fresh about Cook Strait’, and your cruise may seem more like riding a steel bucking bronco.”


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Inside, the ferry was incredibly comfortable – there was even a dark room where passengers could sleep, a great amount of comfortable chairs, sofas and armchairs, a cafeteria, two bars and two cinemas!

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But as nice as it was inside, we just wanted to see the crossing – so we stayed outside, battling incredibly strong wind

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As we approached Wellington, the wind got even stronger and we actually had to hold on to the rails and each other

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Another Bluebridge ferry going to Picton


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More photos at

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