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Kaitaki in Picton Harbour

Welcome To Picton

The Picton Terminal is clearly visible from the Picton foreshore. The terminal and can be reached via a pleasant walk around the harbour. Picton is serviced bus and plane from across the South Island. The train is currently out of service. There is a drop-off area and free short-term car park outside the terminal.

Passenger Check-In: the vital information

  • Arrive at least 45 minutes before departure
  • Go to the Picton Terminal building on Auckland Street
  • Have booking confirmation ready (having the document open on your phone will do)
  • Go to check-in counters and exchange booking confirmation for boarding passes
  • Check-in bags at Baggage Counter
    • Carry-on allowance is one small bag and one handbag/laptop bag
  • Wait in departure lounge until boarding is announced
  • Follow terminal staff instructions to gangway to board
Getting to the Picton Terminal...
Short-term parking directions

Driving to Picton terminal

The Short Term parking area is located directly in front of the terminal building. Visitors can park there for a maximum of 30 minutes and it is free of charge.

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Long term parking directions

Long term parking in Picton

Port of Marlborough operate a long term "Pay and Display" parking area on Auckland Street, near to Picton Railway Station. The car park costs $1 per hour or $6 per day. When the long-term car-park is full, the southernmost bay of the short-term car park can be used instead (buy your ticket from the machine in the Long Term Car Park)

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Directions for walking from the Long-term car park to the terminal

From the long term car park it is a 3-4 minute walk down Auckland Street to the terminal (you can see the terminal clearly from the parking space).

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Get directions by bus or train

Getting the train to Picton

Sadly, the Coastal Pacific train is out of service while repairs are made to the railway.

Getting a bus to the Picton Terminal

Inter City run buses from all over the South Island that will drop you immediately outside of the Interislander Terminal in Picton.

Water Taxis

Water taxis operate on the Marlborough Sounds. So if you are staying at one of the many beautiful retreats on the sounds then you can organise a water taxi to come and pick you up and take you to the Picton terminal.

Walking from Picton Town

Walking from Picton town to the terminal

Walking from Picton Town centre is an easy and enjoyable stroll around the harbour. The route is paved and takes around ten minutes. So if you are staying at one of the many hotels and hostels in Picton, then you can just walk to the terminal in a few minutes.

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Picton Terminal

Checking In

Before you can board the ship, you will need to check-in and collect your boarding passes. The Check-In Counters are located on the right-hand side as you enter the terminal building.

Please have your Booking Confirmation ready for the check-in attendants. We are more than happy for you to have your Booking Confirmation open on your phone for presentation if you prefer.

After check-in, please drop your baggage at the Baggage Counter, which is located opposite the Check-In desks(see the Baggage Allowances section below for more information on whether you need to check in your bags).

Buying Tickets

If you need to buy your ticket then you should use the right-hand counter.

Terminal facilities
Picton Stairs

Picton Terminal

Picton has a single terminal building for both arrivals and departures. The check-in desks and arrivals baggage carousels are located downstairs.

Boarding the ships is via the gangways that are located upstairs in the Departure Lounge. There are lifts located to the left of the stairs to get to the first floor departures lounge.

Picton Cafe


The Picton Terminal has a lovely large open café and seating area that overlooks the picturesque harbour. The café serves hot and cold drinks and a good selection of snacks. There is also a balcony area outside that you can stand on and admire the spectacular view.

Kids Play Area

Children's Play Areas

There is plenty of room in the Departures Lounge for kids to explore. There is small video arcade area that kids (and grown-ups) can play in.


The toilets are on the ground floor of the terminal building, towards the rear of the building. There is a large accessible toilet as well.


The terminal is a smoke free environment. However, there is a smoking area outside.

Popping to Picton

If you arrive early enough, you can check-in and then potter around the harbour to Picton. It is less than 10 minutes walk - even for the smallest of feet. On route you will find a children's play area and a large grassed foreshore area - ideal for a summer picnic or a spot of sunbathing.

Picton Town Play Area

If for some strange reason the weather isn't totally charming, then there is also the EcoWorld Aquarium and the Edwin Fox Museum located right next door to the terminal. Both are perfect for whittling away an hour or so. So don't worry about arriving early!


Terminal Escalator
Mobility Cart
Passenger ramp

The terminal has step-free access, internal lifts and accessibility toilets.

Boarding is via a step-free gangway (ramp) and we have a mobility vehicle on hand if you need assistance getting up the ramp

There are short-term parking bays for people with accessibility needs directly outside the Terminal building.

If you need assistance getting in and around the terminal and getting on-board, then it is imperative that you notify us at 48 hours before travel. Failure to do so may mean we are unable to assist and therefore will be unable to let you travel. Please call the terminal on 64 (0)4 815 9628 (6.30am to 6.30pm daily) or advise us when you make your booking. We will then organise for someone to be here to help you when you arrive.

Baggage allowances
Wellington Luggage Carousel
Picton Baggage Counter

Hand Baggage

Each passenger is allowed to take on board one small bag and one handbag/laptop bag. There is a stand in the terminal where you can check if your bag is small enough. Our policy uses identical measurements to those used by airlines.

Checking-in Baggage

Suitcases, backpacks and large bags must be checked in at the baggage counter. You should do this after checking in. The check-in counters are located to the right as you enter the terminal building and the baggage counter is located directly opposite (on the left hand side of the building).

Upon arrival at Wellington, your luggage will be delivered onto the baggage carousel in the Arrivals terminal for you to collect.

Wellington Luggage Carousel
Wellington Baggage Carousel

Baggage Allowance & Charges

Each passenger is allowed two items of luggage with a maximum weight of 32kg's per item and no bigger than 200 linear centremetres (this is calculated by adding the height, width and depth together). For safety reason there are no exceptions to this rule, apart from for sporting equipment (see below).

Additional baggage will be charged at $5 per bag and is subject to availability

Oversize or overweight baggage

Interislander can supply baggage trailers (called noddies) to transport oversize or overweight baggage. The cost of this service is $50 ($30 for Nautical Miles members). However, if the baggage exceeds the size of the trailer, it can not be accepted for travel.

Sporting equipment and bicycles

Sporting equipment, such as surfboards, golf clubs, canoes and bicycles, can be carried on our vessels at an additional cost of $15 per item.

Travelling with pets

Disability assist dogs

Only Disability Assist Dogs may remain in the company of their owner. There is no charge for Disability Assist Dogs.

Travelling with dogs

Aratere Kennels

Kennels can be hired at $15 per kennel. The kennels are various sizes, however they are typically 800w x 800h x 600d. You can place food and water in the onboard kennels to cover the crossing. We also recommend you bring some bedding or a blanket which they are familiar with, as this will help them feel more comfortable and will help them rest.

Always allow time to exercise your dog before boarding.

You will not be able to check on your pet during the journey, so please ensure they are comfortable and have fresh water.

When checking in you are required to leave your pet outside the terminal building. A customer service representatives will then assist you with instructions on how and where to board the vessel. You will be directed to the pet storage area by our marshalling team on-board the ship.

Other animals

Cats, birds and other caged animals may checked-in as baggage. Please ensure your pet is well fed and that the cage or carrier is secure, safe and waterproof. Pets that are being transported are placed on the front of the baggage truck for the duration of the crossing.

Travel & weather tips
Wellington Terminal

Get ready for the Great Outdoors

One of the great pleasures of sailing across the Strait is sitting or standing on one of the viewing decks. Even on a bad day, the Marlborough Sounds, Cook Strait and Wellington Harbour are a picture of dramatic beauty. So make sure you are prepared with the following:

  • Sunscreen: even if its overcast, the New Zealand sun is very strong and can burn you in less than half-an-hour.
  • Jacket/jumper: the weather is often completely different either side of the Strait. It can also be breezy at sea. So remember to take a jacket or jumper with you on-board (you can't go back to your car or checked in baggage to get one).
  • Footwear: please ensure that all members of your party bring footwear.
  • Sunglasses: there's nothing more annoying than leaving your sunglasses behind because its cloudy and then suddenly needing them.
  • Camera: if you like scenery then make sure your camera is fully charged.
  • Phone: if you have friends on Facebook or Instagram who like scenery and/or pictures of you having a blast, then make sure you're phone is fully charged. Also, remember to share with #findtimeInterislander.
  • Sea sickness remedies: you might want to investigate your options for medicinal remedies prior to sailing, although we do sell tablets on-board in the shop.
The weather in the sounds can be changeable!

Worried about the weather?

Typically, strong winds and gales from the north are nothing to worry about will simply make the beautiful scenery a bit more dramatic. The water will remain calm, but our outdoor decks might be closed. However, a strong wind from the south, known as a Southerly, can cause significant swells.

If you want to get a forecast for your journey then it is best use the service instead of a weather forecast. This will tell you the expected wave heights. Upwards of three metres is considered by most non-seafarers as uncomfortable.

Interislander ships are large and feature stabilisers, so we will sail in very uncomfortable weather. However, there are times when we will delay or cancel sailings as it is unsafe to go out there. If we anticipate extreme weather, then we will get in touch and notify you. Your decision to sail on the day lies entirely with you and providing you notify us before Check-In, you are welcome to defer to a later sailing.

Safety on-board
Safety on-board Kaiarahi lifeboat

Your safety aboard

The safety of all passengers and crew is our top priority aboard our ships.

  • Wear shoes at all times: surfaces can be slippery and glass-wear can get knocked over in bad weather.
  • Smoke in designated areas only: each ship has smoking areas outside that are sheltered from the weather. If you can't find one then just ask a member of staff to direct you.
  • Listen for announcements: safety announcements will be made over the PA system, so please ensure you can hear them and pay attention to them. If you are listening to headphones then please ensure you can still hear the announcements
  • Use handrails: in rough weather the motion can be unpredictable. Please use the handrails where provided and take extra care on stairs and when entering spaces with raised door sills to avoid tripping.
  • Take extra care using external doors: the doors to outside passenger areas are very heavy and have high sills beneath them. Please be careful when using them and look for other passengers before letting the swing shut.
  • Supervise children at all times: please make sure you look after your little ones whilst on-board.
  • Combat illness: the middle of the ship is the most comfortable place to be during high swells as it moves the least.
  • First aid: if you are unwell or need first aid assistance then please contact the nearest member of staff.
  • Emergency procedures: in the unlikely event of an emergency you may be required to go to the designated assembly stations (muster station). The signal for this will be seven or more short blasts followed by one long blast on the ships’ whistle or bells. Remain calm and follow the instructions of our crew who are trained to deal with any emergency situation.

Continue Exploring

View Ship Facilities
Travelling on Kaitaki
Travelling on Aratere
Travelling on Kaiarahi
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