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Kaitaki leaving Wellington

Welcome To Wellington

The Wellington terminal is located less than 2km north of Wellington CBD. As you enter Wellington from the north, you will see signposts for the Interislander terminal just before State Highways 1 & 2 merge. You then leave at the junction where the motorways merge and follow signposts along the Hutt Road.

Vehicle Check-In: the vital information

  • Pack a small bag for the journey (if required)
    • Carry-on allowance is one small bag and one handbag/laptop bag
    • You will not be able to access your vehicle during the journey
  • Arrive at least 1 hour before departure
  • Follow signs for vehicle check-in
  • Have your ticket ready for check-in booth attendant
  • Stop at check-in booth and exchange ticket for boarding passes
  • Follow marshal's instructions to boarding lane and park
  • Wait for marshal's instruction to board
  • Do not use cell phones during boarding
  • Once on board, follow onboard marshal's directions to park
  • Turn off headlights once you have entered the ship, as they may dazzle the marshal's
  • Once parked, ensure your handbrake is fully engaged and your car is in gear (or in park for automatic vehicles)
  • Turn off LPG tanks on campervans.
  • Turn off alarm and anti-tow alarm (if present)
  • Lock your vehicle, ensuring all items are secure from damage or theft
Get directions to vehicle check-in

Driving to Wellington terminal

Driving to Wellington terminal couldn't be easier. Out terminal is located just north of Wellington CBD on State Highway 1 (SH1). If you are coming from the north on either SH1 or SH2, then simply look for the signpost for the Interislander.

As you enter the Wellington Terminal site, you will see sign posts for the Vehicle Check-In, which is beyond the two terminal buildings. Please follow the sign-posts and have your Booking Confirmation ready to give to the Check-In booth attendant in exchange for your Boarding Pass.

Once you have your boarding pass, you can continue to the Boarding Lanes and park according to the Vehicle Marshal's instructions.

Click here to activate map

Boarding information
Kaiarahi at Wellington

Boarding the ferry

Boarding the ferry is incredibly easy and you should not have any concerns. We are used to welcoming hundreds of people travelling for the first time on a ferry every day. Many of those have just hired a large campervan and feel quite nervous about driving it into a ship! But have no fear, our vehicle decks are spacious, light, with well marked wide straight lanes. Furthermore, Kaiarahi and Kaitaki have front and rear doors, so might simply drive straight on and straight off at the other end!

After Check-In, you will have been directed to wait in one of four lanes. When it is time to board, the Vehicle Marshal will cars beckon cars forward. You should follow the car in front of you and look for the marshal's instruction to proceed once you reach the end of the lane. The marshal's may take vehicles from different lanes, rather than one lane at a time. This is because they have to ensure the weight is evenly distributed within the ship.

Once you are on the ship, the ship's marshals will lead you into a lane to park.

On Kaitaki and Kaiarahi there are two vehicle decks. You may be instructed to drive up the internal ramp to reach the upper vehicle deck.

Kaiarahi Vehicle Deck
Pets, animals & dangerous goods
Travelling with Pets

Travelling with Pets

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

All other pets may remain in your vehicle for the duration of the journey. Pets and animals must be left within the vehicle or vehicle cab (they cannot be left on the back of utility vehicles or flatbed trucks). You will not be allowed down to the vehicle deck to check your pet, so please ensure it is comfortable, well fed and watered. We also advise training you pet prior to passage by keeping it in your car without your company for increasing periods of time prior to your travels.

Exercise your pet before they travel - this way they’re unlikely to be restless during the journey. It’s also a good idea to leave some toys to amuse them during the journey.

Leave a window slightly open - it is important to ventilate the vehicle.

Pets and animals brought on-board remain the sole responsibility of their owner.

Book a kennel

Bus from Wellington Station

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.

If you have hired a kennel, then notify the attendant at the vehicle check-in and they will give you a Kennel Card to hang from your rear view mirror. The marshals will direct you to park near the kennels and assist you with kennelling.

Travelling with horses

Travelling with Horses

If you are travelling with a horse then you should have selected an Equestrian Vehicle when you booked. There are no exceptions for horses and you will board as normal.

You will not be allowed in the vehicle deck during the sailing to tend to your horse, so please ensure it has everything it needs for the three-hour crossing. There are attendants on the vehicle deck during the crossing and if you horse appears to be distressed in any way, then you will be notified and escorted to the deck to tend to it

We do not take horses onboard when the Significant Wave Height exceeds 3 metres. Providing you have booked an Equestrian Vehicle, we will notify you in advance if the wave height is expected to exceed this and move you to a later sailing if required.

Travelling with livestock

Travelling with Livestock

Livestock transportation must be arranged with our freight reservation team. Please contact them by calling 0800 660 670 or emailing

When conveying livestock on Interislander it is critical that the following requirements are met:

  • All vehicles carrying livestock must be fitted with effluent holding tanks with sufficient capacity to ensure effluent does not leak while on-board the vessels. Any vehicles that are seen to be leaking effluent may be refused passage.
  • Livestock should be adequately de-watered prior to travel. De-watered animals retain their condition better during travel as well as minimising effluent.
  • Due to minimal overhead clearance onboard, vehicles must be fitted with covers to prevent animals rearing above the height of the truck.
  • Special considerations are required for transporting lactating cattle - consult with MAF if unsure.

For further information on animal welfare during transport please refer to MAF's website.

We do not take cattle onboard when the Significant Wave Height exceeds 4 metres. Providing you have booked your livestock aboard, we will notify you in advance if the wave height is expected to exceed this and move you to a later sailing if required.

Carrying dangerous goods

Carrying dangerous goods

Interislander takes passenger safety seriously.  If you have any doubts about the goods that you are carrying, please contact the dangerous goods team on 0800 660 670.

Dangerous Goods

Please refer to the Dangerous Goods Limits document below.  This provides limits  for Dangerous Goods before you need to complete a Dangerous Goods Declaration Manifest.

Dangerous Goods Limits (PDF) - 271KB

More detailed information about Dangerous Goods sailings and Dangerous Goods Declaration Manifests can be found on the Interislander Freight Website.

Carriage of Dangerous Goods must also be in accordance with the Interislander General Conditions of Carriage (PDF), with specific reference to Section 12.

Terminal facilities
Wellington Terminal

Going to the Foot Passenger Terminal

Whilst the driver must stay with the vehicle and be ready to board at any time, other members of the party may go to the Foot Passenger Terminal.

However, to do this you must all check-in at the Foot Passenger Terminal to collect boarding passes. The driver can then show their boarding pass at the vehicle check-in

The short term car park is located in front of the arrivals building and is free for up to 30 minutes, so we recommend you park there whilst checking in.

Those passengers who remain in the terminal should board as foot passengers and not return to the car


Wellington terminal has a café that sells food and drink. There is a large seating area to relax in whilst waiting to board.

Children's Play & Picnic Area

Kids Play Area

There is a gated children's play area outside the rear of the building that is suitable for children of all ages. All children must be supervised whilst playing in the area and we have provided seating for adult supervisors and picnic benches for eating at.


There are toilets in the terminal building. They are located between the check-in counter and the café


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

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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