Travelling with your pet on the Interislander

For most, pets are a member of the family so when it comes to a family holiday, there is no reason why they shouldn’t come with you. That’s one of the great things about travelling by ferry, you don’t have to leave your furry-friends behind.

Interislander Aratere in the sounds Feature

If you are bringing your pets with you, here are some tips about travelling with them on the Interislander, plus some pet-friendly holiday ideas to inspire your own escape with your four-legged friend.

Prepare them for the journey across the Cook Strait

Before you board, make sure your pet is fed, watered and exercised.  This will help them relax on the journey.  Depending on whether you’re travelling by car or by foot, it’s a good idea to get them used the environment they’ll be travelling in.  If you’re travelling on the ferry by car, get them used to staying in a vehicle unattended.  If you're coming by foot, they’ll need to be booked into a kennel so, again, give them a bit of practice being in this setting. 

Dog in car on Interislander

Travelling by car with your pet

If you’re travelling with us by car, you can bring your pet with you at no extra charge.  They’ll just need to stay in your vehicle for the duration of the journey.   Once the ferry has set off, you can’t go down and visit them on the vehicle deck. Here are a few things you need to do to make sure they’re comfortable:

  • Make sure the car is ventilated by leaving the windows open just a little at the top.  You can also buy special window vents if you travel frequently and leave your pet in the car
  • Leave them with plenty of water
  • Leave them a dog treat, a toy to play with or favourite blanket – you want them to feel at home!

Dog in the car on Interislander ferry

Travelling on foot with your pet on the ferry

If you’re a foot passenger, make sure you reserve a kennel when you make your booking.   The kennels are around 800x800x600 (WxHxD) to give you an idea of how much space your pet will have. 

If you have booked a kennel, when you check-in, you’ll get a boarding pass for you and your dog.   The kennels are in the vehicle bays so once all the vehicles are loaded, you’ll get directions from staff to bring your dog to board.

If you have a smaller pet that you have a carrier or cage for already, you’re welcome to bring this.   When you check-in at the terminals, you’ll need to give your pet to the crew who are organising the baggage.  They’ll take good care of the pets and place them at the front of the baggage truck for the journey.

To make sure your pet is comfortable give them water a treat or toy to play with or a familiar blanket or basket to sleep on during the journey.

Cat asleep on a blanket

Dog-friendly locations 

Whether you have a Labrador or a Miniature Schnauzer, there are always places you can walk your dog so they can enjoy their holiday as much as you.  If you’re staying in the capital, Lyall Bay has a big stretch of sand that’s perfect for a game of fetch or a dip in the sea.   There are also a number of fully-fenced dog exercise areas you can explore across the city which you can find out about here.

Dog playing at pet friendly beach

If you’re taking your dog to the South Island, there are a number of beaches and conversation areas which don’t permit dogs.  This is to protect local wildlife.  However, not all areas are off limits. For example, Whatamango Bay in Marlborough Sounds and Teetotal Campsite in Nelson allow dogs.  Also, if you plan ahead, you can apply for a permit so your dog can camp or tramp with you on some DOC sites.  For information on where your dog is and isn’t allowed, it’s best to check the DOC website and also local and regional council websites who also provide details on where to walk your dog.

Pet-friendly accommodation

Accommodation options which allow pets can be a little restricted but there are options out there.  Petscancometoo.co.nz is a great resource for finding pet-friendly properties so the whole family can enjoy a trip away.  If you’re more of a camper, rankers.co.nz has a great app which lets you filter campsites based on whether pets are allowed and there are a fair few dotted all across the country. 

Taking your pet on holiday

Wherever you decide to go, it’s great to be able to take your pet with you so they can enjoy the holiday with the family and be part of making memories together. And with the Interislander ferry, it makes getting there and back easy. Just follow our tips and hop aboard.