Essential Travel during COVID-19 Alert Level 3 and 4

Everything you need to know about travelling with Interislander during COVID-19 Alert Level 4

During COVID-19 Alert Level 4, Interislander will carry essential personnel who are travelling to perform essential duties in our shared fight against COVID-19.

If you need to travel across the Cook Strait to carry out essential work, then please familiarise yourself with the requirements provided on this page before making a booking request.

Travelling by ferry to connect with international flights is not permitted during COVID-19 Level 4.  Please see the government website for more information:


Further information about essential services travel can be found on the Ministry of Transport website:


Making an essential services travel booking

To travel during Alert Level 4 you must be both essential personnel and travelling for reasons deemed essential by the New Zealand Government. Having an essential need to travel is not deemed sufficient.

All travel on our ferries during Alert Level 4 is subject to government audit and, unfortunately, no matter how important your reasons for travel, we are unable to make any exceptions.

Booking a commercial vehicle:

If you already have an Interislander Account, then contact our Commercial Vehicle team as normal. They will acquire the necessary documentation from you and providing you meet the Alert 4 criteria they will organise your booking.

Remember, the Alert 4 criteria are legal requirements and our team are unable to make exceptions.

How to make an individual booking:

If your industry is included in our essential travel definitions and you need to travel for an essential reason, then email our booking desk with the following information:

  • Your organisation name and department
    • we may request contact details of your organisation
  • Reason for travel
  • An electronic copy or scan of your essential work status documentation 
    • e.g. A headed letter from your place of work demonstrating your need to travel 
  • Booking details, including:
    • Direction of travel
    • Date(s) of travel
    • Time of travel
    • Passenger names
    • Contact details
    • Vehicle details

Making payment

Unless your organisation or booking agent already has an Interislander account, all bookings must be paid for by credit card. We will organise payment over the phone once the booking is confirmed.


Essential documentation to be carried on the day of travel:

The following must be presented on arrival and available on request during travel:

  • Photographic identification
  • Proof of organisation, which could be in the form of a letter of exemption from your employer.


Essential Travel Definitions

Below is the list of essential personnel that can apply for travel during Alert Level 4.

If your industry or reason for travel is not listed, but you believe your travel to be of an essential nature, please contact

Essential personnel:

  • Nurses, Doctors, and Medical professionals
  • Social workers, work and income
  • Vets
  • Fire
  • Police, Army, Security
  • Primary industries in delivering food and beverage production and processing
  • Transport and logistics
  • Utlities and communications – Power, Water, Gas, Telecomminications, Petrol station workers
  • Maintenance and trade – Builders, Roofers, Glaziers,

Other essential reasons to travel:

  • Medical appointment – proof of appointment will be required

Travel not deemed essential:

  • Long-distance travel to connect with international flights is not considered essential and will be declined.


Travelling during the COVID-19 Alert period

Please note the following changes to our service during the COVID-19 Alert period:

  • Please practise physical distancing of 2 metres to protect yourself, your fellow passengers, and our crew. 
  • Onboard cinemas will be closed
  • Food outlets will be closed:
    • we will no longer be serving food and drink on board
  • Foot passengers must take all luggage aboard with them:
    • please limit your luggage appropriately 
  • No cash payments:
    • we will not be accepting cash in our terminals
  • Passengers with COVID-19 symptoms will not be allowed to travel