Book a family holiday to remember

Set sail across Cook Strait on a family-friendly holiday adventure with Interislander. We've been a Kiwi holiday favourite since 1962, and we love entertaining families!

Family walking the decks of our Interislander Cook Strait ferry

Your family adventure starts here 

At Interislander, we've been entertaining Kiwi families for more than half a century as the national Cook Strait ferry service, and our favourite sailings are during school holidays when we can have some fun with our little shipmates.

Because we know the lifelong treasured memories we create today will bring future generations of little Kiwis aboard, we love to make each Cook Strait crossing a magical event. 

A magical start to your holiday

Your holiday begins the moment you step aboard our Cook Strait ferries, and we want you to enjoy every moment together. 

With facilities and services made to entertain, your Interislander Cook Strait crossing will be an adventure your family will remember forever.

Here's a look at what you'll find aboard...

Live family-friendly entertainment aboard Interislander


We love putting on a show for the kids during the school holidays, and our entertainers have been delighting generations of Kiwi kids for over 30 years.

Magician Nigel Kennedy, will be entertaining our younger passengers on the Kaitaki this Christmas holidays from December 15 to January 30 2022.

Make sure you book the 9:00 am sailing from Wellington or the 2:15 pm from Picton for a bit of magic. 

Kids playing games together on an Interislander ferry

Game time

Our Cook Strait ferry journey is primetime game time. And you can forget needing to play silently on a mobile. On our ferries, you can spread out and play cards and board games together and roar and cheer as much as you like! 

We welcome you to bring along your favourite games, or you can buy new games from the onboard shop.

Non-stop play time aboard Interislander


Go wild, and shake out that excess energy in our play areas.

Each Interislander ferry has a dedicated children's area, with a playground area on Aratere, a children's playroom on Kaiarahi, and a whole deck dedicated to fun, with a full soft-play climbing frame and crawling mat for babies, aboard Kaitaki.

Grab some family snacks from Hectors Cafe

Snack time

Top up your energy levels with freshly made sandwiches and paninis, pies and pastries, and coffees and cakes - there is something yum for everyone.

On Kaitaki and Aratere, you'll find Hector's Cafe conveniently next to the family lounges. On Kaiarahi, you'll find the same treats on offer in the Ocean View restaurant.

Kids playing games together on an Interislander ferry

Movie time

With three hours to play with, the Cook Strait crossing gives you plenty of time to watch a blockbuster movie. Both our Aratere and Kaitaki ferries feature mini cinemas - in fact, Kaitaki has two.

Tickets are sold in the on-board shop where you can also pick up popcorn and fizzy drinks for that authentic movie experience. 

Taking time to enjoy your family is what Interislander is all about!

Hangout time

Even our kids are super-busy these days. So why not just enjoy some time together with no schedule or deadlines or homework or devices or any other places to be!

You'll find plenty a spaces on our Interislander ferries where you can simply sit together, share conversation, and watch the world drift by. 

Show your kids the beauty of New Zealand with Interislander

Outdoor time

Discover and learn about the sights of the Sounds, with whaling stations, salmon farms, pods of dolphins, sunbathing seals, soaring albatross, communes of shags, Cook's Lookout and hundreds of years of human history.

Do your research beforehand by reading about our beautiful Cook Strait crossing and the Cook Strait wildlife you might encounter. You'll also find information panels dotted around our ships for you to read. 

Interislander fish and chips make a playful dinner

Dinner time

Keep your little sailors ship-shape with our ship-shaped kids' meals. You can choose from Fish or Chicken Nuggets, served in a ship with hot chips and a choice of drinks. Our Butter Chicken dinner is also a winner with all ages. 

You can view our Interislander food menu online now.

Let your little one sleep in our Interislander onboard nurseries


Let your littlest one sleep off the excitement in one of our onboard nurseries. 

Each of our ships has a nursery or two where you can lay your child to sleep. You'll also find a comfy chair for you to relax in and baby-changing facilities. 

Spread out in our family lounges aboard Interislander

Chillout time

Enjoy some family time in our Interislander Family Lounges. With comfy seating, tables to play on, and room to spread out, you'll find your Interislander Cook Strait crossing is a great time to relax together.

On our Aratere and Kaitaki ferries, you will find Hector's cafe close by for family snacks and that all-important barista coffee.

Take timeout to enjoy the outside on the Interislander ferry


Take timeout outside, soaking up the atmosphere together.

Drifting through the magnificent Marlborough Sounds, cruising across Cook Strait, winding around Wellington Harbour: each of these hour-long segments provides inspiring views of our beautiful country. Make sure you find time to go outside and enjoy it!

Additional extras

Our cosy Interislander cabins are a great space for families to make camp

Cosy cabins

Travel on Kaitaki and you can add a cosy cabin to your booking to use as your home camp!

Find out more
Enjoy the latest cinema blockbusters while cruising across Cook Strait

Personal cinema

Give your kids the pick of the latest movies with our Personal Cinema headsets

Find out more

Showreel: A family adventure

Watch our Interislander family as they explore our Cook Strait ferry on their summer holiday adventure.

Family Travel Video

Finding your family-friendly ferry

Each of our Cook Strait ferries has a unique layout with different facilities available on board.

Kaitaki is considered the most family-friendly and has the most facilities. Aratere has the best outdoor space and Kaiarahi is the quietest.

Family-Friendly Ferry Comparison Chart:

For a quick overview of each ferry, use the chart below to compare family-friendly facilities:


Yes +
children's room
Family Lounge
Yes +
Yes +
Pushchair friendly
Yes +
Private Cabins
Yes +
Outdoor Viewing Deck
Yes +

For a full comparison of our ferrys' facilities, use our Cook Strait ferry comparison chart

our ships Kaitaki snippet 730x504

Explore Kaitaki

With two restaurants, a sports bar, shop, several lounges and a deck dedicated to children, Kaitaki is designed to entertain.
Explore on-board
our ships Aratere snippet 730x504

Explore Aratere

With three separate viewing decks, including one on the bow, there is no better place for soaking up the atmospheric Marlborough Sounds on a sunny day!
Explore now
our ships Kaiarahi snippet 730x504

Explore Kaiarahi

Kaiarahi is the newest of our Cook Strait ferry and features modern spacious interiors and a fantastic bar with panoramic views.
Explore now

Family entertainment schedule

Our school holiday entertainment programme brings the fun and excitement of a children's party into the heart of our ferries. 

Using the listings below to find an entertaining sailing - and give your kids a magical holiday to remember:


Summer school holiday entertainment 2021

15 December to 30 january 202s

Use the chart below to find Interislander sailings during the summer holidays with children's entertainers on board:

Wellington to Picton entertainment
15 Decmeber to 30 January 2022
Nigel Kennedy
9:00 AM
Picton to Wellington entertainment
15 december to 30 january 2022
Nigel Kennedy
2:15 PM

*Flossie is not sailing on the 10th, 11th, 12th and 19th July

Our top family travel tips

Good planning is key to ensuring the kids are happy for the three hour sailing. Remembering shoes seems like an easy task, but you'll be surprised how often we have to send parents back to the car. So here are our travel tips for the journey:

  • Pack a small bag or two to bring on board with some extra clothes, snacks, nappies - all the usual kids' stuff
  • Make sure they have everything they want from the car - there is no vehicle access during the journey
  • Bring some games and activities
  • Bring chargers for electronic devices - we have sockets on board
  • Pack some jackets for exploring the outdoor areas
  • Make sure they are wearing shoes when exploring the ship

Family discounts and easy payment schemes

Book your magical family holiday today using our Interislander family discount. Simply select a vehicle, an adult, and a child, and you'll be given a discounted Interislander family fare.

Want to book now and pay later? We have two easy interest-free payment plans to help you on your way!



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Book today with easy monthly payments

Book our cheapest Cook Strait ferry fares today and pay in flexible 0% interest instalments
Find out more
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Discount fares for families

Save with our Interislander family fares

Get the best deals every day of the year with our Cook Strait ferry Family Discounts and book yourself a seafaring adventure!

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Travel today with interest-free instalments

Sail away today with a 20% deposit and the balance spread over the next ten weeks
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