Aratere, meaning "quick path", is our longest serving vessel and was purpose built for cruising the sounds.
With three separate viewing decks, including one on the bow, there is no better ship soak up the atmosphere of the Marlborough Sounds - especially on a sunny day.
Food & Drink
With its sea-side diner atmosphere, seafaring food and stunning sea views, the Food Court is a great little restaurant area. So why not treat yourself to some yummy fish and chips and watch the magnificent sights sail by - view sample menu
Bright and breezy, with spectacular views from the front of Deck 4 and an excellent selection of New Zealand's finest wines and modern craft brews, the Local Heroes Bar is a great spot to settle down and enjoy the journey - view drink menu
Interislander Plus lounge
For a more refined journey across the Strait, book a seat in our Interislander Plus lounge.
Interislander Plus includes free food and drink - including wines and beers - and provides a comfortable, quiet, child-free environment, with free newspapers, magazines, and Sky television.
Interislander Plus is restricted to passengers 18 years and over. Tickets can be bought in the onboard shop if seats are available.
Simply add the Interislander Plus lounge whilst booking and come and enjoy the difference.
Scenic viewing areas
When it comes to sitting in the sun soaking up the incredible New Zealand scenery, the outdoor spaces on Aratere cannot be beaten! We've lost count of how many viewing areas she has.
Bow viewing area
Aratere is the only Cook Strait ferry that has a viewing area at the front of the ship. The viewing area is located immediately outside of the bar, which is incredibly convenient!
For a more elevated view from the front of the ship, you will find a viewing gantry is located immediately above the bow viewing area. The area is access from the stairways either side of the bow viewing area.
Rooftop seating areas
Aratere has two rooftop seating areas that are accessed via stairs from the outdoor areas on Deck 5. You can sit either side of the ship - so take you pick and enjoy the journey.
To the rear of the roof area, you will find tables that are just perfect for standing around and letting the scenery envelop you!
Port and starboard viewing areas
The term "heaps" was invented to describe Aratere's outdoor spaces. We think there are probably six different zones on each side of the ship, to add to those at the front and on the roof.
There is no shortage of seating on Aratere, so take a look around and find the perfect spot for you.
If you like sitting at the front and watching the journey unfold, then sit at the front! A row of comfortable seats look out through large panoramic windows right at the front of the ship. This also happens to be in the Aratere Bar and far away from the kids' play area - it's just about perfect.
For a quiet time with a crossword, a book, or a game of chess, escape to the Quiet Lounge on Deck 5.
For families and groups, there is plenty of space in the Family Lounge to spread out and let the little ones roam around. The kids play area and Hector's café are right on-hand too.
There is plenty of lively seating around the Aratere Bar, where you will find Sky Sports on TV and beer and wine aplenty.
Located at the top of the stairs from Deck 4 to Deck 5, this isn't really a lounge, as there is one table and four chairs. But it is a lovely sunny spot!
Towards the rear of Deck 4, you will find everything you need to stay entertained as a family.
Hector's café & store
Hector's café and store is a new addition to the Family Lounge area on Deck 4. Its the perfect place to grab a soothing barista made coffee and a slice of something nice, then sink back in a relaxing armchair while watching the kids having fun in the Play Area! The store sells everything from kid's entertainment and toys to warm clothing and cool gifts.
The Family Lounge is at the heart of Deck 4 and has ample room for young families to spread out and relax. You'll find comfy armchairs, the children's play area, nursery and Hector's Cafe and Store all in one space to help you decamp and relax.
Children's play area
The family zone is set at the heart of the ship on Deck 4. Here you will find a Play Area for younger children and open space for babies to roam. The play area is in the Family Lounge and Hector's Cafe and Store, so you can relax and watch your children have fun.
Who doesn't like to do battle on an arcade machine! Young or old, head to Deck 8 for some computerised entertainment!
It's difficult to find time for a movie and your sail across the Strait could be that perfect time. Alternatively, drop the kids off and go and enjoy some peace and quiet out on deck! The titles are updated regularly and information, tickets and popcorn can be obtained from Hector's Store and Cafe on Deck 4.
Stay connected whilst on the move with Free Wi-Fi throughout the ship. However, please be aware that our signal is limited whilst at sea and we strongly advise you pre-load games, films or TV shows before coming on-board.
Here are some other facilities to help you stay comfortable throughout the journey:
If you are sailing with little-ones who need their nap-time, then you will a nursery room with two cots, changing facilities and a wash basin on board Aratere. The nursery is located next to the Play Area on Deck 4 and is free to use, subject to availability.
There are plenty of toilet facilities onboard Aratere, ensuring you wont get caught short. You'll find these located in the middle of the ship throughout Deck 4 and a block also on Deck 5.
An accessibile toilet is located between the Cinema and Food Court on Deck 4 and in the toilet block on Deck 5.
Aratere has a dedicated outdoor smoking area near the middle of Deck 4.
Aratere has been accredited with Silver Status in each of the five categories (Vision, Hearing, Mobility, Learning, Parents) and has been given an Overall Rating of Silver by Be. accessible. Full details can be found on the Be. accessible website.
You can also read more about accessibility across our ships for people with visual impairments, hearing impairments or needing some form of assistance.