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KiwiRail’s Interislander ferry service is an extension of State Highway 1 and the Main Trunk Line across Cook Strait, linking road and rail networks between New Zealand’s North and South islands.

One of the world's most beautiful ferry journeys, it is also a popular tourism service and one of our Great Journeys of New Zealand.

We currently operate three ferries – Kaiarahi,  Kaitaki  and the rail-enabled Aratere - that cross the strait a combined total of 4000 times a year.

The Kaitaki (meaning Challenger) can carry up to 1400 passengers, while the Aratere (Quickpath) has capacity for 600 and the Kaiarahi (Leader/Guardian) 550.

Between them they transport nearly 800,000 passengers and 250,000 cars a year.

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The future of our ferry fleet

The ships in the Interislander fleet are reaching the end of their useful lives and KiwiRail has begun the procurement process for two new, large rail-enabled ferries which we hope to have in operation by 2024.

Along with the fleet replacement, KiwiRail is working with stakeholders including Wellington and Marlborough ports on facilities for the new ships.

More information on Interislander, including booking tickets, is available here.