Respect our local boating conditionsTe Whanganui-a-tara Wellington harbour is always busy with ferries, cargo and cruise ships.

It is New Zealand's third largest container ports with more than 14,000 commercial shipping movements each year. Ferries regularly sail from central Wellington to Matiu Solmes Island, Eastbourne and Seatoun. 

Guidance to ship operators and masters on vessel emissions, scrubbers, and fuel use

Regional councils, Maritime New Zealand, the Ministry for the Environment, and harbourmasters are currently working on a nationwide strategy to address the implementation of MARPOL VI regulations in New Zealand. While this is being progressed, guidance for the Coastal Marine waters of the Greater Wellington Region can be found here:

Cargo and cruise ships

CentrePort Wellington manage the busy Wellington wharves. They provide cargo and vessel handling services including: Pilot and towing (tug) services, and berthage for shipping. Find out about:

CentrePort Wellington is jointly owned by Greater Wellington and Horizons (Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council).

Wellington Harbour Ferries

East by West Ltd operate two harbour ferries the City Cat and the larger Cobar Cat.

They run a variety of services, mostly between Queens Wharf and Days Bay, but they also regularly include Matiu/Somes Island, Seatoun and Petone wharves.

At certain times of the year they also operate harbour cruises. Visit their website for more information.

Cook Strait ferry services

Two shipping companies (KiwiRail Shipping and Strait Shipping) offer around 4,000 sailings a year connecting Wellington to the South Island.


KiwiRail Shipping’s Interislander operates between Wellington and Picton in Marlborough, carrying railway wagons, cars, trucks and passengers.

They have three vessels, Aratere, Kaiarahi and Kaitaki, and a transit time of about three hours

Visit their website for information.


Strait Shipping’s passenger ferry service, Bluebridge, sails daily, year-round between its central city Wellington terminal and Picton. The Bluebridge service carries passengers, vehicles and cargo.

The two ships operating the Bluebridge service are Strait Feronia and Straitsman, and they have a transit time of three hours and twenty minutes.

Strait Shipping has been transporting cargo across the Cook Strait between Wellington and Picton/Nelson since 1992. They specialise in roll-on/roll-off, containers, break-bulk and livestock.

Visit their website for more information.

Updated November 8, 2023 at 8:53 AM

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