Getting there & away
Make bookings for trains, ferries and buses at Picton i-SITE and Picton Train Station.
Buses serving Picton depart the ferry terminal or nearby i-SITE.
InterCity (03-365 1113; www.intercitycoach.co.nz; Picton Ferry Terminal) runs services south to Christchurch ($51, 5½ hours, two daily), via Kaikoura ($32, 2½ hours, one or two daily) with connections to Dunedin, Queenstown and Invercargill. Services also run to/from Nelson ($32, 2¼ hours, three to four daily), with connections to Motueka and the West Coast; and to/from Blenheim ($13, 30 minutes, up to five daily). At least one bus daily on each of these routes connects with a Wellington ferry service. Keep an eye on discounted internet fares – at the time of research, Picton–Christchurch was a supercheap $23.
Smaller shuttle buses running from Picton to Christchurch (around $40, door to door) include:
Atomic Shuttles (03-349 0697; www.atomictravel.co.nz)
Naked Bus (0900 625 33; www.nakedbus.com)
Southern Link KBus (0508 458 835, 03-358 8355; www.southernlinkkbus.co.nz)
Tranz Scenic (0800 872 467, 04-495 0775; www.tranz scenic.co.nz) runs the TranzCoastal service daily each way between Picton and Christchurch via Blenheim and Kaikoura (and 22 tunnels and 175 bridges!), departing Christchurch at 7am, Picton at 1pm. The standard adult one-way Picton–Christchurch fare is $104, but discounted fares can be as low as $52. The service connects with the Interislander ferry (included in Wellington–Christchurch fares)
Ferries depart and arrive at Picton Ferry Terminal (Auckland St), where both ferry companies have booking desks. The terminal houses a café, public showers, phones and internet facilities.
There are two options for crossing Cook Strait between Picton and Wellington (timetables subject to change) :
Bluebridge Ferries (0800 844 844, in Wellington 04-471 6188; www.bluebridge.co.nz; adult/child $55/25) Crossing takes three hours, 20 minutes. Departs Wellington at 3am, 8am, 1pm and 9pm daily (no 3am service Saturday; no 8am service Sunday). Departs Picton at 2am, 8am, 2pm and 7pm daily (no 8am service Saturday; no 2pm service Sunday). Additional sailings December to January. Cars and campervans under 4m long $130; campervans under 5.5m $165; motorbikes $60; bicycles $15.
Interislander (0800 802 802, in Wellington 04-498 3302; www.interislander.co.nz; adult/child $72/37) Crossing takes three hours, departing Wellington at 1.55am, 8.25am, 2pm and 6.15pm; departing Picton at 5.45am, 10am, 1.15pm, 6pm and 10.05pm. From mid-November to April there’s an extra 10.35am sailing from Wellington, and an extra 2.25pm sailing from Picton. The most flexible (and expensive) fare for a car is $163; for a 5.5m campervan it’s $208; a motorbike $78. Sizable discounts apply for advance, nonchangeable and internet bookings. Bicycles $15.
Soundsair (0800 505 005, 03-520 3080; www.soundsair.com) flies between Picton and Wellington ($79, six to eight daily). There are discounts for online bookings, and for backpacker- and student-card holders. A courtesy shuttle bus to/from the airstrip at Koromiko, 8km south, costs $3.