Ferry FAQs

Questions about travelling on Northland Ferries, buying tickets or getting a Frequent User Card? We’ve got all the answers here – or feel free to get in touch.


Northland Ferries will be operating at all traffic light settings.  Masks are required and you must not travel if you’re feeling unwell. See below for frequently asked questions.

No. The government’s COVID-19 Protection Framework says that public transport operators – including Northland Ferries – are not allowed to deny travel based on vaccination status. This is a legal requirement and we do not have any discretion.

Yes. In line with government legislation:

  • Face coverings are mandatory on board the passenger ferry (unless you have a medical exemption).
  • On the vehicle ferry, face coverings are not required in your own vehicle or on the vehicle deck. Face coverings must be worn in the enclosed passenger area on the Hokianga vehicle ferry.

Our customer-facing crew will also be wearing masks (unless they have a medical exemption).

No. In line with government regulations, public transport operations including ferries do not have any distancing restrictions at any level of the COVID-19 Protection Framework. 

There is currently no company mandate in place requiring staff to be vaccinated. However, Northland Ferries is encouraging all staff to get the vaccine.

They have a medical condition that exempts them from wearing a face covering and have provided the company with a valid medical certificate.

Your vehicle is an enclosed space, but the space outside the vehicle is open air. Face-to-face interactions between a passenger in a vehicle and a ferry staff member outside the vehicle are considered open air.

No, due to health and safety requirements on board, as well as the effect of emissions on staff.

Yes, hand sanitiser is available on board all our ferries.

Yes, all ferries are being cleaned in line with Ministry of Health guidelines.

Buying Tickets & travelling

No, all ferries operate on a shuttle basis so there is no need to book.

Yes, our crew happily accept cash payment on board. 

Yes, if you pay by EFTPOS you will get a receipt. If you pay with cash you will be given a ticket which will act as a receipt. 

Yes, you can pay by cash, EFTPOS and credit card (except Diners Club).

Hokianga: Additional passengers travelling in vehicles are $2 per person. Foot passengers are also $2 per person. 

Bay of Islands Vehicle Ferries: There’s no charge for passengers travelling in vehicles. Foot passengers are charged $1 for adults and $0.50 for children.

If you are ready to board the Hokianga Ferry at the advertised departure time and the ferry is not there, it is most likely shuttling (ie. operating increased departures) due to heavy demand. The ferry will return shortly.

Yes, dogs can travel on our ferries. On our passenger ferry services dogs must be on a lead and restrained throughout the trip. On our vehicle ferry services dogs must remain inside the vehicle throughout the trip.

If you are driving a large vehicle such as a bus or truck and trailer unit, we recommend travelling within 2 hours either side of high tide. If you are unsure please contact us for assistance.

Bay of Islands Frequent user cards

You can register online and pick up your card at our Paihia or Russell offices, or if you are having considerable difficulty completing the application online you can head into our offices and complete the whole process there.

Please Note: our workshop facility in Opua is closed to the public and unable to assist with renewals.

When setting up your account you will be asked to choose which type of card you are applying for. The Resident Frequent User Card is only available to residents of postcodes 0200, 0202, 0204, 0272 or 0184, and proof of residence (see below) is required at the time you pick up your card.

Our crew will scan your card and deduct the appropriate fare type from the credit on the card.

Residents who live in one of the following postcodes: 0200, 0202, 0204, 0272 and 0184, can apply for a Resident Frequent User card.

The easiest way to show us a copy of a utility bill or a rates demand. If this is not possible please speak to our team about what evidence you can provide.

Yes, Rawhiti is within the postcodes that qualify for resident fares.

Yes, you can top up on the ferry, but if you have no credit on your card and you top up less than $20, you will incur a $1 surcharge.

If you pay as you go on board the ferry you will incur a $1 surcharge per transaction. We encourage members to have credit on their Frequent User Card and top more than $20 at a time to avoid this surcharge.

You can manage your Frequent User Card credit online by logging in here and topping up or setting up an auto-top up.  

It’s easy to set an auto top-up on your account by following the below steps:

  1.  Log into our secure portal
  2. Click on ‘Top Up’
  3. Make a standard top-up payment, but check the box marked ‘Remember this card and auto top up.’ This will allow our payment provider to securely store your credit card details for future payments.
  4. Open your profile at the top right of the page.
  5. Enter your preferred auto top-up amount. This is the dollar value at which your auto top-up will be applied – for example, if you enter $20, each time your account drops below $20 an auto top-up will be made.
  6. Select ‘save auto top up details’ to confirm your settings.

Yes, you can have more than one card. The second card will be set up as an affiliate card on your profile. This way you can keep one in the car and one in your wallet. The second card will cost $10 to set up.

Adults living at the same address and children under the age of 18, or who are studying can have an affiliate card on a Resident Frequent User Account.

No, you will need to visit us in one of our retail offices.

Yes, you can access both services with one card.

No, sorry. We operate the Hokianga ferry on behalf of the Far North District Council, which has a different payment system from the Bay of Islands ferries. 

Yes, frequent user cards expire every three years.

If your card is lost or stolen please let us know as soon as possible (our office hours are 8am-5pm). We’ll place a stop on the card so it can’t be used. You can visit one of our offices to get a new card and we’ll transfer any remaining credit onto that card. Please note there is a $10.00 charge for replacement cards.

If the system goes down, we’ll manually record your Frequent User card number and deduct the fare from your card when service is restored.

We offer a significant discount for residents. In the past many non-residents have tried to access these discounts – a photo ensures that only those who are eligible get the discounts.

No, personal information and photographs will not be shared. Once your photo has been downloaded to your card it will be deleted.

other ferry questions

No, Northland Ferries receives no funding from either local or central Government. We pay Far North Holdings (a council-owned company) a considerable sum for the infrastructure required to operate the service.

No, sorry. The Hokianga and Bay of Islands ferries operate with different payment systems. 

Unfortunately SuperGold card discounts on transport services do not extend past Whangarei.

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