Thousands of New Zealanders spend Christmas sailing on Interislander ferry

Thousands of New Zealanders have spent their Christmas sailing between the North and South Island on the Interislander ferry.

The number of Kiwis getting out to see their own backyard this year has even surprised some of the staff.

It's Christmas Day at the Interislander Ferry Terminal where travellers are getting ready to set sail.

One family had already travelled north on the ferry this morning, in the hopes of meeting a new family member for Christmas.

For Danielle and Peter, sailing down south was a chance to make new memories this year.

"He was diagnosed with cancer last Christmas so this time of year is not good memories, we'd rather do something fun," Danielle says.

It was fun the crew were ready to provide.

"Giving out chocolates, saying hi to everyone, what more could you ask for," says customer service manager Osia Maligi.

The Interislander says 2258 passengers have travelled from Wellington to Picton since 6:30am on Christmas Day, making Christmas an unexpectedly lively day for the crew.

"With COVID-19, I didn't think we'd have a lot of people moving around at this time of the year," Maligi says.

It's a busy Christmas Day both the crew and their passengers were on board for.