It’s all smiles for this family as it drives away from a New Zealand Railways cruise in 1964.
When the Aramoana was introduced on Cook Strait in 1962, passenger fares were $2.50 ($44.55 in 2007 terms) for adults and $1.50 ($26.73 in 2007 terms) for children. In 1966, with the arrival of the Aranui, fares were reduced by 50 cents for adults and 20 cents for children. By 1973 fares were $3 ($31.13 in 2007 terms) for adults and $1.20 ($12.45 in 2007 terms) for children.
Initially, you paid to ship a car according to its length. In 1962 cars up to 4.04 metres were $10.50 ($187.11 in 2007 terms); over 4.04 metres and under 4.6 metres were $14; and over 4.6 metres were $17. Comparisons with present-day fares are hard to make as cars are now charged a flat rate up to the height of 1.8 metres, rather than being charged by length. Despite early complaints about monopoly, it appears that charges have barely fallen in real terms – even with competition, reduced crew numbers and conditions, and bigger, more economical ships. In November 2007 fares for a single adult and a car could be booked online for between $165 and $255.