Interislander ferry rides were being likened to a "rollercoaster ride" by some passengers who crossed the Cook Strait during the storm.
Jeremy Falconer captured the shocking scenes on board the ferry and posted a video to Facebook.
The ferry was taking massive hits from the waves, Mr Falconer said he'd been crossing the straight for 25 years, but this trip "takes the trophy for the roughest one yet".
The sailing from Picton to Wellington began calm enough but as the ferry left the Marlborough Sounds and into the open water the trip took a turn for the worse.
At one point the ferry stopped with passengers beginning to think the service might turn around because of the rough seas.
Interislander operators KiwiRail have now suspended all services until Friday because of bad weather.