New Zealand Yacht Charter Guide
From incredible geographical diversity and cultural attractions to stunning landscapes, the two islands of New Zealand provide enchanting cruising opportunities
The dual islands of New Zealand offer an unparalleled multi-center cruising destination for luxury yachts. From their sporting and cultural attractions to the mountains, deep fjords, rainforests, glaciers and geothermal pools, no other cruising ground offers such a vast and varied landscape. Whether your itinerary takes in the marine reserves and islands lying off North Island, or heads to South Island to glide across Marlborough Sounds, the best of New Zealand is all about taking to the water.
Perched between Waitemata and Manukau harbors, Auckland offers a buzzing mix of culture, nightlife and restaurants. Spend your first day exploring the “City of Sails.” Take to the water and race in an America’s Cup yacht or bungee jump from Auckland’s Sky Tower.
AUCKLAND TO WAIHEKE ISLAND (10 NAUTICAL MILES)
Cruise from the harbor to the trendy island of Waiheke. Lying just off the mainland, the island is known as the “Hamptons” of Auckland. Step ashore to explore the island’s growing food and wine scene, stunning beaches and eclectic art galleries. Enjoy the island’s wineries where you will find unique New Zealand wines based on cabernet sauvignon, merlot, malbec, cabernet franc and chardonnay grape varieties.
WAIHEKE ISLAND TO THE COROMANDEL PENINSULA (20 NAUTICAL MILES)
The Coromandel Peninsula is the perfect anchorage for all manner of watersports activities including kayaking, snorkeling, wakeboarding and water skiing.
COROMANDEL PENINSULA TO GREAT BARRIER ISLAND (35 NAUTICAL MILES)
Cruise to the furthermost reaches of the Hauraki Gulf to Great Barrier Island. Barrier is the largest island off the coast of New Zealand’s North Island and provides beautiful sheltered anchorages to the west. Visited by Captain Cook in 1769, the island was so named because it was believed to be sheltering the Hauraki Gulf from the storms of the Pacific.
GREAT BARRIER ISLAND TO POOR KNIGHTS ISLANDS (45 NAUTICAL MILES)
Formed from a chain of volcanoes that eroded millions of years ago, the underwater caves, tunnels and arches of Poor Knights Islands are fed by a warm current. The subtropical reefs are home to sharks, coral fish, turtles and orca, and on occasion you might even spot migrating whales.
DAYS 6 & 7
POOR KNIGHTS ISLANDS TO BAY OF ISLANDS (140 NAUTICAL MILES)
The Bay of Islands comprises 144 islands, the majority of which are home to some of the most stunning beaches in the world. It was here that Queen Victoria’s government and the indigenous Maori chiefs signed the document ceding the islands to the British Empire in 1840. Spend a few days exploring the archipelago before cruising overnight to Auckland to disembark.
Boasting extensive coastlines, diverse natural landscapes and untouched native forests, the two islands of New Zealand are perfect adventure cruising grounds. North Island is home to Auckland, aka “City of Sails,” where fine restaurants and shops abound. The capital of Wellington hosts numerous galleries and museums, while the Bay of Islands is a subtropical maritime park with an abundance of marine life. Alternatively, South Island guarantees flawless sailing conditions, restful retreats ashore and great sporting opportunities for the adventurous charterer. Home to Queenstown — the country’s adventure capital — and Marlborough Sounds, it promises idyllic cruising with a backdrop of glorious mountain landscapes.
The majority of New Zealand’s landmass is south of Auckland, but the northern parts should not be missed. The landscape is dotted with subtropical forests, beaches and historic settlements. The Bay of Islands is an idyllic spot for watersports and big-game fishing. Further south the clear waters, fjords and coves along Marlborough Sounds offer stunning anchorages while the scenery alone of South Island is worth traveling to see – some of the most spectacular cruising grounds in the world can be found around the fjords of Milford Sound.
- Race on an America’s Cup yacht, Auckland
- Experience the thrill of a 192-meter bungee jump from Auckland’s Sky Tower
- Head to Stonyridge Vineyard for an afternoon of wine tasting, Waiheke Island
- A visit to The Oyster Inn on Waiheke Island is a must
- Catch a traditional Maori war dance at the Auckland War Memorial Museum
- Spot humpback whales during the migration period of June through October
- Walk the trails to secluded hot springs, Great Barrier Island
- Kayak through the striking underwater caves and tunnels, Poor Knights Islands
There are several popular cruising itineraries for New Zealand, including the beautiful Bay of Islands and the Marlborough Sounds. For those short of time, you can’t beat Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf. The Cavalli Islands and Urupukupuka, lying north of Auckland near the Bay of Islands are a must for outdoor enthusiasts, offering all who venture to their shores great hiking and diving opportunities.