The two islands of New Zealand offer an unparalleled multi-centre cruising destination. From their sheer diversity and sporting cultural attractions, to the mountains, deep fjords, rainforests, glaciers and bubbling geo-thermal pools, no other country has such a vast cruising landscape.
The two islands of New Zealand are utterly enchanting. Poised between the Tasman Sea to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east, these cruising grounds are home to some of the world’s greatest sailing. The coastlines of both the North and South Island are a wonderful canvas of bays, harbours, fjords and beaches. Whether your itinerary takes in the marine reserves and islands lying off the North Island, or heads to the South Island to glide along the Marlborough Sounds, New Zealand is all about taking to the water.
Known as the ‘white-knuckle’ capital of the world, the unmatched landscape of rainforests, glaciers, rivers, lakes, alpine mountains and spectacular coastlines lends itself to adrenalin-pumping activities such as white-water rafting, paragliding, kayaking, skydiving and bungee-jumping. But it’s not all about pushing things to the limit; there are many ways to be laid back and indulgent, including touring the vineyards, exploring the wealth of Polynesian and Maori cultures, and visiting the historic and architectural reminders of the country’s colonial past.
Whether drifting across a secluded bay, exploring the many uninhabited islands, or sailing into one of its various harbours, there are endless endless cruising possibilities. Though the less populated of the two, the South Island’s scenery alone makes it worthy of a visit, offering a varied landscape of snowy peaks that sit above sun-drenched plains, waterfalls, fjords and lakes. Step ashore to unwind beneath the setting sun, amongst the rolling Marlborough Wine Country with a chilled glass some of the world’s finest Sauvignon Blanc.
The North Island is altogether different. Its landscape comprises of pristine lakes and is home to some of the southern hemisphere’s most cosmopolitan cities, including Auckland, aka the ‘City of Sails’. The largest Polynesian city in the world, it offers a wide range of shops and restaurants, busy harbours and beautiful beaches. From here it is just a short cruise to the Bay of Plenty with its long stretches of beach and secluded bays. To the north of the island, the aptly named Northland reflects a strong Maori heritage and is home to numerous sites of historical interest.
Auckland is also the gateway to the 144 islands and secluded bays of the Bay of Islands. The archipelago has attracted sailors from around the world for hundreds of years with their sheltered anchorages and temperate climate. Cruise around the sleepy bays and protected inlets of the Coromandel Peninsula dominated by the National Forest Park with its spectacular hills and rainforest, or head up north from North Shore Point, to reach the region of Whangaporoa, along the Hibiscus Coast up to Cape Leigh, where the magnificent and lush green hills drop down to long sweeping stretches of golden sand beaches.
The country of 'the long white cloud’, as New Zealand is often referred to, may seem to be located at the end of the world but it promises idyllic cruising surrounded by glorious mountain landscapes. Why not make this your next charter destination?
- Cruise from Auckland harbour to the trendy island of Waiheke lying just off the main coastline. The island was once a sleepy hideaway for artists and those seeking an alternative lifestyle and it’s a perfect introduction to the easy-going Kiwi lifestyle.
- Nearing the tip of the mainland lies the Bay of Islands, an idyllic spot for water sports and big-game fishing.
- Try black-water rafting in the waitomo glowworm caves.
- Jet boating: for a real adrenalin rush of speed, jet boating is available along most of the major rivers.
- The subtropical reefs of Poor Knights Islands were rated one of the world’s top ten dive sites by Jacques Cousteau
- For sailing enthusiasts, New Zealand’s America’s Cup racing yachts offer trips around the stunning Auckland harbour, and you can even sign up as crew.