New Zealand - Profile
- New Zealand is a favourite place to spend the cyclone season in the South Pacific and it has a good reputation among cruising sailors as the place where everything can be fixed, upgraded or replaced. Marine facilities are of a high standard in the North Island, particularly around Auckland, Whangarei and Port Opua in the Bay of Islands.
- The Bay of Islands in the north is a favourite place of entry and the cruising here is so pleasant that some visiting yachts never leave this large protected bay dotted with the many islands that provide its name. In addition, Port Opua and the Opua Marine Park offer a comprehensive service for refit or to safely leave a boat for long term storage.
- Sailing south from the Bay of Islands or Whangarei, it is worth taking an offshore tack to call at Great Barrier Island, Whitianga and Mercury Bay - all great places to visit - before heading for the Hauraki Gulf and busy Auckland.
- Auckland is branded the City of Sails because it has a huge local fleet and excellent cruising grounds. It is the yachting capital of New Zealand and virtually every marine facility, service and brand is available in the central city Westhaven-Viaduct area.
- Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty has also become popular as a port of entry with yachts arriving from Tonga, as well as a stopover for yachts during the cyclone season.
- Other highlights of a southbound trip are the capital Wellington and, across Cook Strait, picturesque Picton and the Marlborough Sounds.
- Sailing conditions around the lower South Island are more challenging and those who are short of time can enjoy the majestic scenery by cruising on four wheels. If however you have plenty of time to wait for suitable weather windows, January and February are the best times of year to attempt cruising around the South of New Zealand and to Stewart Island. It is particularly difficult to cruise beautiful Fiordland on the remote south west coast because of exposed open-ocean approaches and deep water anchorages in the fiords. See excellent cruising notes by SY Tenaya who did this in 2012.
- The east coast of the South Island has several attractive harbours such as Dunedin, Timaru and Lyttelton, but none rival the beauty of the Marlborough Sounds, which also has the advantage of being more accessible when sailing down from the north.
- Cruising yachts are increasingly visiting Nelson, at the northern end of the South Island in Tasman Bay. Nelson is the country's biggest fishing port; it has a good range of marine facilities and a climate which allows outside work to be carried on most of the year.
- There are workshops specialising in marine services throughout New Zealand and the quality of workmanship is usually high. However, one should insist on receiving a detailed written estimate so that both the cruiser and company agree on the scope and cost of the project, and possible contingencies, before commencing.
- In recent years, prices have risen considerably in New Zealand, and it has now become one of the more expensive countries to visit for cruising yachts.
The climate is varied from the subtropical in the north to snowy mountains and glaciers in the south. The summer from November to March is the more pleasant season, while the winter is wetter and windier. The South Island is generally cooler in both summer and winter. Although out of the tropical cyclone area, occasionally in February or March the tail of a cyclone reaches the North Island. Lying in the westerly wind belt, the east coast is more sheltered and the main yachting centres are along that coast.
Russell Radio, located in the Bay of Islands, provides a marine weather broadcast on VHF Ch. 63 at 08:00, 09:30, 13:30 and 17:50. Channel 16, 03 and 63 are monitored 08:00 to 20:00 daily.
Working 7 days a week all year round. All times are NZST or daylight saving time as appropriate. In April 2013 they discontinued their SSB service.
Phone monitored 24/7: +64 9 403 7218
Far North Radio, now provide an SSB with weather service for the South Pacific. See Noonsite Report for more details.
New Zealand Weather from www.weather.org
For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page.
Arrival at any other port requires the written permission of a Collector of Customs.
North Island: Auckland * , Gisborne * , Gulf Harbour , Napier * , New Plymouth * , Opua (Bay of Islands) * , Tauranga (Bay of Plenty) * , Wellington * , Whangamata , Whangarei * , Whangaroa , Whitianga
* indicates port of entry