New Zealand has a name for itself as an adventurer’s paradise and the outdoor lifestyle of its locals translates well into the country’s tourism industry. With Auckland to host the America’s Cup in 2020, the islands are gearing up to welcome travellers from across the world, and luxury yachts in particular will find state-of-the-art amenities at their disposal.
Cruising along the coast is a fantastic way to see the stunning beauty of the country without the need to find accommodation for every place you want to visit, and luxury yachts are available for charter to suit a wide range of budgets.
One highly recommended example from yacht charter brokers is luxury yacht SEA BREEZE III, a classic from 1976 which was recently rejuvenated with an extensive refit in 2019. Her timeless interiors are in as-new condition and the latest technology has been carefully integrated into the surroundings.
She accommodates six charter guests over three large en-suite cabins, providing the ideal arrangement for three couples or a multi-generational family. In addition to her stunning interiors, there are a number of alfresco dining and lounging spots across the decks, however the foredeck with its Jacuzzi and uninterrupted views is sure to become a favourite with everyone on board.
With so many incredible coastal destinations across both islands, here are some to consider when planning your own kiwi adventure.
Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf
The region surrounding Auckland alone has enough to keep visitors busy and entertained for a week or longer, and it’s no wonder that one in three households owns a boat in the ‘City of Sails’: The Hauraki Gulf is set to become the course for the Millennium Cup in 2020 and the America’s Cup in 2021 and Waiheke Island is replete with sandy coves, dive spots and coastal trails littered with vineyards for an afternoon of wine tasting.
Beaches are easy to come by in the Coromandels and a whole day can easily disappear while playing in the water and resting on the remote beaches. Hot Water Beach is a notable attraction in the area, where visitors dig into the sand around low tide and create hot water baths for themselves.
On the opposite side of the Coromandel peninsula, the Bay of Plenty has excellent fishing spots, beautiful beaches and the opportunity to spot blue whales and humpback whales. For a day trip inland, Rotorua is a popular destination for its geothermal activity. Up north, the Poor Knights Islands are an unmissable experience for Scuba divers, where caves and walls covered with nudibranchs and corals offer spectacular visual delights.
Farther south, Napier is a treat for tourists who want the visual delights of the art deco period: After an earthquake in 1931 the whole town centre was rebuilt in the same style. The National Aquarium of New Zealand, Napier Prison (New Zealand’s oldest prison), bike trails, vineyards and festivals throughout the year ensure that there is plenty to do for all ages on a visit to Napier. Shoppers meanwhile will delight in the boutiques, art galleries and antiques available for a memorable souvenir or gift for friends and family back home.
New Zealand’s capital city is a hub for arts and culture with a selection of galleries along the waterfront and the National Te Papa Museum all within walking distance. Shoppers have a wide selection of luxury goods to choose from in town and as evening approaches entertain yourselves with live comedy, theatre performances and dance. Art trails and food festivals are common along the Kapiti Coast in the lead-up to Christmas and the New Year, with the height of summer boasting music festivals and perfect weather for days at the beach, cooling off in the seas.
The bays along the southern coast of Wellington are well known locally for their excellent Scuba diving and snorkelling spots, where visitors can spot crayfish, manta rays and even octopus swimming in the shallows.
The Abel Tasman Region
Across the Cook Strait from Wellington is the Abel Tasman National Park, a paradise for non-motorised water sports and dolphins, whales and turtles are known to pass through the area. The bird species encountered on the hiking trails are just as enchanting and the curious fantails will likely watch you from a nearby tree branch or dart across your path.
Nelson has an excellent reputation for its local arts and crafts scene, and once again visitors will find they have plenty of choice on offer from the local wineries. The islands are the perfect way to escape into the wilderness. Dine alfresco on your sundeck or savour a cocktail in the Jacuzzi and listen while New Zealand’s endemic wildlife serenades you at sunset as Tuis call one long low note lullaby across the tree canopies.
Once a gold mining town, this village along the western coast of South Island has become an adventure holiday destination for caving in the limestone caves, and the beaches are relatively flat and have a shallow incline for young paddlers.
The Papraroa National Park is filled with unusual rock formations to see on a hike, but it’s the glow worm cave that will impress the most: Take the train through the rainforest up to the glow worm caves, where the brave can choose to don a wetsuit and go tubing in the cool waters.
Fiordland National Park
Milford Sound is the most famous location within the national park and its desolate cliffs and dramatic waterfalls make for striking photographs at any time of the year. Kayak through the waters and get up close to seals as they sunbathe on the rocks, or snorkel in the shallows to witness the thriving underwater world. It’s even possible to take a flight to take in from above the glaciers, rainforests and lakes that comprise this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The natural wilderness of Stewart Island attracts hikers from across the world for the multi-day tracks, and the clear shallow waters are excellent for snorkelers and swimmers. Kayak or paddleboard between bays and discover one deserted beach after the next.
Amongst the eastern archipelago is Ulva Island, where wildlife lovers will be thrilled to see and hear the raucous parakeets, kaka, tui and bellbirds in addition to the chance to spot the elusive kiwi.
If you’re visiting in the winter months, Stewart Island is a great place to witness the Southern Lights – Aurora Australis – on a crisp, clear night. Even if you miss the natural phenomena, your group will be enchanted by the unending starry skies.
If you are considering a luxury yacht charter to fit in multiple destinations and water sports, broker-recommended motor yacht SEA BREEZE III is available for charter in New Zealand from February to May 2020 before cruising to Fiji. She will return to New Zealand waters in time for summer in November 2020.
Trina Howes is a Director of CharterWorld America. CharterWorld is a luxury private yacht charter company that creates outstanding vacations with excellent yachts at amazing prices – worldwide.