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Looking for some Kiwi sailors to add some good information, such as where you can anchor, what to do when you get there, where to eat.
Howard [ Just Imagine ] 14-Feb-2008
NZ is a fabulous place to go cruising, to avoid the southern hemisphere cyclone season (Dec-April) or to go to for repairs or maintenance (lots of facilities, skills are high, and costs are low - Kiwis are very 'boatie' people and very welcoming).

Best Ports of Entry are (From N to S down the east coast)
North Island (NI): Opua, Whangarei, Auckland, Tauranga, Gisborne, Napier, Wellington,
South Island (SI): Nelson (top of South Island), Picton, Lyttelton, Timaru, Dunedin (Port Chalmers), Invercargill (Bluff).

Ports on the west coast mostly have bars best not attempted without local knowledge.  New Plymouth is primarily a commercial harbour and, although a port of entry, is not well-suited to cruising yachts except for adverse weather shelter.

Arriving from the NE by far the best port of entry for yachts is Opua in the beautiful Bay of Islands - in fact you may desire to go no further after cruising the area.

Auckland is the largest city in NZ (dubbed the City of Sails) but it's a long walk from the marina to the city.  Cruising nearby Great Barrier Island and the Coromandel Peninsula is very rewarding

Arriving from Australia the best port of entry is either Opua (taking care to give Cape Reinga a wide berth) or Nelson in Tasman Bay, entered before getting involved in Cook Strait (commonly wind against tide and uncomfortably choppy).  From Nelson one can cruise the beautiful Marlborough Sounds and then cross to Port Nicholson (Wellington) and onward up the east coast before heading off again.

Full details for arriving yachts can be found at: http://www.customs.govt.nz/ (click on yachts and small craft)
Please note that you must have prior permission before arrival which you can obtain via a link on that web page.

Don't be fooled into thinking that the weather is better up north - that is not always so.  The best weather in NZ is to be found at the top end of the South Island.  Wellington can get very windy, and Auckland very humid with regular rainfall.  So the best places to cruise are the Marlborough Sounds (top of SI), the east coast of the NI and north of Auckland (Bay of Islands, etc.).  If you don't mind occasionally cold and unreliable weather even in summer, Fiordland (SW of SI) is fabulous.

David [ Capricorn II ] 14-Feb-2008

Bay of Islands

Hauraki Gulf

Bay of Plenty

Nestled in the crook of Coromandel Peninsular to the West and East Cape to the East, the Bay of Plenty is one of those rare, unspoiled marine playgrounds that enjoy a warm climate and good shelter. The region was named by Captain Cook, who found everything he wanted here - plenty of food, good weather and good shelter. 500,000 modern day inhabitants feel much the same about it now as he did then.
Howard [ Just Imagine ] 18-Jan-2010

Whangaroa Bay


Map of Whangaroa Bay

Spectacular fjord like harbour.
Rocky outcrops thrust out of the sea to over 1100 feet high
Cosy anchorages nestled at the base afford peaceful overnight anchorages.

The quiet township of Whangaroa is home to a commercial fishing fleet and big game fishing boats.

Dine with celebriies at the famous King Fish Lodge.

Howard [ Just Imagine ] 25-Apr-2009

Leigh Harbour

Maptech Chart
Howard [ Just Imagine ] 25-Apr-2009

Cavalli Islands (Anchorage)

This isolated group of coastal islands provides a stunning stop for lunch or even an overnight anchorage in settled weather.

The scenery is spectacular both above the water and below, the sunken ship wreck of the Rainbow Warrior lies just north west of the group.

Howard [ Just Imagine ] 25-Apr-2009

Oke Bay (Anchorage)

Howard [ Just Imagine ] 02-Mar-2009

Tutukaka (Anchorage)

Adele Island (Anchorage)

Whangamumu (Anchorage)

Great mercury Island (Anchorage)