New Zealand by water – luxury yacht charters ahead of the America’s Cup


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.

North Island

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.

Napier

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.

Wellington

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.

South Island

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.

Charleston

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.

Stewart Island

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.

If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.


Comments (6)

  1. Jane says:

    Yes, from taking a look through those photos I definitely think I could cope with a toned down version of the America’s Cup lifestyle, more leisurely lunches than fine tuning the rigging and more gin than gym. Yacht charter would be a great way to see the best of New Zealand without being tied down to one place.

  2. Danni Hawes says:

    My brother’s heading to New Zealand in January. Lucky guy is staying for three months so of course I’m not at all jealous..! I’ll forward this to him as I’m sure he’d appreciate the suggestions for things to do while he’s over there. There’s certainly enough to keep anyone busy regardless of age, physical ability, interests etc. I quite like the idea of checking out those glow worm caves in Charleston. I’ll have to see if there are any photos of those, it sounds pretty cool. I also find the idea of the yacht really appealing partly based on the size. So only 6 passengers at a time? That’s much more my kind of scene than a busy cruise ship to be honest. Do you get people booking the whole thing, so three couples or six friends that all know each other, or do you typically get three separate couples?

    • Hello Danni, Yes for this particular yacht it is 3 cabins, and usually, it is one party of friends or family. With luxury yacht charters you also have a private crew on board with your own Captain and Chef. So it is very much a personalised holiday, based on your desires and requirements. It is most definitely a very relaxing way of vacationing, full of fun and adventure. Feel free to contact CharterWorld for more info and various options.

  3. Andy Ashby says:

    What’s the best time of the year to see the whales? I’ve been on whale spotting trips off Sri Lanka in the past and not seen a single whale. I want to give myself the best odds.

  4. Julian Bird says:

    So many people have told me of their travels to Milford Sound and how beautiful it is but I can’t remember any of them ever telling me that it was part of the Fjordland National Park. Nor did I know that it was a UNESCO site. When I finally get to New Zealand it’s going to be one of the first places on my list to visit.

  5. Benny Murray says:

    The Abel Tasman Region sounds like a good destination. I’ve had the pleasure of whale shark watching in Donsol and dolphin spotting in Bohol, both in the Philippines. It actually sparked a kind of travel interest where I hunt for places to spot these amazing sea dwellers in other parts of the world. I came across this post due to that search.

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