Coming into its own as a blossoming yacht charter destination, New Zealand may not be the first destination that comes to mind when thinking of a luxury yachting destination however the country has a strong connection with the sea and maritime activities.
Events such as the America’s Cup, New Zealand’s largest on-water boat show Auckland On Water Boat Show held last month at the Viaduct Harbour in Auckland, and New Zealand’s annual superyacht regatta, the Millennium Cup, are stamping an imprint on the global yachting scene that New Zealand has much to offer.
Chartering a superyacht to New Zealand encompasses so many different experiences. From Auckland’s designer shopping and cosmopolitan lifestyle to the sheltered, sandy bays of the North and the agricultural backbone and snow-capped peaks of the South, there’s something to suit every taste and endless sights to see.
If you want to discover more about this beautiful country and its vibrant marine industry, read our useful tips about what to expect when you charter here.
Why choose NZ as a yacht charter destination
New Zealand is pretty hard to beat for its mixture of modern cities and rural townships, natural and cultural attractions, superb food and friendly people. In addition to this, the main drawcards for charters are first-class marinas and amenities, and a variety of diverse landscapes with amazing anchorages from sheltered bays to island coves and fjords. There is a unique contrast between agricultural farmland and an unspoiled marine environment that gives New Zealand a winning combination.
A country ingrained with a love of the great outdoors, you can choose to be as relaxed or adventurous as you wish with activities including hiking, mountain biking, jetboating, golf, fishing, surfing, diving, skiing and more – all easily arranged in the best spots the locals know about by Black Label Experience.
When to charter your yacht in NZ
New Zealand’s weather systems predominantly come from the south-eastern corner of Australia; a strong south-westerly flow is usual over the spring months of September through to December.
For the New Zealand summer – roughly from December through to March/April – large high pressure systems tend to dominate the country, giving settled weather with light north-easterlies. Tropical cyclones occasionally get down to New Zealand from the Coral Sea and Pacific Islands during the summer months, but they are not regular events.
Most superyachts combine chartering in New Zealand with a Pacific Island cruising schedule and many plan to move north during late April/May. With a good weather forecast, it is usually a comfortable trip to Fiji, a popular first port of call, as it’s only 1250 miles away. As you leave, the beautiful northern coastlines of the North Island will beckon you to return again.
Yachting services in NZ
Launched at the Superyacht Australia Tahiti Rendezvous event in June, the newly formed South Pacific Superyachting body members include NZ Marine, Fiji – Port Denarau Marine, Tahiti Tourism and Superyacht Australia, with goals to help alleviate stringent regulations for those chartering in the region and encourage more visitors as a result.
This is a great opportunity for New Zealand to align marketing with other regional yachting members and it is forecast that by 2018 their goal is to double the amount of yachts that visit the region, and the number of days spent cruising.
Surprisingly for some, New Zealand has over 200 businesses that specialize in taking New Zealand marine products and services global.
Based in Auckland, two companies feature highly for NZ-based yacht charter support. Asia Pacific Superyachts, are a pivotal agency with the aim of being a hub of marine services, provisioning and equipment supply in the South Pacific. Orams Marine, mold together a dedicated 19,274 square metre site with 30 marine specialist businesses handling almost anything marine, but especially superyacht refits, equipment and motor repairs, boat maintenance, boat storage and sales.
Where to visit on your NZ yacht charter
The main port of entry for most superyachts visiting is Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city. The yacht can re-provision here, with access to all the provisions, wines and delicacies that the chef needs for the duration of a charter.
Repairs, refits and maintenance can also be carried out in Auckland. If the superyacht is at the tail end of a South Pacific charter, Auckland is a fantastic city for some R&R for the owners, guests and crew, and Black Label is readily available to facilitate any activities, boutique accommodation ashore or restaurant bookings for any superyacht.
Popular locations on a New Zealand charter itinerary can include :
Bay of Islands
Bay of Plenty and Coromandel Peninsula
Queenstown (Lake Wakatipu)
Overview of NZ cruising destinations
The cruising grounds of New Zealand can be roughly divided into three main areas:
- Auckland, plus North and East of Auckland down to Wellington
- Marlborough Sounds, including Golden Bay and Abel Tasman National Park
- The west coast of the South Island, Fiordland, south to Stewart Island and Banks Peninsula on the east coast
Auckland, plus North and East of Auckland Highlights
Bay of Islands: Russell township, crayfish and scallop diving, game fishing for marlin and kingfish, protected island anchorages for both day use and safe overnights.
Auckland (including the Hauraki Gulf and Waiheke Island): Well-equipped marinas, easy access to full provisioning and agent services, great sightseeing and vineyards on Waiheke Island, good city nightlife.
Great Barrier Island: Superb anchorages, diving, walking tracks, beaches.
Coromandel Peninsula and the Mercury Islands: Fishing, diving, golden sand beaches, remote anchorages. Re-provisioning is possible at Whitianga,
Wellington: Excellent provisioning and fueling facilities in Wellington, vibrant café culture and arts scene.
The most obvious route south, looking at a chart, would be down the east coast, but this can be a big mistake. Once around East Cape, the trip down to the Cook Strait can be notoriously bad. The distance to travel around Cape Reinga tip in the north and then down the west coast of the North Island is actually about the same. With the correct weather pattern, the west coast choice is preferable to the east coast.
While the boat transits, approximately 48 hours, guests can move ashore and enjoy a bespoke itinerary crafted by Black Label which can include luxury lodges, scenic helicopter flights, trout fishing, Maori culture experiences and many other activities that can be enjoyed while the yacht makes it way to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.
Marlborough Sounds Highlights
Blenheim: World class wine-growing area in New Zealand. Helicopters can land close to the marina and Blenheim Airport can accommodate private jets.
Marlborough Sounds: Exceptional area of natural beauty. There are three main sounds: Queen Charlotte, Pelorus and Kenepuru. Motuara Island bird sanctuary. Beautiful golden beaches perfect for kayaking at Tasman Bay and hiking in the Abel Tasman National Park. Snorkelling and diving at Long Island marine sanctuary.
Charter guests may choose to see other areas in this region, such as Nelson or Kaikoura, famous for whale watching (in season), which is its major attraction. If the guests decide they would like to start their charter in the privacy of one of the outer islands in total seclusion, Black Label can arrange a helicopter or hiking guide if required.
South Island Highlights
Fiordland (including Milford Sound & Doubtful Sound): Iconic World Heritage-listed NZ destination. Spectacular scenery with glacial valleys, plunging cliffs and waterfalls. Wildlife spotting in Doubtful Sound (famous for penguins, bottlenose dolphins and fur seals). An unmissable experience is a scenic helicopter flight over the glaciers of the Southern Alps and Milford Sound.
Preservation Inlet: Historical site for Maori and European settlers with remnants of colonial settlement and a 19th-century whaling station.
Stewart Island: 85 per cent of the Island is National Park with hiking tracks along untouched coastline, and verdant rainforests teeming with birdlife. The perfect place to sample ocean fresh seafood including blue cod, rock lobster and famous Bluff oysters.
Dunedin & Otago Peninsula: Dunedin is an interesting heritage city to explore. Wildlife spotting includes little blue penguins on the Peninsula and northern royal albatrosses at Taiaroa Head.
Akaroa & Banks Peninsula: Akaroa is a beautiful and quaint historical town with French and English heritage.
Black Label is happy to discuss any customized itineraries when charter guests go ashore. Popular charter guest requests include:
- Accommodation at New Zealand’s luxury hotels, up-market lodges and wellness retreats
- Private chauffeured transfers
- Gourmet dining experiences
- Fishing and hunting packages
- Golf experiences
- Wine tasting and cellar door visits at top vineyards
- Helicopter flights including scenic options and heli-skiing
- Horse riding
The Big Blue – Tourism NZ video
This video was created as part of Tourism New Zealand’s (TNZ) superyacht activity to improve awareness of New Zealand as a cruising and chartering destination, the video was produced with the Mayer family while travelling on their superyacht The Big Blue in New Zealand in 2014 and we feel it captures the essence of what makes New Zealand a great charter destination.
Yachts for charter in NZ
31.5m / 103.35ft BLACK PEARL
32m /104.99ft PACIFIC MERMAID
PACIFIC JEMM (QUEENSTOWN)
44m / 145ft HEMISPHERE
59.22m / 194.29ft SENSES
Contact Black Label Experience today to discuss tailored packages if you dream of experiencing New Zealand as an exceptional yacht charter destination.
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