Cruising New Zealand

New Zealand is a stunning cruising destination and is a must stop on your South Pacific voyage. From the gorgeous Bay of Islands the Northland region to the rugged beauty and wildlife in Stewart Island in the south, New Zealand has some excellent cruising grounds. There is a wide variety of marine facilities where international vessels can take advantage of tax-free repairs and maintenance. There are marinas where you can park up and fly home, or alternatively sail South and enjoy the remote and spectacular beauty of Fiordland, Stewart Island and Marlborough in the South Island. 

You are then perfectly positioned to head back up to the Islands in May and take your time exploring Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu & New Caledonia taking advantage of the south-east tradewinds at your back as you sail west. 

We invite you to join us on our Sail South to New Zealand support and South Island Rally to explore this incredible cruising destination. 

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People who have crossed the Pacific often say that the best was saved until the last. Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu & New Caledonia are destinations in themselves and deserve much more than a fleeting visit as you make your way west. November to April is cyclone season in the tropics and most sailors choose to head to either New Zealand or Australia for this period of time. 

If you are cruising through Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu & New Caledonia - you might wish to join our Pacific Rally. This rally includes everything you need to cruise the South West Pacific with information on all these incredible destinations. We provide all the paperwork and details of the entry formalities, connect you with all the others cruising in the same direction and you also get all the Sail South Support inclusions as well. 

Plan to stay in Fiji until late September. The legendary Musket Cove Regatta Week takes place usually from about the 15th - 20th September. Regatta week is a fun filled week of sailing and social events and is on the bucket list of many a cruiser. Or alternatively explore Vava'u and enjoy the Bluewater Cruisers festival there. 

After Regatta Week or the Bluewater Festival you can cruise east to New Caledonia via Vanuatu and spend a couple of days exploring the Island of Tanna. This will allow you to get a taste of Vanuatu and the experience the Mount Yasur Volcano. Vanuatu has some incredible islands to explore and deserves much more than a fleeting visit. 

Then it is on to New Caledonia, you clear in at Noumea and there is so much to enjoy including the stunning Ile des Pins and the Loyalty Islands. 

Mid-October it is time to start thinking of getting out of the tropics. From here you can sail South to New Zealand - check out our Sail South Support package or continue on with us to Go West on the Down Under Rally to Australia. 



New Zealand's coastline stretches over 8,000nm. By far the most popular area for cruising yachts is the Northland coast with the Bay of Islands and Hauraki Gulf providing many incredible places to explore. 




It is around 1000nm from Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu or New Caledonia south to New Zealand. Picking a good weather window is critical for a safe and enjoyable passage and we can assist. Our Sail South Support package includes advice from a professional meterologist to assist our group departures choose the best time to leave and provides weather updates along the way.

A must-stop en-route is Minerva Reef. This is a great place to stage yourself to wait for a suitable window, and it is an easy five day passage from here to New Zealand. 



Island Cruising works closely with the Customs and Biosecurity officials in New Zealand. We provide our rally participants with up-to-date and comprehensive information that is written in plain English to ensure you know what to expect and how to prepare for your arrival. We can also help provide some valuable tips on which visas to apply for and save you lots of time and hassle. 



Marine related trades and service professionals are abundant in New Zealand - particularly the Northland area, ensuring a healthy competition exists within the industry. International Cruisers can enjoy tax-free repairs and maintenance on their vessels during their stay. There are many choices when it comes to finding marinas and shipyards, all of which are serviced by a variety of providers of marine-related products and services. Island Cruising understands the needs of visiting yachts and has formed strategic partnerships with key providers of marine-related trades and services; many of whom offer discounted services to our rally participants. Visit the Partners page of our website to see some of the products & services and offers from our rally partners.



In early November Join us for the Bay of Islands Cruisers Festival in Opua. You will enjoy a fun and informative program of events. In addition to a couple of parties and several fun and entertaining social events that take place.

For those looking to dry store their vessel and return home, Opua or Whangārei are the perfect locations and one of the most economical, especially if you are an Island Cruising Sail South participant, as participants are entitled to special offers and discounts.

If cruising is on your agenda, then heading south to Abel Tasman & Marlborough will provide you with the opportunity to explore some of the best beaches and hiking trails in New Zealand. For the adventurous cruiser, heading south to Fiordland is a remote and spectacular destination, as is Stewart Island. The South Island Rally provides all the support and information you need to ensure you can enjoy this region to the max. 

Then when May comes around - join us to head north - back up to the Pacific. Our popular Pacific Rally includes everything you need to know to sail to Tonga, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and either on to Australia or return to New Zealand again. 



The Island Cruising Sail South Support package is open to all vessels departing from ports in the SW Pacific with New Zealand being their destination.

  • You choose how much you are involved in the rally, do everything, do some of it, do none of it, sail in company or sail alone it is up to you.
  • You choose from where you depart.
  • You choose your port of entry.


Local Knowledge. We know what you need to know and if we don’t, we know how to find out! We also work closely with rally participants & the New Zealand Customs & Biosecurity officials to ensure that that all involved are fully aware of what is required before you arrive and what to expect upon arrival.


Sail with us to Marlborough and enjoy cruising like this: