Yacht charter in New Zealand

Sailing holidays in the Bay of Islands

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Fairwind Yacht Charters New Zealand

Fairwind New Zealand Yacht Charters. Main Wharf, Opua, Bay of Islands. Tel: +64 9 4027821 Mob: +64 274 789994

Day 1. Opua to Russell, 3 miles
After receiving your briefing at our charter base on Opua Wharf and perhaps getting a few last minute provisions at the local store, cast off and head down channel towards the historic township of Russell (
photo). Set sail if you really want to!

Anchor in the excellent holding ground of Matawhi Bay. Go ashore in the evening for a drink at the quaint Russell Boating Club and, leaving your dinghy on the pontoon dock, take a 5 minute stroll into Russell to eat at one of the number of fine restaurants in the village.

Day 2. Russell to Army Bay, via Roberton Island, 7 miles.
After washing the Matawhi Bay mud from the anchor, set sail and round Tapeka point where Roberton Island will be visible to you. Twin Lagoons Bay (
photo) is one of the most popular anchorages in the Bay, with good reason. A lovely beach, lagoons for snorkelling in and an easy 10 minute walk to the island's high point gives you a panoramic view over the Bay.

From Roberton Island it is an easy 40 minute sail to Moturua Island and the locally named Army Bay (it’s called Waiwhapuku on the chart but almost no one knows it as this) (photo). This bay with its sandy beach and overhanging trees was the site of a military camp during WW II and the "pillbox" on the headland overlooking the bay gives a splendid view of the anchorage. Not a hardship posting.

There is a well marked track around the island which takes about 2hrs for the circuit.

Day 3. Army Bay to Whangaroa, 38 miles.
Catch the 09:30 forecast to check the weather and head out across the Bay, rounding Ninepin Rock and up the coast to the Cavalli Islands. Wai-iti Bay (
photo) on Motukawanui Island makes a pleasant lunch time stop.

The narrow approaches to Whangaroa Harbour are not obvious until quite close and winds are fluky in the entrance, so this is a good time to start the motor and drop sails.

The first bay on the left past the entrance is the site of the well known Kingfish Lodge, a good point to stop for those wanting a night ashore. Swing moorings are available by arrangement.

Day 4. Exploring Whangaroa.
Whangaroa Harbour has numerous secure anchorages. Our favourite is Rere Bay and the nearby Lane Cove(photo). The land surrounding Lane Cove is a park, and a walking track begins from the west side of the cove and offers a pleasant walk along a nearby stream. Those who want more strenuous exercise can make the 45 minute scramble to the top of the ‘Dukes Nose’, which offers impressive views over the harbour. At high water take the dinghy and explore the creek around the western point of the cove.

The village of Whangaroa (photo) is at the southern end of the harbour and, while exposed to SW winds, has excellent holding. There is a marina with visitors’ berths available. Ashore is a small shop, a public bar and the game fishing club which welcomes visitors for meals and drinks.

Day 5. Whangaroa to Marsden Cross, 37 miles.
Retrace your route of Day 3 back to the Bay of Islands and anchor at the uninhabited bay of Rangihoua. Oihi, at the northern end of the bay (locally known as Marsden Cross), was the site of the first Anglican Mission in New Zealand
(photo). The cross ashore commemorates the first Christian service on the shores of New Zealand.

Day 6. Marsden Cross to Paradise Bay, 7 miles.
After yesterday’s sailing treat yourself to a day ashore with a fine sandy beach and a whole island to explore. Make the crossing to Paradise Bay on Urupukapuka Island. This large island is threaded with walking tracks which take you to vantage points offering spectacular views of the Bay of Islands (photo).

Days 7 and 8. Exploring the Bay of Islands.
Catch your breath for a couple of days before making the coastal passage south and really get to know the Bay of Islands. It doesn’t get better than this! Head to Waitangi for a round of golf, take in the café scene of Russell, explore the Te Puna inlet or laze on the white beaches of Waewaetoria.  Suggested anchorages are Te Hue Bay, Pipi Bay (Awaawaroa) on Moturua, or Oke Bay (photo) at the bottom of the Cape Brett peninsula.

Day 9. Bay of Islands to Whangamumu. 12 miles.
Head out across the Bay toward Cape Brett (photo). ‘The Hole in the Rock’, an icon of the Bay of Islands is in Piercy Island, just off Cape Brett. The hole runs NW-SE and can’t be seen until outside of the Bay’. The area abounds with sea and bird life. Expect to see dolphins.  Whangamumu Harbour (photo) is uninhabited and the only sign of human habitation are the remains of the whaling station which closed in the 1930’s.

Day 10. Whangamumu to Tutukaka. 39 miles.
Heading south toward Tutukaka, take a detour out to the Poor Knights Islands (photo). The islands are steep with no anchorages and landing is prohibited, but the area is a marine park and has prolific wildlife. The islands have a number of impressive natural archways, blow holes and sea cave big enough to take large launches (but not yachts!). The Poor Knights are famed for diving and, with one person staying on board to man the controls, it is possible to snorkel directly from the boat.

Another 12 miles takes you to Tutukaka Harbour (photo) with a marina and pleasant café-restaurants ashore.

The direct passage to Tutukaka hugs the coast and is 9 miles shorter than detouring to the Poor Knights. The beatuiful Mimiwhangata peninsula (photo) lies at the half way mark and offers a lunch time stop and the chance to explore ashore.

Day 11. Tutukaka to Great Barrier Island. 50 miles.
Head out bright and early for the longest sail of the voyage. The passage out to Great Barrier is over open water all the way and the weather forecast must be taken into consideration before attempting the crossing.

Simpson Rock (5 metres high) lies just north of the direct course to Port Fitzroy and makes a good waypoint on your route.

Port Fitzroy (photo) offers a number of protected anchorages.

Day 12. Great Barrier Island.
After a day of sailing; a day ashore. Take the forest walk from Kaiarara Bay to the kauri dams, where those with more stamina can continue to the top of Mount Hobson (626m/2050ft). Take a dip in one of the clear streams or experience the ‘do it yourself’ bath at Smokehouse Bay.

For those who feel the need to cover some ground can make the passage south to Whangaparapara (10 miles) or Tryphena (15 miles), viewing the gannet colony on Mahuki Island on the way. Bowling Alley Bay (photo), 6 miles south of Port Fitzroy makes a pleasant lunch time stop.

Day 13 Great Barrier to Kawau Island. 30 miles.
The passage back to the mainland is another open water sail, passing south of the inhospitable Little Barrier Island.

Mansion House Bay (photo) on Kawau Island is a picturesque anchorage. The house giving the bay its name was the weekend getaway of an early colonial governor but is now a public park. Visitors who see kangaroos ashore can be forgiven for thinking that they have sailed too far and ended up in Australia. The island is the only place in New Zealand where these animals (which are actually wallabies) can be seen in the wild.

Day 14 Kawau to Motuihe. 25 miles.
Sail south through Whangaparoa Passage to the main islands of the Hauraki Gulf. Stop off at Matiatia Bay to visit Waiheke Island’s art galleries and vineyards.

Anchor on either the north or south side of Motuihe (photo), dependant on the wind. The island is now a park, but still trades on its history of being a prison during World War I, from which the entire contingent of prisoners made a daring escape using the commanding officers launch. These days the only prisoners are those day trippers who miss the last ferry back to Auckland.

Day 15. Motuihe to Auckland. 10 miles.
Head up the Waitemata Harbour to Westhaven Marina next to the harbour bridge (photo) for your noon drop off.


Use this link to open a (customised Google map) showing the anchorages below and other information