Top sailing spots in New Zealand

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A water-based holiday in New Zealand has elements you won't find anywhere else in the world. Whether you're anchored in an idyllic bay or ferrying to an island, getting out on the water is a real must-do.

From Cape Reinga at the tip of the North Island to Bluff on the southernmost point of the South Island, there are thousands of kilometres of coastline to explore – deep water harbours, sheltered coves, remote islands and tranquil bays. What’s more, boat cruises, charters, kayaking and fishing experiences are easily accessible and offered throughout the country.

Coastal Gems

The Bay of Islands, Northland

The Bay of Islands in New Zealand’s winterless north has 144 islands and is one of New Zealand’s most popular maritime parks. Getting out on the water here can range from taking a ferry to the historic village of Russell, a day cruise to the outer islands, a high-speed jet boat ride, kayaking or chartering your own yacht to explore in peace and privacy.

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Auckland
Auckland harbour, Auckland

By Chris Sisarich

An Auckland Harbour Cruise is one of the best ways to experience the City of Sails.

Auckland

Known as the ‘City of Sails’, with more boats per capita than anywhere else in the world, it’s easy to get out on the harbour in Auckland. Weather conditions make perfect sailing for anything from the latest America’s Cup race boats to the classic yachts of yesteryear. Take a harbour cruise; or ferry out to one of the islands – Waiheke is perfect for wineries; while there’s an array of great walking opportunities on Rangitoto. Kayak or paddleboard hire is also available at many beaches.

Marlborough Sounds

At the tip of the South Island, the Marlborough Sounds is a sailing paradise with a myriad of drowned valleys, islands, coves, bays and beaches to explore. What’s more, you’re cruising around a region that produces award-winning wines and seafood – so trips ashore are magic. Choose to take a boat cruise, take a kayaking tour, or ferry into Picton.

Nelson
Abel Tasman National Park, Nelson

By Ian Trafford

Exploring Abel Tasman National Park by kayak

Abel Tasman National Park

The sandy white secluded beaches of the Abel Tasman National Park are easily reached by boat – if you haven’t got your own, take a water taxi! The region’s sunny climate, forest clad coastline, golden beaches and turquoise waters make it popular for land and water-based holidays. There’s a multitude of kayaking and paddle boarding options on offer here.