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Situated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Polynesia comprises the island nations of American Samoa, the Cook Islands, Kiribati and French Polynesia. Due to their spectacular beauty, the French Polynesian Islands are becoming one of the South Pacific’s major hubs for yacht charters. French Polynesia is home to several volcanic islands of its own, including the Society Islands, the Marquesas, Tuamotu, Gambier and the Austral Ridge. Soaring temperatures are cooled by consistent trade winds throughout the year, with optimum yachting conditions between April to the end of October. Popular routes wind from Raiatea through to Bora Bora, or from Nuku Hiva et Hiva Oa to the Marquesas. One of the main marinas in French Polynesia is the Boa Bora Yacht Club on Bora Bora, which is protected from eastern and southern winds due to its position in a lagoon. Cruisers should make time to stop at Moorea Island and enjoy pleasant vistas of coffee plantations and pineapple fields on the 4-hour tour of the island. French Polynesia is also a favourite with divers, who particularly enjoy the intense drift dives in the Tuamotu Islands’ passes.
The New Caledonia archipelago is composed of several main islands including the Loyalty Islands, the Isle of Pines and Belep, in addition to a plethora of smaller islets and atolls. As such, New Caledonia is one of the South Pacific’s finest destinations for an island-hopping yacht charter. On land, New Caledonia offers visitors a unique fusion of French and Melanesian cultures, and a stroll along the waterfront of its capital city, Noumea, is a great way to soak up New Caledonia’s eclectic vibe. The majority of yacht charters begin from Port de la Moselle, Baie de la Moselle or Noumea, which is also home to the nation’s most modern marina. Diving is also a popular activity in New Caledonia, with the Îlot Canard just outside the Anse Vata a popular spot.
Home to the Sydney Opera House, Ayers Rock and some of the world’s best wine regions, thet land “down under” seems to have it all. Attractions like the stunning Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier reef off Australia’s east coast also make it a popular destination with sailing enthusiasts. Located off the coast of Queensland, the only real way to see the 74, tropical Whitsunday Islands is by yacht. Hamilton Island is a particularly popular stop-off point, as over 80 percent of the island is protected so visitors can enjoy the pristine beaches and nature trails in their natural state. Abell Point Marina is the main yachting gateway to the Whitsundays, and has convenient connections to the rest of the islands. The region is also are one of the world’s most popular diving destinations, and home to impressive reefs, drop offs and a magnificent variety of marine life.
The steaming volcanoes, craggy coastlines and rolling green vineyards of New Zealand are spread across many islands. The city of Auckland, also known as “The City of Sails” is a popular starting point for yacht charters, and is said to be home to more yachts per head than any other city in the world. Auckland’s Westhaven Marina is merely the gateway to 1500 miles of cruising around New Zealand’s 76 islands, with pleasant cruising in temperate conditions. Stunning underwater scenery ensures New Zealand’s popularity with divers, particularly at the gateway to the Hauraki Gulf on the Hibiscus Coast – only 30 minutes’ sailing away from Auckland. Sailing enthusiasts should make a trip to Auckland’s National Maritime Museum a priority.
Also known as the “Friendly Islands”, the Tonga archipelago is scattered across a 400km area of the South Pacific, approximately 1500 nautical miles north east of New Zealand. Only 37 of the Tongas are inhabited, which means the remainder are ripe for exploration on an idyllic yacht charter holiday where sandy beaches, jade lagoons and emerald forests await. The Marina of Neiafu is a good starting point for your Tonga adventure, which is located in the north of Tonga a 15-minute drive from Vava’u airport. From there, a route that twists from Hunga Island, Vaka'eitu, Mounu and Lisa Beach, Vana'u, Kenutu, Euaiki & Taunga, Matamaka, Nuku and Port Maurelle will reveal many of Tonga’s treasures. Tonga’s capital city Nuku’alofa boasts some fascinating historical treasures, including a network of ancient tombs. For visitors that want to make the most of Tonga’s natural treasures, the islands are one of three remaining places in the world where it is possible to dive with Humpback whales, which remain in the area from July to September.