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[Bay of Islands] [Auckland] [North Island] [South Island] Nov 94 to Jun 98
New Zealand has a multi-cultural population with British descendants sharing 2 small islands with Maoris, Pacific islanders, and Asians deep in the South Pacific.

Bay of Islands

Nestled on the northeast coast of New Zealand, New Zealand - Bay of Islands map.jpg (9904 bytes)Opua in the Bay of Islands is the first and last stop for most cruisers.  Check-in facilities are convenient, provisioning is satisfactory, and some cruisers never venture south.  Tight agricultural rules mean that most vegetables and all meats are confiscated and destroyed - so plan ahead.  There are many anchorages around the 20 or so islands in this protected bay.  The town of Russell, one-time capital of NZ, hosts a huge collection of local yachts over the Christmas/New Year's holidays and nearby Keri-Keri is a prolific citrus-growing area with a cute town and shops.  Some of the stops on the way south to Auckland include:

  • Many anchorages including Whangaruru, Omaha Bay, and Kawau Island
  • Whangarei, 15 miles up the Whangarei river, a major cyclone season spot for cruisers with shopping and restaurants a short walk from the downtown marina, and a spirit of camaraderie among the cruisers.
  • Gulf Harbour Marina on the Whangaparoa peninsula with all yacht services, large hardstand area but a long way from civilization and thus a car is almost essential.

See our New Zealand Destination Information

Auckland

The largest city in NZ with 1,000,000 people also has the largest population of Polynesians in the world.  With the futuristic Sky Tower and a restored waterfront around the America's Cup Village, Auckland is a modern city with all of the amenities a cruiser would want.  Four major marinas, numerous small ones and private moorings insure that there are lots of places to stay during the S Pacific cyclone season.  Chandleries abound and marine trades of all types: sailmakers, riggers, canvas and cushion makers, etc.  One downside is that a car is usually required to get around - all marinas are relatively inaccessible.  We decided to refill our sailing kitty, found work in the computer software industry, stayed 3˝ years and became Kiwis!  Although immigration rules favor the young, well-educated, and well-heeled, we managed to squeak by.  Nearby beaches provide an outlet from the daily work pressures including Piha and Muruwai Beach on the west coast.  When NZ won the America's Cup in San Diego the country went wild - a parade on the main street brought 10% of the country's population together to cheer Peter Blake (later Sir Peter) and his crew on Queen St.  We were among them! Yachting is a big sport in NZ, so we would like to share a few images from our stay.  For more information, please check out the Auckland City Destination.

        Toshiba, Dennis Conner's entry in the Whitbread'Chesapeake Racing' - an entry from our home state in the USAWhitbread start line - spectators churn the waters!Boat line up to receive Auckland crowds

North Island

With Cape Reinga at the north  and 'windy' Wellington at the south of this 800 km island, the climate varies from sub-tropical in the Bay of Islands to ski country on the slopes of Mt. Ruapehu.  Sitting on the boundary of 2 tectonic plates, evidence abounds: hot springs at Rotorua, Mt Ruapehu's recent eruptions, and Lake Taupo (remnant of a huge volcanic explosion).  The island is covered with forests, cattle and sheep stations, and many small towns.  Off the west coast near Plymouth lie large gas reserves which provide resources for electrical power generation.  Wellington, the capital, on the south tip is more cultivated than its big brother to the north.  We took a tour on the Wanganui River and watched beautiful scenery and birds as we drifted on a slow boat with friendly tour guide.

South Island

With a small van, we toured all around the South Island - it has an amazing variety of scenery, from sheltered bays in the Marlborough Sounds to steep Fjords in Milford Sound.  The highlights were the lush rain forests of the West Coast, Franz Joseph and Fox glaciers that approached the sea, Queenstown with its great views and tourist attractions, 50 knot squalls on Milford Sound, vast sheep herds, and the many churches of Christchurch.  In the south we crossed the straits to Stewart Island for a couple of days with their prolific bird-life.  Some of the scenes we saw along the way:
Lush rain forest near Haast on the west coastOkarito, small town of 10 had 10,000 during gold rushSheep have right-of-way as dogs drive them near Mt CookSnowfields on Mt Cook glow in afternoon lightNew Zealand - Lodge near Queenstown.jpg (28294 bytes)New Zealand - Southern Alps.jpg (24066 bytes)

After 3 ˝ years in New Zealand, we headed north to 'the islands'

 

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