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The Millennium Cup: 5 days sailing in the Bay of Islands

The Millennium Cup: 5 days sailing in the Bay of Islands

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Russell

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In the lead up to the NZ Millennium Cup (30 January - 2 February, 2019), New Zealand captain Blair MacLeod of Yachting Developments' 33.8 metre sloopSilvertip, available for charter with Ocean Independence, shares secret cruising gems in the Bay of Islands.

With bows pointed south, crew from all over the world will descend upon the azure waters of the Bay of Islands for the South Pacific’s premier superyacht regatta, the NZ Millennium Cup 2019. Ready to enjoy the relaxed Kiwi hospitality and spectacular racing the event is renowned for, we look at how you could extend your stay in this stunning location. From secluded anchorages and emerald coves to the sunken frigate Canterbury teeming with exotic marine wildlife, the Bay of Islands has it all.

Day 1: Russell

Upon arrival in Russell by helicopter, enjoy a leisurely lunch at the historic Duke of Marlborough pub; known locally for “refreshing rascals and reprobates since 1827” and as the venue for the NZ Millennium Cup’s opening evening’s cocktail drinks.

Anchor overnight in Russell.

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock.com / Oliver Foerstner

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Roberton Island

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A short half an hour sail away and the stunning Roberton Island looms. A beautifully sheltered anchorage, Roberton Island boasts two tidal lagoons with an underwater trail perfect for snorkeling just a stone’s throw away from the sea.

Easy access to shore and the silkiest of white-sand make this one of the best picnic spots and ideal for a beach barbecue.

A short half hour walk from the beach is rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the Bay from a jutting lookout nestled atop the island.

Wind down sampling critically acclaimed wines from local vineyard, Omata Estate, to the sound of birdsong from the many native birds that inhabit the island. Nature-lovers will be enthralled by the diverse range of fauna that comes out as the sun goes down – head ashore with the crew for an opportunity to see the island come alive at night.

The island is a top pick amongst captains and can only be accessed by boat, helicopter or skilled kayaker leaving it completely unspoiled.

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock.com / ChameleonsEye

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Urupukapuka

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Just 20 minutes away, Urupukapuka offers shallow and sheltered waters in all weather. Take a paddle through Okahu Passage while the crew catch fresh scallops for lunch in the aptly named Paradise Bay.

Dangle a line over the transom to keep the kids happy hunting baitfish before a short ten-minute sail to plentiful recreational fishing grounds protected from commercial fishing.

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