Superyacht charter around NZ's South Island

22 January 2015 • Written by Jeanette Tobin

Explore the rugged South Island of New Zealand with a superyacht charter. Sample wines in Marlborough Sounds, climb glaciers in Queenstown or simply relax as your yacht cruises through the sunning Abel Tasmin Bay.

Jeannette Tobin from Superyacht Support New Zealand has worked in the megayacht industry for many years and can offer some sound advice when hiring a yacht in New Zealand.

The South Island of New Zealand provides opportunities for cruising amidst spectacular scenery in remote areas.


The most popular and easily accessible area is an area of sea-drowned valleys that form the Marlborough Sounds stretching from Tasman Bay to Cloudy Bay. The Sounds is an extensive region of inlets and bays among forest and national parks, much of which is inaccessible by road. It would be possible to lose a couple of weeks cruising the Sounds without anchoring in the same bay twice. Countless tracks for hikers and mountain bikers thread through the forests and parks with campsites, homestays and luxury lodges.

To the west of the sounds are Tasman Bay and Golden Bay, which stretch up to the north western tip of the South Island. The shores of Golden Bay are, in places long sandy beaches. Tasman Bay incorporates the Abel Tasman National Park, which has sheltered anchorages allowing further exploration of the park by tender or kayak. Horse ride the spectacular golden beaches and enjoy a picnic in the middle of paradise.


For those looking for a relaxing time, a tour through the vineyards and wineries of the Marlborough region should definitely be considered. The Marlborough area is the country’s most famous wine region and produces a range of Sauvignon Blanc that are considered by many European wine critics to be the best in the world. Cycling through the vineyards you could think you were in the middle of the famous wine producing regions of France.


A passage around Cape Farewell at the north-western tip of the island and then on down the west coast for around 350 nm will bring the more adventurous yachtsman to Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound in the Fiordland region. Fiordland, carved up by the action of glaciers in the ice age, was listed as a United Nations World Heritage site in 1990 and has some of the most dramatic scenery in New Zealand. The area boasts snow-capped peaks with thick forests of ancient trees.


Those seeking a more adrenalin-stimulating experience should head to Queenstown, the Mecca for extreme sports aficionados. Queenstown and nearby Wanaka have world-class ski fields. The resorts offer year round activities with mountain biking and hiking popular in the summer months; and paragliding, hang gliding and fishing popular year round. For thrill seekers, Queenstown is home to a couple of bungy-jumping sites in spectacular surroundings, tandem free-fall parachute jumps and jet boat rides over rapids. The stunning alpine scenery enhances all of the activities adding another dimension to the enjoyment.

This area is also another Mecca to wine lovers, Central Otago produces exceptional Pinot Noirs, and again the vineyards showcase local produce at some award winning restaurants. Luxury country lodges and homes are available for groups to explore the region with complete privacy.


North of Queenstown is another amazing natural feature, the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. The glaciers can be explored from one of the many walking tracks in the region or by helicopter, which will actually land on the glaciers. Take a picnic and enjoy lunch at the top of the world.

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