Written by Missy Johnston
Arrive in Auckland and settle on board your yacht. Relax and review your itinerary with your captain before visiting the Sky Tower, the tallest structure in the South Hemisphere, for a panoramic view of the city and Auckland’s 48 volcanoes. If you are brave enough you can bungee jump off the tower and free fall for 192m supported by just a bungee cord. Return to the yacht to enjoy cocktails and dinner while spending the night at the dock in the Viaduct.
Leave after breakfast for Waiheke Island. Take a mini bus tour of the island visiting Stoneyridge Vineyard and Mudbrick Vineyard and enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting. Spend the night on anchor.
Cruise to a different bay on Waiheke or set out for the Coromandel Peninsula to a secluded bay. Enjoy water sports activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, wake boarding or water-skiing. Spend the evening on anchor.
Have an early departure for Great Barrier Island, the largest island in the Hauraki Gulf where it is easy to spend two days or more. It is a rugged and scenic island with unspoiled beaches, hot springs, old Kauri dams and a forest sanctuary. There are many activities to enjoy, including five popular options:
• Option 1: Beach riding and swimming with horses (the horses do the swimming!),
• Option 2: Mountain biking through forests to the hot water springs,
• Option 3: 8×8 adventures to traverse beaches, wetlands and volcanic terrain,
• Option 4: Diving – there are pinnacles, shipwrecks, lots of fish and great visibility,
• Option 5: Hike to the top of Mt Hobson for fantastic views.
Leigh Island Snorkeling
Early in the morning depart for Leigh and Goat Island. Goat Island is the country’s first marine reserve with 547 acres where the sea is virtually a giant aquarium. Visitors can snorkel and scuba dive and see huge snapper, blue maomao, crayfish, stingrays, colorful sponges and if you’re very lucky, orca and bottle nosed dolphins.
Poor Knights Island Coral
Depart for the Poor Knights Islands. Another marine reserve, this area is reputed to have the best scuba diving in NZ, and has been rated one of the world’s “Top 10 Diving Spots”. The islands are bathed in a subtropical current from the Coral Sea, so varieties of tropical and subtropical fish not seen in other coastal areas can be seen here. There are underwater cliffs with a labyrinth of archways, caves, tunnels and fissures. There are also wrecks of two navy ships to explore. Late in the afternoon depart for Whangaruru, an old whaling base in an idyllic anchorage.
Depart for the Bay of Islands after breakfast. Long famed for its stunning island scenery, the many islands are punctuated by dozens of coves where the clear waters range in hue from turquoise to deep blue. Over the next two days enjoy a variety of activities.
• Fishing, as the Bay of Islands is noted as a great fishing location,
• Lunch in historic Russell, and after lunch enjoy exploring the town and its lovely waterfront.
• A scuba diving trip to the Cavalli Islands to dive on the Greenpeace boat “The Rainbow Warrior”,
• Kayaking around some of the 150 islands that make up the Bay of Islands,
• Visiting Waitangi, the site of the historic signing on 6 February, 1840 between Maori chiefs and Queen Victoria’s government, or
• Taking a cruise in the tender up the Keri Keri inlet to the Old Stone Store.
Disembark and fly to Queenstown for more adventures. While in Queenstown try bungy-jumping, skydiving, white water rafting or play a round of golf on the private course.