New Zealand is a spectacular country. Auckland, at 35 degrees south, has the equivalent latitude of Madrid, while the tip of South Island at about 47 degrees south probes well south of Australia to the edge of the Roaring Forties. The nearest country is Fiji, approximately 1000 miles away (a similar distance to the Azores from the UK). More details of new Zealand (with a yachting emphasis) are available on Noonsite
During our early visits, we could only dream of getting on the water, except on occasion with Dairne’s cousins. Tony used to sail but now has a launch in Auckland, while David, who has built and sailed large catamarans, had a small launch in the Bay of Islands, some way to the North of Auckland, though that is now sold.
Our interest was significantly increased when our eldest son Iain decided to emigrate to New Zealand with wife Clare. The move has been a great success and they now have twins (Harry and Alice, now teenagers). We have made several visits, and on some of the later visits we have been able to document the trip. Click anywhere in this panel for more information.
A few years ago we were able to help Iain and Clare acquire True, a 39 foot cutter. Some technical details about True are documented in the boats section of this website, but to see more detail of our NZ expeditions click anywhere in this panel.
This was a wonderful trip. We had wanted to do it for years, and finally succeeded.Of course the dreamhad been to make the trip in our own yacht, but clearly the time had passed when we could consider that.
Our friends Mike and Rosemary had made the trip twice and put us in touch with their travel agent in Chile, who arrange everything.
The proposed Itinerary was
–Depart London via Paris to Buenos Aires (mid Jan 2012)
–Fly to Ushuaia and board small cruise ship
–To Cape Horn, and via Fuegian channels, to Punta Arenas
–Overland to Puerto Natales (Chile)
–Roro ferry, 5 days in Patagonian channels to Puerto Montt
–On to Santiago, visit wineries, then home to London
We do not like the idea of massive cruise ships. In this case, “Stella Australis”, which took us from Ushuaia in Argentina to Cape Horn, then on to unta Arenas in Chile carried only 200 passenger. The vessel for the 5 day trip through the Patagonian Channels was a ancient roro ship with some very basic bunk accommodation, which made for an interesting time! At least we had our own cabin. Indeed, some websites such as Trip Advisor were very scathing about the route. (We later learned that about a year after we had made the trip our ship, Evangelistas, struck a rock and either sank or was scrapped. There is a slightly more modern vessel on the route now. Yes, you have to be able to cope with very basic facilities, but it only for 5 days and through some of the most fascinating scenery in the world.
For the first time in 40 years we went on an organised holiday, taking the Hurtigruten Cruise up the coast of Norway from Bergen to Kirkenes, followed by a short cruise up the coast of Spitsbergen, the main island of the Svalbard archipeligo, eventually reaching 80 degrees North, just 600 miles from the North Pole.
It was a trip we had dreamed about for many years. The Hurtigruten ferry which operates the service is more like a bus service making some 30 port calls day and night on the day trip from Bergen to Kirkenes. On the return suthbound leg, the port visited during the night Northbound are visited during the day. But we did not make the return leg. Instead we flew from Kirkenes to Svalbard to cruise that fascinating Island’s coast. At least, that was the theory. There were so many other passengers wanting to make the same trip that some flew via Tromso while we (andd many others) had to fly all the way back to Oslo, and wait 7 hours before we could board the Svalbard flight!