Bay of Islands Yacht Charter Guide

Bareboat yacht chartering in the Bay of Islands offers a diverse range of secluded anchorages within easy sailing distance of each other. Since the earliest settlement of New Zealand, this region has been a haven for sailors. The many sheltered coves and coastline extending north and south from the Bay offers countless fantastic places to explore. This is our holiday destination when cruising our local waters. We know it well and are perfectly equipped to help you plan your next sailing holiday here.

About Yacht Charters in the Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands is 120 miles by sea north of Auckland, a four-hour drive or one-hour flight. In the heart of Northland and on the more sheltered east coast, it has a more temperate climate than Auckland. In fact northern New Zealand is almost sub-tropical, making it ideal for sailing in the spring and autumn. Aptly named, the Bay is studded with islands that unfold to provide an area of varied geographic beauty and unspoiled sailing grounds. There are a huge number of anchorages, great fishing and diving to be done, and white sandy beaches to laze on, all within sheltered waters. 

Approaching the Bay of Islands from seaward, two landmarks guard its entrance.  Cape Brett, remembered for it's famous 'hole in the rock', marks the eastern entrance, while its partner the Ninepin 11 miles beyond marks the western.  Both outcrops are excellent places for fishing.

Within the Bay, sailing distances between the islands are short, and peaceful scenic anchorages plentiful. Take time out to visit Roberton Island with its twin lagoons, Moturoa Island's walking trails, Urupukapuka's farmlands, its sandy beaches, and stunning cliff-top views. Wherever you are in the Bay of Islands, there are peaceful hideaways for all weather conditions.

The mainland settlements of Kerikeri, Paihia, Waitangi and Russell are all historic holiday towns, with plenty of restaurants and places for provisioning. Russell was the first European settlement in New Zealand, once the "Hellhole of the Pacific" but now a pleasant place with lots of boutique shops. It's a popular and safe place to anchor overnight.

Opua is a deep-water port close to Paihia, with marina and yacht servicing area. Just north of Paihia is the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, where the indigenous Maori signed the Treaty of Waitangi Agreement with the British Crown in 1840. The important place to New Zealand's cultural heritage of these grounds and the Treaty House that still stands there is explained at the Waitangi Visitors Centre.

Beyond the Bay are the Cavalli Island group, National Park islands of exceptional interest, particularly for the snorkeling and diving possible in the crystal-clear waters that lie in an expansive sheltered area between the islands. Further north again, it's not a long sail to venture to Whangaroa,with its majestic fjord-like landscape of towering pinnacles overlooking an enclosed harbour.


New Zealand's climate is temperate. The best time to take a boating holiday in New Zealand is between the warmer, drier months of November and April. The prevailing winds are from the westerly quadrant, south-west through north-west Beaufort 1- 4 between November and April. There is a tidal range of two metres.

Being further north than Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf, the Bay of Islands generally enjoys somewhat warmer temperatures and sunnier skies, making it the perfect cruising destination. 

Our Charter Services

SAIL CONNECTIONS will make planning your yacht charter easy and enjoyable. Our Yacht Charter team members have personally sailed in New Zealand many times over the years, and we would love to tell you about our favourite anchorages, places to go and things to do.

Our Travel Department can advise on getting around New Zealand and your accommodation options before and after your charter, ensuring you can make the best possible travel connections to your charter yacht.

Enquire Now - Click Here   or view our bareboats and crewed yachts.

The Sail Connections Guarantee

One contact - every option - advice you can trust.

  • Matching any competitive offer 
  • Sourcing boats with discounts available
  • Personalising our proposal just for you
  • Qualifying the operator as well as the boat
  • Advising without bias based on 25+ years of experience

We will match any discount website offer on charter boat price, and still provide our customary high level of service. We do more than just book yachts!

Read our free charter guide for all you need to know about planning your sailing holiday.

Yachts in the Bay of Islands

Beneteau 57
Beneteau 57 - 61' (18.6m) 8 Guests
Elan 43
Elan 43 - 43' (13.1m) 6 Guests
Oceanis 40
Oceanis 40 - 40' (12.2m) 6 Guests

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