If you're looking for a truly idyllic destination for a yacht charter, you can't go wrong by booking a break in New Zealand's renowned cruising grounds - the Bay of Islands. This sailing paradise offers unparalleled beauty, including vast sandy beaches and more than 80 islands dotted throughout the azure waters.
The Bay of Islands is a 50-mile stretch of coastline situated on the eastern side of New Zealand's North Island and offers excellent sailing conditions as well as lovely warm waters and an average summer temperature of 23 degrees C. The waters here are largely sheltered and worth taking a dip in if you fancy a refreshing swim.
Many visitors to the region choose to head under the water for a spot of snorkelling on yacht charters in the South Pacific as the sea here is teeming with wildlife. Scuba diving is also a popular pastime, and you can head to the wreck of the Rainbow Warrior - a former Greenpeace ship - to explore the artificial reef that emerges from the wreckage.
However, if you'd rather stay dry, you can still admire the native creatures while onboard your vessel, which include dolphins and blue penguins.
A particular highlight is a visit to the Cavalli Islands, the largest of which is a nature reserve full of beautiful birds. The smaller isles, meanwhile, are peaceful and remote, giving you the chance to spend some time relaxing among the tranquil vegetation.
The flora and fauna are just one of the many highlights of holidays around the Bay of Islands. The beaches are a particular draw, and there are plenty of white sandy stretches to be found here. Paihia is one such location, so be sure to call in here if you want to witness unspoilt beauty.
A centrally-located spot, Paihia is also a great place to try out activities like sea kayaking or parasailing, if you're feeling brave.
As well as its exceptional beauty, the Bay of Islands also offers plenty to keep culture vultures happy, so make your way to the town of Russell. The settlement boasts a museum and several historic sites, so be sure to spend some time exploring.
The museum houses Maori artefacts and Captain Cook memorabilia, and there are three heritage paths to wander along on an excursion to Russell. One of these will take you to the summit of Flagstaff Hill, affording excellent panoramic views of the islands below.
Whangaroa Harbour is another must-visit location during a sailing break, as the surrounding anchorages are scenic and relaxing. Look around and you can take in vistas of the forest-clad hills, while at the marina itself you'll find a lovely restaurant where you can sample the catch of the day.
In nearby Rere Bay, meanwhile, you can admire a beautiful waterfall that cascades down the rock faces, so make sure you've got your camera handy!
These are just some of the experiences to be had during a visit to the Bay of Islands and you'll discover a variety of yacht hire options to choose from. Whether you're a novice at sailing and require a crewed yacht, or are accomplished on the water and want a bareboat getaway, you can be certain you'll find the right holiday to suit your needs.