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New Zealand

An opportunity to immerse yourself in the variety of New Zealand’s stunning unspoilt landscapes and enjoy a relaxed and active lifestyle.

Our La Surprise New zealand stopover takes you exploring some of the gems of the north island: the coromandel peninsula, the northern tip of the north island and its many islands, including the great barrier island.

The cruising routes in New Zealand are tailored to your wishes and to the amount of time available.


In 1 week and 160  nautical miles: an Auckland – Waiheke Island – Great Barrier Island – Auckland loop. 

In 10 days and 240 nm:  Auckland – Waiheke island – Coromandel peninsula – Auckland
i.e. 280 nm: with an additional tour of Great Barrier Island

In at least 2 weeks and 380 nm: Auckland – Waiheke island – Coromandel Peninsula – Great Barrier Island – Northland as far as the Karikari Peninsula.
(Return Karikari Peninsula -> Auckland on option, i.e. a sail of 170 nm.)

New Zealand




Auckland or Karikari Peninsula


de Novembre 2021 à Mars 2022

Type of cruise

Coastal cruise, to 50 nm



International flights to Auckland.
The climate in New Zealand is generally temperate to oceanic in most of the country. The north of the country is in the humid subtropics. With the austral summer from December to March, the temperatures vary from 15 to 25°C and the sea is around 22°C. The east of the Coromandel Peninsula and the Bay of Plenty are the sunniest regions in the country.


Map of stopovers

Stunning Stopovers

Whaiheke island 

is just a few miles from Auckland and it is the green lung of this vibrant city. With a golf course, vineyards and tastings, a brasserie and high wire adventure course it promises to be an enjoyable stopover. The moorings all around the island offer shelter and quiet no matter the wind’s direction.

The Coromandel Peninsula

85-km long, the Coromandel Peninsula is covered with bays and white-sand beaches, often unspoilt, edged by lush forests. Indented islands such as Mercury Island have many quiet and often deserted anchorages. Some people rank New Chum beach as one of the top 10 most beautiful unspoilt beaches in the world. The region has more to offer though than just relaxing on the sand, with curious geological arches sculpted by the wind and sea at Cathedral Cove and tunnels of limestone rock. The best way to explore the area is by stand-up paddle or kayak, allowing you to weave between the rocks and paddle up estuaries and along the beach, or to Whenuakura, also known as Donut Island, and through a natural tunnel to its stunning inland lagoon.

Surfers will love the various spots, some of which are world famous, such as Whangamata Beach.

This region of New Zealand is known for its geothermal activity and you can enjoy all its healthy effects in the natural hot springs and spas or in the more family oriented Hot Water Springs, on the beach, where you dig your own sand pool, which fills with gushing water at a temperature of up to 65°C!

The rugged mountains of the Coromandel Peninsula have wonderful hiking paths, most of which can be accessed from the mooring sites, and, in particular, the well-known Coromandel Coastal Walkway, which also offers a mountain bike trail for the active among you. This moderately easy trail offers every type of landscape on the Peninsula, high ridge trails overlooking the coast, dense forests, green pastures, beaches and panoramic views of the surrounding islands. If you wish to spend the whole day in the forests and on the inland waterways, culminating in the ascent of stunning smooth rocks, offering a scenic view, the Kauaeranga Kauri Trail and Pinnacles Walk is the one for you.

Whitianga and the Bay of Mercury, where James Cook anchored and, before him, Kupe, the 1st Polynesian explorer, are good places to set out from, for various activities such as visiting the Marine Museum, the Polynesian archaeological site, flying over the Peninsula in a helicopter, hiking as far as the magnificent Lonely Beach, far from the crowds.

Great Barrier Island

Nature reigns supreme here with 60% of the island a nature reserve, producing its own electricity by means of solar panels. The stopover offers sand dunes sculpted by the wind, a natural sheltered harbour, long sandy beaches and secluded bays.

Port Fitzroy, sheltered by the deeply indented coast and the facing Kaikoura Island opposite, features a maze of small inlets in a natural landscape. On one of them, the Glenfern Sanctuary botanical trail is ideal for bird-watching, but there are many other hiking trails lasting a few hours or a few days.

A secret spot? South of Kaitoke Beach, the longest beach of the island; the rocks form a secluded Mermaid Pool. At low tide, you can reach the small island opposite on foot across a spit of sand.

Great Barrier Island has one of the most abundant fish stocks of New Zealand. Big game fishing (catch and release) and diving are recommended.

Great Barrier Island is the first island to be listed as an International Dark Sky Sanctuary, due to an absence of light pollution, making it a dream destination for stargazing, with a sky 10 times brighter than on the main island. A stargazing night can be organized with a guide, using a professional telescope.

The Poor Knights

This group of inhabited islands 90 nautical miles from Auckland is truly magnificent for diving. Commandant Cousteau was well aware of the beauty of its underwater caves, arches and tunnels, considering the Poor Knights to be one of the 10 best diving sites in the world.

Bay of Islands

This gulf, dotted with islands and estuaries, played an important role New Zealand’s history. This is the place where James Cook landed with the first Europeans to settle in 1769. You can still see the oldest buildings in the country here, such as Russel’s church. From the 18th to the 19th century, no fewer than 500 French, Australian and American whalers stopped over in the region of Russel, which was the 1st capital of New Zealand. The Waitangi treaty was also signed in this bay, and, to this day, it still governs the status of New Zealand and the Māori people in relation to the British crown.

This stopover provides a pleasant mix of picturesque villages with good restaurants and unspoilt coastal islands you can explore with the boat’s tender. You will often see dolphins and seals, and, with a little luck, whales and killer whales.

For people keen on geopolitics, the Rainbow Warrior wreck awaits you in Matauri Bay.


Fringed with huge smooth rocks and a dense forest that projects into the sea, this maritime labyrinth is a chance to explore a Māori archaeological site and to take advantage of the small fishermen’s village and the amazing Kauri Cliff Golf Club, one of the top 10 non-American golf courses in the world and certainly the most beautiful in New Zealand. A short distance from there, the Taupo Bay surfing spot provides conditions for all levels.

Karikari Peninsula

and its long deserted white-sand beaches are ideal for kite surfing in the northerly wind. At anchor in Doubtless Bay, Cooper beach edges a glassy sea and is shaded by gnarled trees– perfect for lazing in the sun with the family. A stone’s throw from here is the charming fishermen’s village of Mangonui, reputed for its fish market, which has the best locally-source fish and chips in the world!

30 minutes away by car (optional) is the famous Ninety Mile Beach, a stunning 88 km beach on the windward coast. It is part of the New Zealand road network, and you often see cars and even buses there. In the past, it was also used as a runway for postal aircraft from Australia. At the far north of this very long beach Cape Reinga reaches into the turbulent waters of the Tasmanian Sea to the west where it meets the Pacific Ocean to the east. Why not try sand surfing on the vast sandy dunes nearby and stay dry?

Cruise idea: Coromandel Peninsula

Day 1

Welcome aboard La Surprise! The catamaran is ready and waiting in the marina, right in the centre of the City of Sails, Auckland! It is surrounded by the Harbour Bridge, Sky Tower and the CBD; a typical panorama of the city.

Day 2

Sailing to the Coromandel Peninsula and then a walking on shore, deep in the lush valleys of the Coromandel Forest Park.

Day 3

Exploring the unspoilt Great Mercury Island, with the dilemma of the day being which beach to choose from the fifteen beaches that stretch along its coast! The crystal clear water is perfect for bathing and snorkelling.

Day 4

Setting sail for the legendary limestone arch and white-sand beach of Cathedral Cove! The surrounding coastal area lends itself to exploration in a RIB, kayak or SUP. With a little luck, you will get to see some dolphins.

Day 5

Sailing along the east coast, stopping off at one of the many unspoilt bays to enjoy a day-long trek to the Pinnacles for a scenic view of the whole peninsula.

Day 6

Casting off for Whenuakura, also called Donut Island. Stand-up paddling or kayaking along the beach and then through a natural tunnel leading to the island’s stunning inland lagoon – a magical experience!

Day 7

One of the things you can enjoy on this day is the popular Coromandel Coastal Walkway. This moderately easy trail gives you a glimpse of all the Peninsula’s landscapes, dense forests, green pastures, beaches and scenic views of the surrounding islands. If you are energetic, you can follow the trail on a mountain bike.

A Little History…

Aotearoa, “land of the long white cloud” in Maori, is one of the last islands discovered by men, during the settlements in the Pacific. The Māoris came from the east of Polynesia, between 1200 and 1300 on wakas, large canoes designed for exploring, and founded the various tribes on the North and South Islands. The first tales of European explorers date back to 1642, during a short stopover made by the Dutch vessels of Abel Tasman, Heemskerck and Zeehaen. Then New Zealand is forgotten until 1769 and James Cook’s great voyage of exploration on Endeavour. The British Crown tasked him with mapping the coasts and describing the lands in detail, with a view to eventually colonising them. Later, Cook called in at several ports, when he explored Australia. Dutch mapmakers named it Nova Zeelandia or “new sea land”, after the Dutch province of Zeeland.

New Zealand became independent in 1907, first becoming a Dominion, then gaining full independence in 1947. It is now an independent parliamentary democracy governed by the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, since 2017. The population of nearly 5 million “Kiwis” is mainly of European descent, with the indigenous Māori being the largest minority, followed by Asians and Polynesians from the rest of the Pacific. The official languages are, of course, English, Māori and also sign language. Wellington, the capital, is located to the south of the North Island, but Auckland, in the north, has a larger population and is the country’s economic hub.

… A little culture!

The late 20th century saw a strong resurgence of Māori art, dance and traditional songs, freed from the restrictions imposed by the missionaries. Wood engravings, weaves, tattoos, not to mention the kapa haka, honoured by the All Blacks rugby team, inspire a symbolically rich culture that has continued through the centuries.   

Sports play an important role in the New Zealand’s culture, particularly rugby union, but it is not the only one. New Zealand is one of the world leaders in sailing. The Emirates Team New Zealand won the America’s Cup in 1995, 2000 and 2017.

America’s Cup

In December 2020, February and March 2021, Auckland, known as the City of Sails, will host the legendary race, and be the home of its famous cup, the oldest sports trophy in the world.

New Zealand, the Defender, winner of the last America’s Cup, in Bermuda, in 2017, will defend the cup against the winner of the Prada Cup, raced by the American Stars and Stripes and American Magic, Italian Luna Rossa and English Ineos teams.

The nearly 23-metre long AC 75 monohulls with canting T-wing hydrofoils manoeuvred by 11 crew members per boat promise a breathtaking show.

Experience the spectacular speeds and thrills of these “flying” boats on board La Surprise!

Dates of the events in Auckland:

  • America’s Cup world series (final event): 17 – 20 December 2020
  • Prada Cup: 15 January – 22 February 2021
  • America’s Cup: 6 – 21 March 2021