The Sail from New Zealand to Australia

I am still recovering from the sail from New Zealand to Australia. It was one of our longest passages and a challenging trip. The good news is we made it, and are now basking in the warm sun in Australia!

The Route from New Zealand to Australia

Our sail from New Zealand to Australia covered over 1200 nautical miles. We departed from Bay of Islands Marina in Opua, New Zealand aiming for Southport Yacht Club in Gold Coast, Australia.

Map sailing from New Zealand to Australia
Our route across the Tasman from New Zealand to Australia

Our route took us from the Pacific Ocean north up the east coast of New Zealand and then west along the north of New Zealand into the Tasman Sea to Australia. The Tasman Sea, known as “The Ditch” in sailing circles, is infamously rough due to the currents of the Southern Ocean colliding with those of the Pacific. So yes, we expected rough wind and waves and that’s what we got.

Rough Seas

From the first day until near the end of our passage, the waves were like a washing machine. Also known as confused seas, the waves came from every direction. To make it even more uncomfortable, there was no break between waves. The incessant confused waves made me sick a few times the first night and next morning, and I continued to feel sick for a couple more days. It wasn’t until late on the third day that I felt human enough to spend time inside the boat and to eat anything besides crackers.

A rainbow on the sail from New Zealand to Australia
We saw a few rainbows on the passage.
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We’re Sailing to Australia

After over six months exploring beautiful New Zealand, we’re sailing to Australia. It’s always hard to leave a place as welcoming and wonderful as New Zealand has been, but we’ll always have the memories, photos, and friendships we’ve made here. After short hops in New Zealand, the Go crew is ready for the next voyage.

rear view from our sailboat, islands, wake
We’re leaving New Zealand behind and sailing to Australia

Why We’re Sailing to Australia

We are going to Australia for a few reasons.

First, we have a few friends living there who we want to see. Friends we met our first year cruising, and friends we met in Panama. Second, all the things to see and do in Australia, including great sailing, beautiful reefs, and great wildlife. We’ll finally see kangaroos and koalas! Last, we’ve never been there. But now we’re sailing to Australia and should be there soon.

Our cat is the reason we’re going straight to Australia non-stop. Having Domino on board was easy until we got to Fiji, when it got ridiculously difficult. Ever since last July, we have to go through bureaucratic hoops to make sure Domino is allowed in country.

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Our Campervan in New Zealand

We bought a campervan! One of our goals in New Zealand is to drive the whole country, north and south, and freedom camping is the way to go. We bought the campervan, a Toyota Hiace, within a week of arriving. It’s a little old so Brian did a lot of work sprucing up our campervan in New Zealand.

We haven’t gone campervanning since Iceland so this is going to be an adventure! But before we really hit the road, here’s details on our campervan in New Zealand.

Buying a Campervan in New Zealand

Yes, we could have rented a campervan, but bought instead because we will be using it for months. We want to drive all over the north and south islands over a few months, so buying seemed more practical and hopefully economical as we want to sell it when we’re done.

Because so many people want to drive around the country, there are lots of campervans here. When people arrive, they buy, and when they leave the country, they sell. As a result, there are many ways to find a campervan to buy in New Zealand. We found ours at the weekly Auckland car market. Other ways of finding cars and campervans are through numerous Facebook groups and Trademe.com.

car market, Auckland, New Zealand
Busy car market in Auckland
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Living Aboard in Whangarei

We sailed from Fiji to New Zealand in early November. After checking in at Marsden Cove and completing the formalities, we moved up the river to the Whangarei Town Basin marina. Here’s what it was like spending almost two months living aboard in Whangarei.

About Whangarei

Whangarei is not pronounced how it looks. Unless you speak Maori. In that case you know that the WH is pronounced as F, so it’s pronounced Fang-Ah-Ray.

We enjoyed living aboard in Whangarei. It’s the biggest town in the Northland region of New Zealand, with all the amenities we’ve missed since Tahiti. Whangarei’s population is almost 57,000 and it is 155km north of Auckland, which is said to have almost 1.7mm people.

marina, town basin Whangarei
The marina and town basin in Whangarei

The Town Basin Marina is located on the Hatea river and is walkable to groceries, shops, restaurants and more.

The supermarket across the street is huge and overwhelmingly good. After being in Tonga, where you couldn’t get basic rice, and Fiji, with no cat food or kitty litter, we consider New Zealand the land of plenty. On our first visit to the supermarket, we were overjoyed upon seeing the varieties of lettuce, berries, and yogurt, and the glow hasn’t faded. It doesn’t hurt that we arrived in springtime.

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Top Things to Do in Savusavu Fiji

Savusavu is a convenient entry port for sailors coming west to Fiji, and it’s where we made landfall after Tonga. While our check-in experience wasn’t the best, we had a great time in this part of Fiji. If you ever get to Fiji by air or boat, don’t miss my top things to do in Savusavu.

About Savusavu, Fiji

Located on the southeast coast of Vabua Levu, Fiji’s second biggest island, Savusavu is best known for its volcanic hot springs and coastal waters. The population is small, only a few thousand people, but the town is bustling! With good restaurants and shops for provisioning, it’s a great stop for sailors, especially after the lack of choice in Tonga.

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