Sailing Around Auckland

Auckland is known as The City of Sails. So many boats sail and anchor in the waters around New Zealand’s biggest city. The islands and bays near Auckland are some great cruising grounds. We enjoyed sailing around Auckland.

Auckland city from the water
Auckland city from the water

Getting to Auckland by Boat

We sailed from Fiji to Whangarei, New Zealand in November, and spent a few months in the marina there. With friends on board in late December, we took our catamaran to several anchorages before berthing in Auckland for a couple of nights.

The anchorages were varied except for a few things: they were all beautiful, very busy with mostly Kiwi boats, and had good holding. Finding a place to anchor is easy. Being a liveaboard is relatively painless when you’re sailing around Auckland.

sailing around Auckland map
The waterways between Whangarei and around Auckland

We spent most of our time motoring or motor sailing around Auckland. The winds were not strong, but they were mostly with us, at least. We chose not to sail further south because the winds get a lot stronger, and further south there are nowhere near as many places to anchor.

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Auckland Favorites

We don’t normally get to spend large chunks of time in big cities on the boat, so we tried to maximize every minute in Auckland, New Zealand’s biggest city. Our conclusion: we could live there! Auckland is a vibrant cosmopolitan city with a lot to offer, from museums to excursions to food. This post details our Auckland favorites.

About Auckland

I thought it was the capital, but that’s Wellington, at the southern end of the North Island. Instead, Auckland is New Zealand’s most populated city, with nearly 1.7 million people.

Located in the north of the North Island, Auckland is on a narrow isthmus between two large harbors and is known as The City of Sails. With it’s waterfront location, Auckland is home to beautiful beaches, waterfront trails, fish markets, and scores of sailboats. It’s also based around multiple volcanos, great for hiking.

Auckland Harbor
Auckland from the water
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Tuamotus Favorites

We spent a few months in the Tuamotus, and would gladly return, because the water is beautiful and the living is easy. We visited several islands in the archipelago, enjoying our experiences in each. Read on for our Tuamotus favorites: where to anchor and eat and fun activities to enjoy.

Favorite Anchorages

This is for the sailors out there, and is based on our limited knowledge of only a handful of motus. We barely scratched the surface in this archipelago. Still, we can’t talk about our Tuamotus favorites without mentioning our favorite spots to stay on the boat for a while and these are definitely worth mentioning.

anchorage, sailboats, Fakarava, Tuamotus
Boats at anchor in Hirifa, Fakarava

Hirifa, Fakarava

Hirifa is paradise for liveaboards. It has almost everything a cruiser needs: good internet, calm water for swimming and paddling, nice beaches for chill time, and for the kiteboarders, a sandbar for launching and consistent winds. Friends spent so much time there, they started a cruisers net.

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Top Sights in Villa De Leyva Colombia

An absolutely beautiful town, Villa de Leyva is just a couple hours from Bogota. After enjoying the best of Bogota, make the drive north and spend a few days enjoying the top sights in Villa de Leyva.

Villa de LLeyva region views
Villa de Lleyva region views

About Villa de Leyva

Villa de Leyva is a heritage town in Colombia with cobblestone streets leading to its massive square. With churches and government buildings dating back to the 17th century, the town is a National Monument of Colombia.

A popular weekend destination from Bogota, the top sights in Villa de Leyva draw tourists from outside the country too.

TIP: A top weekend getaway from Bogota, arrive in Villa de Leyva on Sunday or a weekday. You will have the place almost to yourself!

The Plaza Mayor

One of the most majestic town squares we’ve seen is in Villa de Leyva. It’s huge, especially for a small town. The buildings surrounding the square are impressive colonial style buildings dating back a few centuries. The square is a place where locals gather, children play, and everyone relaxes.

The square is home to numerous restaurants, bars, and a couple of breweries. Sometimes musicians play to the patrons of a cafe while everyone nearby can enjoy.

A local musician playing a popular Colombian song which we didn’t know but everyone else did!

We returned a few times to one local brewery where they shared samples and let us wander the square with our craft beers.

Villa de Leyva plaza mayor at dusk
The plaza mayor at dusk
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South Africa’s Garden Route

South Africa’s garden route is beautiful and world renowned as a great road trip. We drove from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, with stops in between, and the views were gorgeous.

About South Africa’s Garden Route

Technically, The Garden Route begins west of Stellenbosch, our first stop after Cape Town, and runs from Mossel Bay in the west to Storms River in the east, so we covered that and then some.

South Africa's Garden Route map
Garden Route map

Between Stellenbosch and Port Elizabeth, there are a lot of beautiful stops to make!

Oak Valley Wines

Oak Valley Estate on South Africa's Garden Route
Nice view with some wine at Oak Valley

Oak Valley was one of those fortuitous stops along South Africa’s garden route because we needed a break from the car. Plus, we had driven to the fringes of the wine region, and we wanted to visit another winery while we could. This was a good choice: the estate has beautiful grounds and some nice wines too!

On the way back to the highway, we stopped at an incredible “farm stand”/tourist attraction, where we stocked up on picnic foods and local craft cider.

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