Cruising

Cruise Notes: The South Pacific

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Enjoyed our stories on chartering in the South Pacific? Learn more about where to go and how to get there.

Time Out in Tonga

Entranced in Tahiti

Whitsunday Magic

The Climate: The South Pacific enjoys a tropical climate year-round. From May to October the weather is cooler and drier, with temperatures in the high 70s; November to April is hurricane season. The prevailing winds are southeasterly trades, making forsmooth westbound journeys.

How to get there: If you’re flying into the South Pacific, Air New Zealand offers low season airfare on flights to Fiji, Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands in April and May. Airfare isn’t cheap, but it is the fastest way to get there.

More great islands: In addition to Tahiti (pg.52), Tonga (pg.54) and the Whitsundays (pg.56), the South Pacific has many more charters gems. Here are a few:

Having earned its fame from the works of several French poets and painters, French Polynesia is rife with geological diversity, from mountains to coral atolls. French Polynesia consists of five islands groups: the Society, Austral, Tuamotu, Gambier and Marquesas islands, each arranged in chains that run northwest to southeast. Dream Yacht Charters, Sunsail and The Moorings all offer charters accessible by flight from Tahiti.

Dream Yacht Charters also has boats in New Caledonia, about 1,000 miles from Australia. Melanesian, French, Polynesian and Asian cultures blend to make New Caledonia truly unique. There are a number of direct flights into La Tontouta International Airport from the U.S. or New Zealand (Air New Zealand and Air France both route there), or you can take a flight from Tahiti.

Fiji is closer to the equator than many of the other South Pacific islands, which makes it slightly warmer year-round. Paradise Adventures & Cruises offers charters out of Nadi, also home to Fiji’s international airport where you can take direct flights from L.A., Auckland or Australia.

The sheltered waters of The Bay Of Islands in New Zealand offer an easy and relaxing charter vacation. There is something different to do on each island—snorkel, hike, enjoy the beach. The Moorings offers charters out of Opua, only a few miles from Kerikeri Airport. Air New Zealand offers five flights a day between Auckland and Kerikeri.

Sailors who visit Vanuatu will be enchanted by its many natural wonders—from waterfalls and hot springs to caves and cliffs. The capital, Port Vila, has glamorous shops and casinos, but the villages just over the horizon have plenty of traditional charm. The smaller islands are no more than 40 miles apart, and while there are few docks anywhere besides Port Vila, the anchorages are safe and protected. Paradise Adventures offers charters out of Port Vila, which is accessible by air from Auckland.

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