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Old 18-07-2014, 15:10   #1
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Oz or Nz as a 'Layover Destination'

Hi fellow sailors and cruisers.

To be sure, I do not want to create an awkward situation here between the wonderful Australian and New Zealand friends we have met. Simply put, we are cruising and want to find a destination to avoid hurricane season possibly toward the years end.

Years ago I cruised around the Whitsundays and found it a 'treasure' so have been keen to head for there. Most cruising friends are going for NZ as they say the authorities are way too strict in Oz whilst others I know who have been to Oz say it is the other way around.

Could we get some assistance from our fellow cruisers here on CF since we are wondering what the pro's and con's are for this time of year.

Also, we do not like to rent campers and travel on land ... we want to cruise about with our boat and not be tied for months in a marina somewhere.

Your advice please!
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Old 18-07-2014, 15:38   #2
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Re: Oz or Nz as a 'layover destination'

It's a very long time since I was in NZ so I can only really comment on Oz. My family did come from NZ many years ago.

"Years ago I cruised around the Whitsundays and found it a 'treasure' so have been keen to head for there. Most cruising friends are going for NZ as they say the authorities are way too strict in Oz whilst others I know who have been to Oz say it is the other way around."
I've boated, flown and driven through, around and over the Whitsundays for many years. It's a great place to boat as you already know.
NZ and Australia are very similar culturally so I would be surprised to find major differences between government procedures in either and Oz.
The only significant difference that comes to mind is the need to give advance notice of your arrival (my impression is that multiple notifications may be desirable) in Australia and to ensure that you arrive at a port where you can clear in. Do check correct procedures as they do change from time to time and don't rely on a single source of information.

"Could we get some assistance from our fellow cruisers here on CF since we are wondering what the pro's and con's are for this time of year."
Queensland is usually great this time of year but it's been an unusually cold winter so far.

"Also, we do not like to rent campers and travel on land ... we want to cruise about with our boat and not be tied for months in a marina somewhere."
I've found that relying on dinghy access for supply etc. seriously cramps my style. In quite a few places the marina is the only good place to stop.
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Old 18-07-2014, 16:23   #3
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Re: Oz or Nz as a 'layover destination'

If the intent is to avoid hurricane season, the Whitsundays is probably not your destination of choice in oz. Better to be south of Capricorn.

But there is some great cruising to be had, all the way down to Tasmania.

I haven't sailed to NZ, but from talking to people who have, it seems the passage from the pacific into Aus is likely to be easier. Certainly it's shorter, so you're more likely to have a good weather window.

We had absolutely no problems with customs and immigration officials. Easy to deal with and professional. Prior notification is necessary, although not difficult. Make sure you receive an e-mail reply and keep it. And also endeavour to enter on a weekday. They charge double time on weekends!

The info can be found here: Travelling by boat

Unlike Boracay, we've found reprovisioning by dinghy to be pretty easy in most places. There are usually shops in easy walking distances from the water, in most waterfront towns. In a usual year, we'd spend less than a week in marinas.
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Old 18-07-2014, 16:30   #4
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Re: Oz or Nz as a 'layover destination'

Theres really only one place in the world for New Years Eve...

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Old 18-07-2014, 17:29   #5
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Re: Oz or Nz as a 'layover destination'

Impi, how can one choose between two great cruising destinations? Flip a coin?

We've spent considerable time in both countries, and enjoyed both enormously. As to formalities, NZ is easier and definitely less expensive (unless travelling with pets, then I'm not sure). The AQIS quarantine inspection in Oz costs 330AUD (last time we entered) IF you clear during their definition of normal working hours: 8-4, M-F. All other times attract overtime charges which at least double that already high figure. If you have been in areas they regard as being infested with a certain type of termite, they will want to examine your boat for these critters. This can be expensive in itself, and if they are found, fumigation is required, and that is definitely expensive. On the other hand, if you had them, it would be a good thing to rid the boat of those destructive pests. Some folks find these facts to be enough to avoid Oz, but really, unless infested, the costs are not so big in the overall costs of cruising. AFAIK, NZ still does not have any costs associated with clearance.

Another fact: Oz has a very high cost of living in general. It has been too long since we've been in Nz to compare, but scuttlebut says NZ is cheaper. Their dollar keeps getting stronger, so that may be less true than in previous times.

But, those boring details aside, we have spent the last 20 cyclone seasons in Oz. Lots of different places, but 11 of them in Tasmania... an extraordinary cruising ground IMO. Other years were spent cruising on the East coast, mostly moving about in a random fashion, sometimes stopping for more serious boat work. There is always something interesting to find or do, and the Aussies, despite speaking a strange language, are very welcoming to Yanks... we've made so many good friends here that it seems very much like home to us now.

Oh... I see that you are a multi-huller... Oz is mh crazy, and you will find many fellow fanatics (oops, I mean enthusiasts), as well as a vast cruising area inside the great reef that is tailor made for cats. One could hardly do better in that sense.

Finally, about the Whitsunday Island area in cyclone season: what are you thinking here? They are most definitely in the cyclone area, and have been hit several times in the past few years... lots of boat damage in the area. One might as well stay in the islands for the season as to go to the Whitsundays. And while they are a very popular charter area here, once you have cruised through the Pacific islands they won't seem so special (IMO)... nice, but not outstanding, and pretty damn crowded as well. The outer reefs are indeed special, however...

So there you have my opinions, worth just what you paid for them. But, speaking of paying, well, we have voted our dollars to be spent in Oz rather than NZ, but I'm sure that we would have had a bloody good time if we had remained in the island-to-NZ orbit as well. So, its back to flipping a coin!

Happy to answer any specific queries, too...

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 19-07-2014, 06:12   #6
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Re: Oz or Nz as a 'layover destination'

These responses have definitely been helpful - thank you!

When one speaks about Australia being more expensive than NZ ... are we talking in general or are we referring to sailing as a reference?

Are there 'arrival expenses' for example, cruising permits and / or other?

Where are the best areas to be over a hurricane season and are these beautiful cruising grounds?

I understand from fellow cruisers who are in NZ that on account of cold weather they are a bit 'landlocked' and are renting campers to see the country ... this is not our style. Also, they tell me the costs are steep for not much sailing at the time of year.

We like to anchor in bays and are NOT marina people ... love the fresh air flowing through hatches and so on ... question ... are both countries still 'anchor friendly' and open to sailors exploring and dropping the pick most places?
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Old 19-07-2014, 18:27   #7
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Re: Oz or Nz as a 'layover destination'

Quote:
Originally Posted by impi View Post
These responses have definitely been helpful - thank you!

When one speaks about Australia being more expensive than NZ ... are we talking in general or are we referring to sailing as a reference?
********
Oz, as I mentioned, has a generally high cost of living. For the visitor, this means high food costs, high marina costs (if required), high labour costs (if required). I can't comment on current costs in NZ.
********
Are there 'arrival expenses' for example, cruising permits and / or other?
***********
Arrival costs for Oz are defined in my last post.
*********
Where are the best areas to be over a hurricane season and are these beautiful cruising grounds?
**********
Hmmm... I thought that I mentioned that TAsmania is a great and beautiful cruising ground. There are other nice areas all up and down the East Coast of Oz. NZ too has (many) beautiful areas, for it is a most scenic country.
********
I understand from fellow cruisers who are in NZ that on account of cold weather they are a bit 'landlocked' and are renting campers to see the country ... this is not our style. Also, they tell me the costs are steep for not much sailing at the time of year.

We like to anchor in bays and are NOT marina people ... love the fresh air flowing through hatches and so on ... question ... are both countries still 'anchor friendly' and open to sailors exploring and dropping the pick most places?
********
Oz has virtually no anchoring restrictions, save in Sydney Harbour where visitors have to scramble to find good places to hang out. We too live at anchor except for major boat jobs or leaving the boat for extended periods. Haven't had problems with this anywhere on the East Coast or Tassie.
********
Impi, many of the questions that you ask are so dependent upon your own tastes and preferences that it seems silly to answer. What is beautiful to me may be very ordinary to you. A little searching on Google Earth will show some views of anchorages all up and down the coast. You decide...

Jim
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Old 19-07-2014, 18:43   #8
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Question Re: Oz or Nz as a 'layover destination'

Quote:
Originally Posted by impi View Post
Hi fellow sailors and cruisers.

To be sure, I do not want to create an awkward situation here between the wonderful Australian and New Zealand friends we have met. Simply put, we are cruising and want to find a destination to avoid hurricane season possibly toward the years end.

Years ago I cruised around the Whitsundays and found it a 'treasure' so have been keen to head for there. Most cruising friends are going for NZ as they say the authorities are way too strict in Oz whilst others I know who have been to Oz say it is the other way around.

Could we get some assistance from our fellow cruisers here on CF since we are wondering what the pro's and con's are for this time of year.

Also, we do not like to rent campers and travel on land ... we want to cruise about with our boat and not be tied for months in a marina some where.

Your advice please!
Hi

We are Australian so this may be a biased view. Yes authorities are strict in both countries, but if you do the right thing - all will be well. You need to go on the web and see what quarantine are targeting, but the usual commodities like fresh produce, meat, honey, popcorn and egg products are taken. They will inspect for termites and drugs and check over baskets, shells and wooden artifacts.

Do not arrive in Aus after 5.00pm on a Friday as charges are doubled on the weekend. Our insurance company likes us to be further south than the Whitsundays during cyclone season and we usually enjoy cruising Tasmania at this time. This next year will be an added bonus as the Wooden Boat Festival takes place in February in Hobart and it has become a world renowned festival where lots of cruisers gather.

The NSW coast has lots of barred entrances which can put some cruisers off, but are fine if the usual care is taken re tides.

Both countries have great cruising and very friendly folk so enjoy whatever you decide.
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Old 19-07-2014, 19:16   #9
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Re: Oz or Nz as a 'layover destination'

It may not matter to impi, but after a few years in the tropics, I found NZ to feel chilly, by comparison to what our bodies were used to.

Yes, there are places to anchor out, both in Australia and NZ. Their beauty is different, and neither is like tropical "paradises".

As Sapient Sue wrote, if you plan to come to Australia, you would be wise to plan your arrival for between 8 am and 4pm M-F to avoid double or triple time fees from the quarantine service. No particular fees I am aware of for cruising permits.

Sue mentioned Tasmania, they have beautiful cruising grounds there, for sure, but so does New Zealand. One reason people buy a car and sell it, is that it is feasible to car tour NZ and see everything, and still cruise much of it. Definitely a plus value. Those guys should not mark their scenic outlooks, but the lack of them: they'd save a bundle on signs! We did buy a car when we were there, and it did greatly increase our enjoyment to car tour there. We have hired cars twice in Australia, too. Not something we do often, though. NZed is only little, Australia is huge. And geographically, I find the coasts more interesting than the deserts.

Ann
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Old 19-08-2014, 03:09   #10
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Re: Oz or Nz as a 'layover destination'

NZ is definitely going to feel a lot cooler than Queensland, even NSW, but never as chilly as Tassie. I was in Hobart December last year, freezing, then a bit warmer, then ridiculously hot, over 40C.???? Then the bush fires. But really beautiful, especially Wineglass Bay.
But NZ has some of the best cruising in the world. Not the warmth of the whitsundays but many more beautiful anchorages. I have cruised the coast from Tauranga to Cape Reinga for the last 30 years, and still marvel at the beautiful new places I find.

Entry is easy, 48 hours notice is essential. Ssb to Taupo radio, or VHF when near enough.
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Old 19-08-2014, 05:32   #11
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Re: Oz or Nz as a 'layover destination'

We have been to both places.

I would chose Australia: better weather, more to see, easier access.

We did not find Australian formalities nor their administration too strict. The formalities are clearly laid out on their websites, their authorities are courteous and effective.

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Old 19-08-2014, 05:53   #12
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Re: Oz or Nz as a 'layover destination'

We spent 2 seasons in NZ and one in OZ. Both great choices.
I am not sure how much you want to sail, but we sailed around New Zealand from January to early April. It's an incredible trip that few cruisers NZ cruisers do, but if you have the time to stay in safe anchorages during gales you can have a great trip. Just one more idea....
Here is some info from our trip in 2012: New Zealand Circumnavigation
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Old 19-08-2014, 06:04   #13
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Re: Oz or Nz as a 'layover destination'

There are no hurricanes in South Queensland down to south eastern Australia.

Australia isn't really more expensive than NZ, the NZ dollar is worth much less, but things are priced higher, so it works out similarly.

Lots of places to visit in Australia, however there are far more boats / yachts per head of popultation in New Zealand so in theory you can expect better facilities.

Enjoy!
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Old 29-08-2014, 06:56   #14
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Re: Oz or Nz as a 'Layover Destination'

I live and sail in and around the Gold Coast in Australia. I believe our area to be still anchor friendly. For example you can stay at places like Bums Bay (behind SeaWorld) for at least a week probably much longer ,providing no special events are scheduled. A short 15 minute walk and you are at a bus stop that will let you travel around the Coast. Haul out facilities 10 minutes at the SYC or about one hour to the Coomera Marine Precinct.The GC area will make you feel a bit like you are back home Canals and many high speed craft in the summer. There are also too many anchorages to mention traveling north along South and North Stradbroke Is then Morton Island and Fraser Island. These large sand barrier islands of the Queensland coast offer mostly smooth water sailing, and uncrowded anchorages as you sail further North. The islands are sparsely populated so don't expect a grocery store around each corner.
Cheers Tom
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Old 29-08-2014, 16:49   #15
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Re: Oz or Nz as a 'Layover Destination'

impi,

Maybe you can see both, then decide for yourself which is more to your liking. Divide your time equally between the two destinations, however much you have.

Ann
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