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Old 21-07-2015, 11:24   #31
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Re: Can we get the low down on Opua and Whangarei NZ?

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Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
I just made that up... forget that I said it.. you don't happen to work for the tax department by any chance?
NZ is a small place. So oddly enough I am a contract IT consultant, and my main client the last few years has been the IRD. When there I am based at the Asteron Centre in Wellington. And I'm between contracts at the moment so far too much time on my hand. I might go sailing later today.


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Originally Posted by Dave852 View Post
Your boat will be zero rated under your foreign boat cruising permit meaning that all purchases made for the boat will have a gst refund. Not sure if you could claim marina fees though.
The statement above is what I was trying to say about GST when I stated ‘And yes you will need to pay our local 15% GST. Basically exemptions are only given for the goods you will take out of the country on departure. ‘

I was making a simplified generalisation, and that I knew wasn’t totally accurate. But the circumstances where a claim for a GST refund were approved for the costs such as berth and haul out and repair charges etc would have to be justified by at least a potential threat to the safety of the vessel or its crew.

So in respect to the GST. I feel that Tauranga Bridge Marina is being somewhat optimistic in the statement that berth fees will be refunded. Certainly all vessels will receive a Temporary Import Entry Certificate when clearing Customs at entry. But the goods and services qualifying for GST exemption are usually limited to what can be carried away again when the vessel clears Customs upon departure. But by all means apply for everything you can, you just never know.

This is a somewhat specialised area of tax law interpretation obviously. I do know IRD work very hard to ensure their interpretation is fair and consistent. What I’d hate to think is that you guys cruisers visiting us here in NZ might think our tax laws are applied like they have been in Greece. Well heck no. GST is very seriously policed and the penalties for breach are severe. And I guess too, because the country is small people such as El Pinguino often get caught out.

I recall going to a party some years ago. We were standing around chatting away to people in a little group as you do. One of the chaps was boasting about how successful his business was going and as a result how he’d bought this and that. But he was dumb and started talking about how he was doing all this cash under the table stuff. Eventually the talk moved to others in the group, and ultimately a chap named Pete B was asked ‘and what do you do for a living Pete?’ And Pete, without a blink of an eye replied, “I work for Inland Revenue and I’ll be calling you on Monday”. That instance was so typically New Zealand. Small place where everyone knows everyone's business.

Here’s the relevant information from NZ Inland Revenue:
Supplies to foreign-based pleasure craft
Goods supplied for use on a foreign-based pleasure craft that cause or enable the craft to sail, or goods that ensure the safety of passengers and crew, can be zero-rated. This applies to foreign-based pleasure craft that are in New Zealand under a temporary import entry issued by the New Zealand Customs Service (Customs).
The supply of consumable stores for use outside New Zealand on foreign-based pleasure craft departing New Zealand can be zero-rated. The zero-rating applies to the final provisioning of consumable stores. Foreign-based pleasure craft are defined as those pleasure craft in New Zealand as temporary imports under Customs legislation.
Consumable stores are those goods that passengers and crew on board intend to consume, and those necessary to operate or maintain the pleasure craft, including fuel and lubricants but excluding spare parts and equipment.
Before zero-rating, a supplier of maritime goods and consumable stores must be satisfied that the goods and stores are for a foreign-based pleasure craft, and that the craft is departing New Zealand.
Additional information
Tax Information Bulletin (TIB) Vol 13, No 11 (November 2001).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
teneicm,

One other port to consider is Tauranga. People used to go there to do work on their boats, there's a town, and hence, you can get groceries.
Ann
Come on Ann, should you be suggesting places no can even pronounce? But seriously I quite agree, Tauranga (Maori sort of meaning landing place) is probably the best choice for a visiting cruiser. It’s more sort of central to NZ in general. It’s a decent sized city with a wide range of products and services and especially geared for the marine industry for both commercial and recreational. It’s a really pretty place and the weather is better than the far north. There’s a huge cruising area around Coromandel with some of the most beautiful beaches in the South Pacific. I think too the pace of life is slower there. It’s hugely popular for kiwis to retire to Tauranga. I certainly would hope too that you’d find people there are, as a rule, friendly and helpful.

It’s not too much further to sail down to Tauranga on your way from Tonga or Fiji. It’s about 150 nm from off the coast of Opua to Tauranga. There are lots of places to anchor up. I think there are just the two marinas there. But from memory I believe there are also several yacht clubs providing moorings too. Here’s a link to Tauranga Bridge Marina charges.
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Old 21-07-2015, 13:02   #32
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Re: Can we get the low down on Opua and Whangarei NZ?

Both of the marinas I've asked for slip pricing, one in Whangeria(sp) and the other in Auckland, have noted that the costs would be without a GST fee as we had a TIP.
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Old 21-07-2015, 13:02   #33
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Re: Can we get the low down on Opua and Whangarei NZ?

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Originally Posted by grantmc View Post

Here’s the relevant information from NZ Inland Revenue:
[I]Supplies to foreign-based pleasure craft
Goods supplied for use on a foreign-based pleasure craft that cause or enable the craft to sail, or goods that ensure the safety of passengers and crew, can be zero-rated. This applies to foreign-based pleasure craft that are in New Zealand under a temporary import entry issued by the New Zealand Customs Service (Customs).
Well that explains that then..... while on the hard stand under overhaul the cost of the hard standing can be considered part of the overhaul.

Tauranga Bridge Marina is within walking distance of shops.... if you are fit. Pronunciation ? On the TV weather these days Taupo is 'toe paw' and I'm always getting picked up for calling Tauranga 'Tronga'...
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Old 21-07-2015, 13:36   #34
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Re: Can we get the low down on Opua and Whangarei NZ?

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Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
Both of the marinas I've asked for slip pricing, one in Whangeria(sp) and the other in Auckland, have noted that the costs would be without a GST fee as we had a TIP.
Interesting. Without knowing your circumstances Paul I can't comment on whether it is appropriate for GST to be charged or not. Not sure what is meant by a TIP?

But I will say this. It is the responsibility of the seller to collect and account for all their sales (not the customer). Every dollar of zero rated GST needs to be justified. If it turns out that the seller should have charged GST and they didn't, they'll be assessed for that GST and still have to pay it. Plus they might receive a fine or worse.

In NZ you'll often see businesses advertising something 'GST free'. All it really means is that the business is providing a discount of 15%. That's quite legitimate, but the firm still pays GST on the discounted price.
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Old 21-07-2015, 13:51   #35
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Re: Can we get the low down on Opua and Whangarei NZ?

FYI, the Whangarei Marina also gives prices for both domestic and foreign boats:

Prices | Whangarei Marina

Thanks for all the info... can't wait to get back to NZ!
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Old 22-07-2015, 03:54   #36
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Re: Can we get the low down on Opua and Whangarei NZ?

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Originally Posted by teneicm View Post
Hello-

We're still in Bora Bora, but starting to think about later this year and where we should aim for in New Zealand. We hope to cruise a number of places on the North Island, but we will need a "base" to work out of for a few months while we do some boat projects and have some family come for visits. Has anyone been to both Opua and Whangarei and can give us their thoughts on which may be better for us? We prefer to stay out at anchor. We don't need restaurants, but a market within walking distance is preferred (won't have a car). Whangerei looks to be the larger town, but are there any anchoring opportunities?

Thanks- Matt

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Hi Matt,
I am a resident of Whangarei, and we keep our boat at Opua. Opua is a better shot if you prefer anchoring out. There is very limited scope for anchoring in Whangarei anywhere near the town. Basically there is the Town Basin which only has marina berths and some pile moorings and then further down river there is very limited anchoring near the commercial shipyards. Even access to the river bank is now very limited. I know people love the proximity to city centre at the Town Basin, but alas they need to be on a marina or pile mooring to enjoy that. Also as a recent case shows the local council get concerned with people staying more than (I think) 3 weeks at a time on anchor at any one place. Having said that, for greater choice for repairs and maintenance Whangarei gives better scope being the larger centre. If you decide to anchor in Whangarei, there is no market close.

I suggest that you visit both centres and then you will find the right fit, perhaps clear customs at Opua, stay awhile then venture on to Whangarei.
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Old 22-07-2015, 04:07   #37
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Re: Can we get the low down on Opua and Whangarei NZ?

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Originally Posted by exMaggieDrum View Post
We were last in Whangarei in 2008 so our experience is very dated. We did spend two cyclone seasons there and we loved it. Opua is beautiful but isolated and services are indeed very limited. But people love staying there too.

Not sure where the one poster anchored for 5 months in Whangarei since we did not see anyone doing so and couldn't imagine where that might be. It certainly would not be encouraged as moorings fill any nearby coves and the river is only navigable in the dredged channel for almost the entire length. It is several miles to the river bar to Whangarei.

We stayed at Riverside Drive Marina just down from the town basin at the very end of the river. Our moorage was on a dock so we walked on and off the boat rather than having to use the dink to get to shore as you would at the town basin. The town basin was somewhat cheaper though and closer to the town center by foot. Easy walking distance to all stores from the marina too. We bought a car and kept it for two years. Not sure what was meant by the comment that Whangarei is not a normal NZ town. It certainly appeared pretty normal compared to all the other towns we visited over the two seasons we traveled there.

There is a new marina just inside the river entrance near the oil refinery there. They may have slips available (or not) but they would be isolated too and you would want a car or be willing to use the bus to get in to town about 10 miles away. Too far to dink. Other mooring fields are private in the various bays that line the river.

We certainly would love to revisit Whangarei but we would also spend some time in Opua as well. You definitely would need an advance reservation to stay in the RDM. The town basin used to be first come first serve and there was some turnover during the season.
All of what you say MaggieDrum is still valid. The new marina just inside the harbour mouth by the oil refinery is Marsden Cove Marina and I have never seen it full yet. Latest I heard is that a travel lift will be operating there shortly (sorry can't be more specific) It also has customs clearing there now. A few yachts anchor just outside the channel near the commercial port area of Whangarei but it is quite a hike into town from there, and I think liveaboard is discouraged as there are no facilities near except the haulout and hardstand at Norsand Boat Yard. Not even the easiest to beach a dinghy without disappearing in mud to thighs!
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Old 22-07-2015, 04:20   #38
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Re: Can we get the low down on Opua and Whangarei NZ?

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Originally Posted by grantmc View Post
An easy way to get an idea of what you might be coming to is to jump on Google Earth and take a look. Opua, Whangarei and Auckland are all situated in very large areas of harbour.

Opua is situated in the Bay of Islands. The Bay of Islands has something like 300 km of coast line and contains, I think, nearly 150 islands of every shape and size one might imagine. There are a few very small villages doted about, Keri Keri, Pahia, Russel, Okiato, Waitangi. They are all little villages with a few hundred people. Scattered throughout the wider Bay of Islands are thousands of holiday homes joined together by terrible winding narrow roads.. There are so many places to safely anchor in the Bay of Islands that you could live there for years, at anchor, changing location every week or two and still not see it all.

The Bay of Islands is Auckland’s playground. Dotted throughout are homes, many are beautiful homes for the ultra wealthy. So flying helicopters are, sadly, a regular feature. But the majority are shacks (what New Zealander’s call a bach). The locals living there are mostly poor, or they’ve tuned out of modern society. The vast majority live on welfare.

Whangarei is actually a very very large natural harbour fed by numerous rivers. At the head of the harbour lies the Hatea River where the city of Whangarei itself exists, built around the river entrance. There’s nothing particularly attractive about Whangarei city. As New Zealand cities go it has a large degree of unemployment and nearly half of the population live on benefits. Graffiti, crime, drugs, gangs is my mental picture of Whangarei city. I’m sure people living there would disagree with me but the Northland region (basically the area north of Auckland) has all sorts of problems from lack of development, get rich quick schemes, minimal industry.

From the 'heads of the harbour (where the oil refinery someone mentioned is) to the Riverside Marina in the Hatea River, right smack dab in the heart of Whangarei city is a 10 nm trip. Along the way there are numerous places you can safely anchor. It is quite tidal and there are huge areas of tidal flats. But there’s also considerable safe water and many lovely places to drop the pick.

Auckland itself was built right smack dab in the midst of an isthmus, which on the east lies the Pacific Ocean and the west the Tasman Sea. Again numerous rivers, hills, valleys bays and. dare I say it volcanoes. Auckland has 3,100 kms of coastline. It’s huge physically, but it also is a sprawling city, where a third of New Zealand’s population live.

In all three locations there are many many places you can safely and legally live on the hook. There are no anchor Police in New Zealand unless you’re stupid and anchor in a shipping lane. You can expect the occasional visit from a harbour or fisheries ranger. They’ll be asking if you have sewage facilities and be interested that you might be exceeding fishing limits. Mainly they’re interested in ensuring you know the rules.

My personal guide to anchoring is to usually anchor where there are moorings. The moorings are typically in more sheltered spots with reasonable holding.

Worth pointing out too is that in New Zealand no one can buy the seashore. It is always public. And we have what is called the Queen’s Chain (we were an English colony). That means that land ownership can only start 22 metres/yards above the high water mark. Even at privately owned islands you aren’t prevent you from anchoring. The only exception to this are Government reserves typically for endangered species but they are clearly sign posted.

In order to decide where to go you need to consider what it is you’ll need and what is your taste. If you want an exciting city life, then Auckland no question, but no matter where you anchor up you’ll have hundreds of houses looking out at you. Transport around Auckland is horrendously congested. Public transport is sadly lacking, and geared almost entirely to the commuters. You’ll be best to buy a little car (and for NZ$2K you can get something quite acceptable to me anyway, maybe you prefer a Porsche, there are plenty of those too). But be aware, like Los Angeles, Auckland was built around the car.

If your prefer somewhere with million dollar views, and are happy to go for days on end without seeing people then the Bay of Islands are perfect. But every week or so, when you need to buy groceries you’ll find minimal choices at the shops available in those little tourist villages. The villages are geared towards serving tourists staying in hotels. So wonderful café meals etc. Also there is a very good farmers’ market at Keri Keri. I think it is on Sunday mornings. Because there are so many pleasure boats, there’s a small but thriving marine industry. The choices are limited but the skills are high. Most parts need to be ordered overnight from Auckland.

Whangarei has far more marine services and supplies. But the marine industry there is geared to somewhat larger commercial boats. There are big supermarkets, and several shopping centres.

Auckland has everything in abundance. Prices of labour are pretty similar across all three locations, Expect to pay $80 - $100 per hour for skilled marine labour. The further from Auckland, I think it is fair to say you’ll find the staff more innovative and will, for example, have a go at fabricating a defective part that you would otherwise wait weeks for because it must be imported..

I would also encourage you to consider, during your stay, to sail south. There is far more to NZ than those three destinations.
"Graffiti, crime, drugs, gangs is my mental picture of Whangarei city. I’m sure people living there would disagree with me" While I fully endorse most of what you say, I think you are showing a bit of parochial bias in there as well Mr WindyWellington! I think your mental picture could fit Wellington as much as almost any city in the world for that matter, but yes otherwise a pretty accurate and complete discription.
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Old 22-07-2015, 05:07   #39
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Re: Can we get the low down on Opua and Whangarei NZ?

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Man I wish. I have a 26 foot 4 tonne mono hull boat and the marina costs me the equivalent of $US235 per month.
Wellington is also worth mentioning as an anchoring opportunity. I anchored there for a few months, and I was the only boat anchored there! There were a few boats on moorings though. Mostly with no problems. Was only hassled once in 2 months which was a record by new zealand standards, I recommend it above opua or whangarei.

As for opua, to be clear, this doesn't apply to 99% of crusiers, but for the 1% it's really important:

bay of islands is best avoided because of a certain working official there. He has put innocent people in jail, he has asked other crusiers (who I talked to) as well as myself if you have any dope on your boat (it's his way of saying "I don't like you"). Again this applies only to cruisers who he decides are not worthy the rest won't have any problem.

I imported my boat into new zealand paying 22% duty, and as it was more than 1 year but less than two, I was entitled to a refund for at least 15% of that, but he flatly refused to do anything stating "it's too low of a value to bother with" It was more than $200 but apparently this wasn't worth dealing with for him, so I shouldn't get it. He also decided to detain for 6 days me based on the appearance of my boat forcing me to sail in bad weather rather than good weather (I have no idea how this could possibly be safer but this was the stated reason) as a result I had damage to my boat.

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Originally Posted by grantmc View Post
Worth pointing out too is that in New Zealand no one can buy the seashore. It is always public. And we have what is called the Queen’s Chain (we were an English colony). That means that land ownership can only start 22 metres/yards above the high water mark. Even at privately owned islands you aren’t prevent you from anchoring. The only exception to this are Government reserves typically for endangered species but they are clearly sign posted.
I have no idea if this is true or not, but if so it's not always relevant.

I anchored in d'urville island for example, and it was blowing gale force with williwaws, and the locals from a house there came out to tell me I didn't have permission, so I asked for permission and they said "if you had asked first before coming here, maybe, but not now" I was told to move 4 miles away to where they could no longer see me.

On three other occurrences around New Zealand people threatened to ram me, sue me or worse for anchoring somewhere that was normally legal, but because they didn't like the appearance of my vessel. This never happened anywhere else except southern california and there it was only the police. In new zealand it's anyone.

In fact, I lost track of exactly how many times people stole, lied and cheated me in new zealand but it was more than 10. It only happened twice in the US and once in malaysia. I normally don't have any problems at all.

I really did enjoy the natural parts of new zealand especially south island as they are very beautiful but it's the worst people for 35 countries I've been to.
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Old 26-07-2015, 18:30   #40
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Re: Can we get the low down on Opua and Whangarei NZ?

G'day, Mate. Here's my 2 cents after spending the last 15 of 16 years living aboard around the Bay of Islands.

Opua - Clear into customs, the various marine services are available, limited food restocking, and car rentals are available. The Opua Cruising Club has always been hospitable to the cruising sailor and welcomes your patronage. One note on the boatyard, they have recently limited wet sanding to their limited concrete pad area next to the haulout. You either have to pay the yard guys to do the sanding after the bottom wash or get the last haul of the day and do it yourself overnight (what a pain in the ass!). There is room to anchor, just be mindful of the tidal currents, especially with your cat. Everyone doesn't always swing at the same rate and arc. I personally don't anchor there if severe weather is in the forecast.

Russell - Good anchoring in mud from the northwest thru to the east and south. It can get a bit bouncy with the SW gales come across from Paihia across the fetch. There are a couple small stores to get milk, bread, fruit and veges. You just don't want to do a big shop up with the higher prices. The Russell Boating Club is a nice spot to catch a meal or a dance when they have a band on a party night. Tall Ships during the 1st week of January is always a must attend if you are in the Bay. The pain in the butt with Russell is getting fresh water and getting rid of garbage.

Paihia. Not the best to anchor with the slight fetch coming in from the NE and the ferry boats over to Russell. There is a nice Countdown supermarket back open on the north end of town. In relatively calm weather, you can anchor off the main beach, dinghy in and walk to the Countdown and Caltex petrol station (if you need to fill some jerry cans).

KeriKeri - The KeriKeri Cruising Club operates a marina at the out end (Eastern) of the Inlet. No real cat berths for you, but you can tie up to the main breakwater during the day. There is laundry and shower facilities, plus you are welcome to use the bar & restaurant (using on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday during the summer). There is a fueling jetting. Fresh water is very limited due to collecting it off the club's roofs, but there is a garbage bin.

It's a 12 k hike to town, so if you need to stock up, be a bit adventurous and head all the way up the inlet to the Stone Store. You can do this with almost 7 feet on the top of the tides, anchor in the basin and then just 2 K's into town. There's a nice New World and Countdown supermarkets, Bunnings hardware store and cafes to meet most of your needs.

Just a few other insights. As others of said, Whangarei, Gulf Harbour in Auckland or Tauranga are the places go to get the yacht services and do major refit work. Auckland is tricky to anchor out. You usually have to anchor way out from the marinas. I would only do it in settled weather. Islington Bay at Rangitoto (the old Volcano) is a place to get to in an hour or so if the weater turns to ride it out.

Trust that provides a few insights. Willing to help out the best I can if you have other questions. Make sure to get up to Whangaroa Harbour for a week or two and over to the Barrier (just not at Christmas...it gets very busy).

I do have a 4 ton mooring block in Matuawhi Bay in Russell if you want a longer term solution storage option for the cat if you head off touring. Send me a private message and we can discuss. Continued safe journeys and just be patient come October or early November for your transit down to New Zealand. Cheers
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Old 27-07-2015, 00:17   #41
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Re: Can we get the low down on Opua and Whangarei NZ?

Matauwhi- thanks for the all the great info! Not certain if the KeriKeri river is in the cards... We draw a lot for a cat (5.5 feet), but it sounds like an easy dingy trip. Since you seem to know the area well, do you have any thoughts on a reasonable hotel that the parents could stay in when they come to visit? Obviously proximity to a good anchorage and ability to pick them up and get them out in the boat is important...

Cheers- Matt
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Old 27-07-2015, 03:51   #42
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Re: Can we get the low down on Opua and Whangarei NZ?

Thanks, Matt. There are heaps of motels in Paihia over the entire budget range. You should be able to pick them up using the dinghy by going into the ferry and tourist boat docks. If the weather isn't right for a Paihia pick-up, they can always take the passenger ferry over to Russell. They should be easily to grab a bus from the Auckland Airport and link to the 3 x daily service from Auckland city up to Paihia. Trust that helps. Cheers, R
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Old 30-07-2015, 01:36   #43
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Re: Can we get the low down on Opua and Whangarei NZ?

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Your boat will be zero rated under your foreign boat cruising permit meaning that all purchases made for the boat will have a gst refund. Not sure if you could claim marina fees though.


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Marina charges all most definitely GST free to foreign yachts with a TIE.
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Old 30-07-2015, 02:03   #44
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Re: Can we get the low down on Opua and Whangarei NZ?

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Marina charges all most definitely GST free to foreign yachts with a TIE.
Or to state more correctly - we were never assessed GST for nights in a slip or time on the hard by Opua Marina. They just charged us a rate without GST for everything we did, had done, or bought.

We spent pretty much all of our time last cyclone season hanging around the Bay of Islands and working out of Opua. While the boat was on the hard for six weeks we rented a house out in Kaikohe and did some land touring with the car.

We tried to get the boat into Whangerei but could never find open dock space; looking at the charts it looks like a 10 mile dinghy ride in from the most likely anchorage. I'll have to take someone's word there are some closer in, I didn't see them on the charts but we never went there so I can not confirm one way or the other.

We bought a cheap car while we were there - a $3,500 Honda Odyssey. We had four people on our boat, and expected company so carrying seven was necessary.

I think the Bay of Islands without a car would be a major pain in the tuchas. There is good grocery shopping in Kerikeri, though we liked the farm stands better for vegetables most often. We anchored a lot in Opua, for the occasional break we moved to Russell which was a nice change. Anchoring on the ferry side you could pick up internet from shore, the other side by the Russell Cruising Club there is pretty much none. Though we still found ourselves taking the dinghy back to Opua for various reasons.

In Russell you do have two 4 Squares for shopping and a small hardware store; it can keep you in crackers, cheese and Tim Tams but I wouldn't want to provision there regularly. Expensive and small selections.

Without a car in Opua your options are VERY limited for supplies unless you get a ride to Paihia or Keri Keri (which are available). When we were there the new Countdown was still in dispute, the tiny one in the fire station was OK, but not really much better than the 4 Square across the street. Its probably better now, but we did most all of our shopping in Kerikeri.

Opua Cruising Club is a lovely place, we joined while we were there. Very friendly and welcoming to cruisers.

While in Opua we did a TON of work, including:
  • Painting the bottom (Opua Marina)
  • Replacing the horrible Westerbeast generator with a shiny new one from Northern Lights. (Sea Power)
  • Pulling the main engine out, cleaning it up, fixing things like a rusted oil pan and making pre-emptive repairs. (Sea Power)
  • Replacing all the standing rigging but the backstay (NZ Yacht Services; we can not say enough good things about Paul Smith)
  • Replacing some of the lines and running rigging including the checkstays and a new outhaul. (NZ Yacht Services)
  • Repairing all the sails; re-doing some work we had done in French Polynesia, repairing ongoing wear and tear. (North Loft)
  • Professionally overhauling the dinghy to finally fix all the damage caused by the dinghy dock from hell in Panama. (Northland Sea Safety)
  • Replacing all eight 12V batteries with 16 new 6V batteries with about 10% more capacity (Marine Electrics and me)
  • Replacing the freezer compressor with a more powerful one and fixing a leak in the line (North Freeze)
  • Replacing the old 12V battery charger (myself, bought in Auckland)
  • and the old broken backup 24V battery charger. (ditto)
  • Conditioning the propeller with Propspeed to reduce fouling and growth (Opua Marina)
  • Re-inspected and certified the Life Raft and updated much of the SOLAS safety gear. (Kiwi Yachting, Auckland)
  • Rebuilt the clutch on the backup autopilot (Kiwi Yachting) and re-installed it (me).
Overall we found the vendor options and choices to be pretty good. Not every project went perfectly, but the issues were more of project management than technical skills. You get get what you need there, though you may need to wait for some things or pay for shipping.

We found the cruising community in Opua nice, the local resources very manageable with a car, and easy access to nice pretty places to be a major plus. Paihia isn't a bad place to go to dinner every now and then, though we ate at the club when off the boat probable more than anywhere.

Whangerei was destination for bigger shopping; there is a Warehouse outside Keri Keri for example, but its not as big or as well stocked as the one in Whangerei. Pak & Save has better pricing on a lot of staples than the stores in Kerikeri (Countdown, New World). Big hardware stores, clothing stores, outdoor stores - there are more and varied in Whangerei. Quite a bit more really, though still nothing compared to what you can find in Auckland.

We had mail sent to the P.O. in Paihia. I have never met a more wonderful set of postal workers anywhere in the world, an absolute pleasure to go in there. You can send things for desk pickup and they will hold it for you - though they can't accept courier packages.
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