The Great Southern Voyage

The Great Southern Voyage

With international travel out of the question for another season, we thought we would highlight some of New Zealand voyages you can experience on your Riviera! Have you ever thought of taking your boat down to the South Island? The 630NM Voyage from Auckland to Picton is a beautiful journey but the East Cape and Wairarapa Coast can be unpredictable and challenging, be prepared and do your research.

Preparing the boat

Check your safety gear – navigation lights, VHF radio, life jackets & EPIRB.
Engine Spares – we recommend always having essential engine spares on board your vessel but even more so when embarking on any journey. Belts, impellers, spare oil etc.


Depending on your fuel range, you have two main options for fuelling up on this journey – In Gisborne or Napier. Make sure you have a good understanding of the fuel burn for your vessel, with accurate Litres per NM calculations. Remember to keep a 10% reserve on your fuel calculations.

Gisborne – 300NM from Auckland
In Gisborne, you must call the port 24 Hours PRIOR to arrival to tell them that you are coming in to port to fuel up. Failing to do so may result in a penalty fee.
Contact – 021646218

Napier – 380 NM from Auckland
The Napier Marina has a GOFuel Diesel pump on West Quey – this accepts a Go Fuel card, Eftpos or Credit Card.
Contact – 0800 428 383

The Journey – Weather

Weather planning is key for this voyage and getting the right weather pattern for this journey is essential. Weather can be very changeable and flexibility is required with your departure date and time to wait for the right weather pattern. This could make the difference between a trip of a lifetime or a challenging journey.

From East Cape for the remainder of the journey keep a close eye on tidal movements due to the high tidal currents on the East Coast.

Here are a few pointers for when your checking the weather for this journey;

Auckland – East Cape
This part of the journey is fairly sheltered but reminder you will be travelling over 100 miles off the coast, you want no more than 15 knots of wind for this journey.

Rounding East Cape
As you round East Cape you do not want to come into a Southerly – this part of the coast has virtually no shelter from Antarctica up which means if there was to be a Southerly, it can very quickly become very harsh.

East Cape – Gisborne or Napier for Fuel
Ideally you are looking for a Westerly or North Westerly as this is going to allow for the most shelter.

Gisborne or Napier – Cape Kidnappers
As you pass Cape Palliser, you are running in unsheltered waters from the West so ideally you want that North West we wanted above to have dropped right down or changed direction – a north west or westerly is the worst here.

Cape Kidnapper – Cape Palliser
Watch for extreme wind changes caused by the land formations which can see wind stregths increase significantly in a short period of time.

Cape Palliser – Wellington/Picton
We’ve all heard the stories of the Cook Straight which is why we have put your next location as either Wellington or Picton, depending on the conditions. For the run across Cook Straight ideally you would want under 15 knots of wind – look out for North Westerly or South Easterly winds as these will give you the worst conditions for the crossing.

Once you reach the South Island, you’re on the home stretch to Picton – follow the charts, watch out the ferries and enjoy the South Island boating!

‘Upgraded’ for the Journey South

Riviera owner Ian Greenslade recently went the distance with R Marine Flagship’s Craig Torckler to relocate his Riviera 5400 Sport Yacht ‘Upgrade’ to its new home in Nelson. Ian, Craig and their crew member departed Auckland on a Monday evening and had a calm run across to Colville, arriving at East Cape at daybreak on Tuesday morning.

After a short refuelling stop at Gisborne “Upgrade” continued south around Mahia Peninsula and across Hawkes Bay.

As evening darkness fell the Wairarapa Coast delivered a very strong North Westerly building all the way to Cape Palliser and the decision was made to pull into Wellington Harbour in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

A well earnt rest at Chaffers Marina in Wellington on Wednesday while the breeze dropped was followed by an early departure across Cook Strait in relatively flat seas on Thursday morning and a flat calm 25 knot run from the entrance to Queen Charlotte Sound to Nelson.

After 36 hours running averaging around 8.1 litres per nautical mile at speeds varying between 10 and 26 knots, Upgrade arrived into Nelson early Thursday afternoon.

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