Sponsor Story: Crafting the trip of a lifetime with Asia Pacific Superyachts NZ

The team at Asia Pacific Superyachts New Zealand specialise in helping visiting superyachts make the most of their time in New Zealand. Assisting with all the yacht’s needs – from fuel to phones – other offerings include creating premium custom itineraries for yachts, both onshore and at sea.

During a recent extended visit to New Zealand, the captain and chief stewardess of a 67m yacht called upon Asia Pacific Superyachts New Zealand to craft them a bespoke itinerary around the South Island. Duthie and the team rose to the challenge, creating an action-packed itinerary around some of the South Island’s most memorable spots. Read on to learn more about their adventures.  

Travels around New Zealand’s South Island 

Working as the captain and chief stewardess of a 67m sailing yacht Captain Graham Newton and Rochelle Andrus have seen their fair share of special destinations on their travels around the world. But it was a recent road trip to New Zealand’s South Island that they describe as “the trip of a lifetime.”

Their yacht had spent several months visiting New Zealand, arriving in late 2017 before departing in May 2018, with Asia Pacific Superyachts New Zealand as its local agent. During their time in the country Captain Graham and Rochelle explored the beautiful North Island but the South Island beckoned too.  

The duo planned a two-week itinerary that would take them around the best the South Island had to offer, taking in everything from stunning scenery to world-class wine and heli hiking. Asia Pacific Superyachts NZ was on hand to help customise a bespoke itinerary that would showcase all that this special part of the world has to offer.

Here, Captain Graham and Rochelle describe this unforgettable trip in their own words:

Wellington to Marlborough, via Blenheim

After flying to Wellington from Auckland, we took the ferry over Cook Strait in order to experience the Marlborough Sounds by water. The crossing was beautiful and very smooth and on arrival we drove to Marlborough via Blenheim. We loved being in wine country, and Wairau Valley was a particular highlight – the blue cheese soufflé is to die for! – and we visited lots of the other big names including Cloudy Bay, and stayed with an ex-crew friend who is part of the family who owns the Oyster Bay vineyard. This region is so stunning and the scale of winegrowing is amazing.

IMG_8493.jpg

Marlborough to Abel Tasman via Nelson 

After leaving Marlborough we drove over to Nelson, which was a beautiful little town, and then out to the Abel Tasman National Park. The drive out there was pretty special with spectacular scenery. We spent a couple of days there and a highlight was a full day of kayaking, which really was amazing. Paddling around in the kayak, we kept thinking what a special place it would be to take a yacht with so much spectacular scenery and wildlife.

IMG_8582.jpg

Abel Tasman to Murchison 

After leaving Abel Tasman we drove over towards the West Coast via Murchison, where we enjoyed a bike ride up to Lake Matiri in yet more amazing scenery. It’s hard to describe just how beautiful and untouched the South Island is and we were constantly in awe of our surroundings.

Screen Shot 2018-03-29 at 07.55.18.png

Murchison to Franz Josef Glacier

We then drove down to Franz Josef Glacier, stopping at the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes on the way. At Franz Josef we stayed in the Rainforest Retreat, which was yacht guest standard with new deluxe cabins – a great option for owners/guests wanting some time on land. We opted for the half day heli hike up to see the glaciers, and the guide was fantastic and really made the experience both interesting and safe. That was a special day.

DSC_2119 copy.JPG

 Franz Josef to Wanaka

Leaving Franz Josef we enjoyed some spectacular driving along the West coast roads. After arriving into Wanaka we enjoyed a big bike ride around the lake, which took us through the flats and farmland to the mountains behind.

DSC_2235 copy.JPG

 Wanaka to Te Anau (Milford Sounds)

Leaving Wanaka we drove through the Crown Ranges and visited the Cardrona Hotel, one of New Zealand’s oldest and most iconic hotels, which is in an amazing setting with snowy peaks behind it. We then pushed on to Te Anau, the last town before Milford Sounds. That road trip took in some incredible scenery so although it was a lot of driving the setting made it such an experience that was well worth it.

DSC_2245 copy.JPG

Milford Sounds

After an early start we travelled to Milford and did a boat cruise through the Milford Sounds, which was well run and organised, and enjoyed another kayak trip. The natural beauty of our surroundings left an impression. The area was quite busy with tourist boats so we probably wouldn’t take a yacht there but would go to nearby Dusky Sounds instead and take advantage of the unspoilt surroundings of a boat-only destination.

DSC_2307 copy.JPG

Milford Sounds to Queenstown

From Milford Sounds we drove back to Queenstown and stayed at Eichardts, which lived up to its luxury reputation with a beautiful room and a great location right on the lake, enjoying some of the amazing local red wine in front of a roaring fire. The hotel has a very private two-bedroom penthouse suite available for owners, with chauffeur, private elevator and chef, that would be ideal for owners or guests.

DSC_2363 copy.JPG

Queenstown

Our last day was the highlight of an unforgettable trip. We flew with Alpine Helicopters up to Minaret Station, a luxury lodge in the hills only accessible by helicopter. We took a longer route through the glaciers and landed on a glacier with fresh snow, before doing heliskiing using the helicopter as skis! On our way to the Station we spotted lots of wildlife, including deer and chamois, and on arrival we enjoyed a very special lunch. The whole experience was incredible from start to finish, from the food quality to staff interaction and surroundings, and we would take guests there in a heartbeat. Minaret Station would be a great location for guests to enjoy while their yacht was transiting between the North and South Islands, before travelling by helicopter to meet their yacht in the Sounds.

DSC_2417 copy.JPG

On way back we flew out from the Station up to Wanaka and then flew back to Queenstown, stopping at the Cardrona Distillery for a private tour – it was fascinating seeing a distillery starting from scratch and they were very passionate about what they were doing and extremely knowledgeable. From Queenstown we flew back to Auckland, rounding off a once-in-a-lifetime trip. 

Highlights

Our 13 days on the South Island was unforgettable but the day at Minaret Station was definitely a highlight. It was amazing from start to finish, a glamour day, and our helicopter pilot couldn’t have been more knowledgeable. We defy anyone to have a day like that and not enjoy it and we couldn’t recommend this enough for owners. The whole experience was sleek, high-luxury, and so well organised.

For crew, the glacier in Franz Josef was another highlight and the guides made the experience standout. A must do for anyone visiting New Zealand.

Graham and Rochelle highly recommend any superyacht seeking to venture into the Pacific and cruise New Zealand to make contact with Duthie Lidgard at Asia Pacific Superyachts NZ duthie@asia-pacific-superyachts.co.nz