Island groups in the South Pacific have an almost mythical quality for many yacht charter clients. With dozens of charter companies available throughout the vast area, taking a one or two-week boating vacation in this exotic region is a trip to paradise that will create memories for a lifetime. The best time to visit the many islands of the South Pacific is May to October, which is outside of cyclone season. The shoulder months of April and November can be wonderful as the prices are lower and the people are fewer.
The South Pacific cannot be viewed as one area but rather as groups of diverse islands with a character all their own. French Polynesia, for example, is a tropical haven with white sand beaches and palm trees leaning over aquamarine waters. You can almost here the song Bali Hai as you wile away the hours on deck with a Mai Tai. The more distant islands of Fiji and Tonga have much the same climate, but are more remote and off the beaten path of many tourists. If you’re looking to get lost, these islands are the portal.
Farther south are the magnificent Whitsunday Islands (read The Whitsundays Adventure of Captain Cook) found on the east coast of Australia and surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef. A less tropical but equally picturesque excursion is the always windy Bay Islands in northern New Zealand. And for a real break from the ordinary, check out New Caledonia for a diverse culture and easy sailing with excellent navigation aids.
By charter hopping from one area to the next, you could spend a dozen vacations in lovely cruising grounds without ever having to cross the vast distances between them on your own boat. Charter companies abound whether you’re looking for a small family-managed outfit or a large, multinational organization.
A one- or two-week charter in the South Pacific should focus on a single island group. For crewed yacht charter, Fiji has become something of a hub in the South Pacific, with marinas at Denerau Island capitalizing on its proximity to the international airport at Nadi. You can find bareboats in Fiji, too, as is also the case with island groups such as Tahiti and Tonga—where the occasional crewed megayacht becomes available on a catch-as-catch-can basis.
What makes all of these island groups so memorable for any kind of charter is the mix of cultures amid natural beauty. You are just as likely to spend a day talking with tribesmen outside their huts as you are to enjoy a few hours’ snorkeling before lunch at a resort. The magic of the South Pacific, truly, is that you can literally charter a world away.
From the thrill of wild bluewater passages, to the peace and tranquility of sheltered bays, a cruise in the South Pacific is perfect for those seeking the ultimate in getaways.
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