Discover New Zealand's top boating spots this summer

January 2024

Are you planning a maritime adventure this summer? New Zealand's stunning coastlines and inland waters offer numerous boating paradises, each one providing unique experiences. From peaceful bays to vibrant marine life and cultural treasures, these destinations are a must-visit for any boatie. Boatie's Best Mate has compiled a list of the top summer boating destinations in Aotearoa. Let's set sail through their top picks for the ultimate summer boating adventure.

  1. Bay of Islands: A boater's paradise with 144 islands and secluded coves. The Bay of Islands offers favourable weather and is rich in marine life, including dolphins and orcas. Not to miss is Urupukapuka Island, celebrated for its archaeological sites and scenic trails.

  2. Marlborough Sounds: With 1500km of coastline, this area is perfect for cruising, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Each Sound - Pelorous, Queen Charlotte, Kenepuru, and Mahau - has its own charm. Pelorus Sound is especially famous for its green shell mussels and the Pelorus Mail Boat Cruise.

  3. Rotorua: Known for its geothermal activity, Rotorua's lakes like Rotoiti and Tarawera are excellent for freshwater fun, offering water sports and boat-accessible thermal pools.

  4. Hauraki Gulf: A stone's throw from Auckland, it features a variety of islands and fishing spots. The inner Gulf hosts popular islands such as Waiheke and Rangitoto, while the outer Gulf is ideal for more remote explorations.

  5. Fiordland: This region is a spectacle of dramatic fiords, waterfalls, and unique marine life. Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound offer breathtaking sailing experiences, surrounded by stunning natural beauty.

  6. Bay of Plenty: Offers diverse boating activities against the backdrop of Mount Maunganui. The region is known for its excellent fishing and access to remote islands like Tuhua/Mayor Island.

  7. Central Otago: A picturesque destination with lakes like Wakatipu, Wanaka, and Hawea, providing an idyllic setting for various water activities. The TSS Earnslaw steamship on Lake Whakatipu and jetboating in the Shotover canyons are popular attractions.

These destinations not only promise an array of water-based activities but also an opportunity to immerse in the natural beauty and cultural richness of New Zealand. So, hoist the sails or power up the engines and discover these splendid boating havens this summer.