Visiting Canterbury?

If you are cruising to Canterbury or further South we would like to wish you a very big WELCOME! Please drop us an email to let us know you are on your way and we will do our best to make your stay in our part of the world enjoyable. Email:

The Little Ship Club holds regular gatherings at Naval Point Club in Lyttelton. If you would be interested in sharing your cruising stories with our members, please let us know. We would love to hear from you.

Here are some tips that might help during your stay.

If you are arriving in to New Zealand by yacht here is the link to the customs page telling you everything you need to know before you arrive:



Latitude: 43º 36.50S Longitude: 172º 43.00E
Charts of area
Refer NZ Chart Catalogue NZ 6321

Lyttelton is the main township in Lyttelton Harbour. This is a busy working port with fishing boats and cargo ships. There are lots of amenities in the town to re-provision, and head through the tunnel to the city of Christchurch for more selection.

There is a dredged channel for ships up the middle of the harbour, but yachts can safely navigate outside the channel with a normal draft. Give way to all shipping as they are restricted to the channel. Monitor Channel 14 for an idea of ship movements. It isn’t so much of an issue in the main harbour, but if you are heading in to the inner harbour then it is a good idea to know what is going on as there isn’t a lot of room in there to manoeuvre.

The harbour has an aprox 2m tidal range and gets shallow beyond Corsair Bay. Watch for the reef  just beyond the Port Entrance which is awash at high tide and is well marked with an Eastern Cardinal Mark and a lighthouse on the Western end.

The closest anchorage to Lyttelton is in Corsair Bay. Good holding in mud. – about a 10 minute walk to Lyttelton Town. Park your dinghy on the southern side of the floating jetty at Naval Point or pull it up the boat ramp out of the way.

Te Ana Marina is currently under construction in the Inner Harbour. With one pier finished, walk on-walk off facilities, water and power etc. There will be spaces available for visiting boats too once the next two piers are complete, hopefully by April 2018.

There is a marina at Magazine Bay but there is no breakwater and it can be very dangerous in a storm. Not recommended.


Corsair Bay is a lovely spot in the prevailing Easterly breeze, however Diamond Harbour on the Southern Side of the harbour is also very sheltered from the Easterly and a much better spot in a Southerly. Southerly winds can be very strong but are well predicted. There is a cafe/restaurant in Diamond Harbour and a regular ferry service which goes from the wharf directly in to Lyttelton and connects with the buses in to Christchurch.

Purau Bay is located to the East of Diamond Harbour and is another good sheltered spot in a Nor-West and Southerly. There are lots of moorings in this bay – but they are all privately owned.

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The Supermarket in Lyttelton has a wide range of fresh, tinned and frozen food plus wine and beer selection. Alternatively you can head through the tunnel to Christchurch and check out the New World, Countdown or Pak n Save supermarkets.

There is a great farmers market in Lyttelton on Saturday mornings with lots of delicious local produce and an organic wholefoods shop called Harbour Co-op.

Alcohol supplies: the Off licence on Norwich Quay and Indian shop on London Street have spirits and cold beers.


There are two ATM’s on London Street in Lyttelton.


You need a fuel card to get fuel from the commercial wharf, so the best option is to find a friendly local and ask them to drive you in to Christchurch to refuel your jerry cans and LPG. One of our club members would be more than happy to assist.


Free wifi is also available 24/7 at the Seafarers’ Centre on Norwich Quay overlooking the port. It has friendly volunteers to answer questions, tea and coffee for minimal cost. Sit outside the building when it’s closed.

Free wifi is also available 24/7 at or outside the Library on London St by the Sled Dog statue.

Naval Point Club also has wifi available. Ask them for the password.


Lyttelton is located about 20 minutes drive from Christchurch city which is on the other side of the Port Hills. There is a tunnel that goes through the hill and a regular bus service which goes in to the central city. You can’t walk through the tunnel but you can take a bike on a rack on the front of the bus.

There is a regular Bus Service to Christchurch that runs every 20 mins during the day, less frequently evening and night, from the Bus Stop on the quay.  Check the timetable at the bus stop and check the sign on the front for Christchurch not Rapaki.  The Bus Station in the central city is within easy walking distance of parks, museums, restaurants etc.

Uber is available. There are also many taxi companies including Blue Star and Gold Band.

All the major rental car companies are located in Central Christchurch and out at the airport. Thrifty Rental Cars is a good place to start.

Bikes: bicycles and helmets are available for day rental from bike stands in Christchurch. Helmets must be worn.

Christchurch International Airport is 35-40 minutes from Lyttelton – allow at least an hour if you are going to catch the bus, particularly at peak traffic times.


The Lyttelton Medical Centre has doctors on duty or on call. Christchurch Hospital in a major general hospital with Accident and Emergency Services. Dentists are based in Christchurch. Emergency 24hr pharmacy and medical centres are available in Christchurch.  All are about 20 mins from port.

Post office and Pharmacy on London Street: has a good range of personal items, can fill prescriptions, sells stamps and accepts mail + post box outside.

Dial ‘111’ in an emergency.


Laundry is only available locally by arrangement with the Marina Manager in the Inner Harbour or Club Manager at Naval Point. In the Inner Harbour the washing machine is located at the boaties club room on the quay, you’ll need to apply for a key (not always available). A wash is $2/load in the honesty box, supply your own powder. Also try Quality Laundry Service 29b Telfourd St or Sadie Coin Laundry at 21 Stanmore Road.  Otherwise here are a few to choose from in Christchurch.

Eating Out & Entertainment

Restaurants: Indian, Chinese and kiwi on London Street, great seafood on Norwich Quay, Roots specializes in fresh  5/7 course degustation menus – very expensive but NZ Restaurant of the Year 2015 & 2016.

Music: The Wunderbar above the Supermarket is reached by iron stairs from the car park below: bar overlooks the port with live and loud music most nights. Recommended by Lonely Planet for donkeys years. Freemans Terrace has visiting bands and open mic some evenings and Sundays.

Coffee – Main cafes: Shroom Room next to Albion Square specializes in tasty vegetarian and vegan options, Lyttelton Coffee Company is the place to meet locals and has a back balcony overlooking the port, Coffee Culture is most comfortable. Others are hidden away- one upstairs is quirky and fun if you can find it!

Things to see and do

There is lots to see and do in Christchurch, our city is undergoing a major transformation since the Canterbury Earthquakes in 2010-2011. Don’t miss the Botanical Gardens, The Art Gallery and Museum (all free entry). The Cathedral in the city centre is still in ruins with fate at present unknown. There is a cardboard Cathedral in Latimer Square. Keep an eye out for the amazing murals that have been painted on the sides of buildings

Christchurch is an adventure sports capital: try downhill skiing in the winter, biking, kayaking, whitewater rafting, hot air ballooning, you name it!

There are lots of lovely walks around Lyttelton harbour. The Bridle Path goes over the top of the hill with stunning views of the harbour on one side and the city on the other. This was the route taken by the early settlers of Christchurch.  Take your dinghy over to Quail Island and learn about the fascinating history of this lovely place. (It is a bit shallow to take a keelboat over there.)

Lyttelton Information Centre on lower end of Dublin Street, provides tourist information, advice, brochures, maps of great local walks and places to visit, especially round Christchurch, Banks Peninsula and Canterbury.

Lyttelton Swimming pool – open air, chlorinated, lifeguard – is open most days in summer, small entry fee.

Books, newspapers, cards from Leslie’s Bookshop is in the alley below the Information Centre. The Press is the regional newspaper. Many second hand bookshops nearby.


Most Lyttelton Churches were destroyed in the earthquakes but St Saviours and the Union Church which is a combination of Methodist, Presbyterian and something else on Winchester Street are both very welcoming.

Useful Local Contacts:

Naval Point Club Lyttelton – Based in Magazine Bay. Full time Club Manager, club moorings around Lyttelton Harbour and Banks Peninsula, managers of Magazine Bay Marina (not recommended in Southerly conditions). Floating jetty by the club – (moor on the Southern side as there are rocks on the club side). Showers and toilets, wifi, bar open on sailing days, haulout facilities also available. Ph 03 328 7029.

Oborns Nautical – Chandlery, rigging, sail repairs, located in Christchurch. The owners are experts and sailors. Contact Grant and Matt Oborn Ph 03 377 1800.

Boat – a chandlery based in Ferrymead – just through the Lyttelton Tunnel. They have a great online store. Ph 03 384 3849.

Burnsco – chandlery in Tower Junction – Riccarton ph 03 343 6485.

Te Ana Marina – currently under construction in the inner harbour of Lyttelton Port. Currently under construction. Will be fully functional in April 2018.

Maritime Specialist – Salvage and Towing and much more.

Lyttelton Harbourmaster – appointed by council to undertake the management of maritime related activities.

Coastguard Canterbury – Local volunteer rescue services.

Lyttelton Port Company
Lyttelton Harbour Radio ZMH61
Calling 2182, 4125 & CH#16
Working 2012, 2045, 2162, CH#12, CH#14, CH#63 & CH#68

International Arrivals

If Lyttelton is your first port of call in New Zealand then you will need to clear customs and immigration.

More information and all the forms you need to complete can be found here.

Customs Marine Intelligence
Phone: 0800 248 866
Fax: 0800 248 877
Customs/Ministry for Primary Industriesberth/jetty
Contact Lyttelton Harbour Signal Tower on advice on where to berth.
Port draughts at arrival station
Contact Harbour Control to confirm the port draught at the time of your arrival. Lyttelton Marina (Magazine Bay) – 2.2 metres
Radio contact​
Not less than 48 hours prior to estimated time of arrival. Taupo Maritime Radio on 4125Khz or 6215Khz or VHF Ch 16.
Local radio contact
Lyttelton Harbour Radio on VHF Ch 16. Lyttelton Marina on VHF Ch 16. Signal Tower on VHF Ch 12. Waikuku Radio 5807Khz.

Small craft and yacht contact details

Postal Address: PO Box 14086, Christchurch Airport, Christchurch 8544
Phone: +64 3 940 4505 
Fax: +64 3 924 4233
Ministry for Primary Industries
Phone (Business): +64 3 328 7166
Phone (After Hours): +64 25 201 0561
Fax: +64 3 328 7186


Banks Peninsula

There are many different bays to explore on your way around the Peninsula. It is about 40 nautical miles from Lyttelton to Akaroa – the next main town. There are no shops or supplies available until Akaroa.

Naval Point Club Lyttelton have “The Banks Peninsula Cruising Guide” for sale for aprox $45.00 a copy. This is a brilliant publication if you are planning on spending some time in this part of the world.


Our favourite places to stop:

Port Levy – a small settlement with a lovely anchorage tucked around on the Eastern side of the Bay to the north of the Jetty. Some lovely walks up the hill.

Pigeon Bay – There is a yacht club and a campground and a few holiday houses in this lovely bay. A nice anchorage in Holmes Bay on the Western side opposite the yacht club. Pigeon Bay Boating Club is open most weekends over the summer. Bar & BBQ available on sailing days. Launching ramp and jetty at the club.

Little Akaloa, Okains & Le Bons Bay – are all quite open to the swell, but on calm days are lovely spots to visit. Nor-West Bay at the head of Okains Bay is a lovely cosy anchorage.


Keep an eye out for Hectors Dolphins and seals. you may also see the occasional whale around the peninsula. There are also Little Blue Penguins. Flea Bay is a marine reserve – no fishing and take care for the Penguins nesting in here.

If you are fishing you can catch blue cod, red cod, grouper, kahawai and sometimes kingfish. You can get paua, mussels and crayfish around the rocks. Be aware that NZ has very strict fishing rules, which if not followed can mean a big fine and even seizure of your vessel – you can find the rules here.


Akaroa is a lovely town with a French heritage. There are lots of shops cafes and restaurants. Fuel is available from the Petrol station. Ask for Brian – he is very accommodating.

The main anchorage is outside the main town. It can be exposed in strong Southerly and Nor-West storms. The main harbour is deep with no major hazards except for a reef on the South Eastern side of the harbour approaching the yacht club – check your charts.

There are a number of jetties, and boat ramps for hauling your dinghy ashore. Leave the main wharf clear for the tourist boats and cruise ship tenders. For many more anchorages, check out this blog post.

Akaroa Harbour, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand- aerial

Akaroa Harbour, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury, South Island, New Zealand- aerial


Akaroa is a small village and easy to walk around everywhere.

There is a daily shuttle bus from Akaroa back to Christchurch – the trip takes about an hour.


There is a Four Square Supermarket available for all your groceries, beer and wine etc. There is also a great butchery across the road, and a BNZ bank and ATM. There is also a doctors surgery, pharmacy, bakery, lots of tourist shops, restaurants & cafes.

General bits and bobs can be purchased from Peninsula Trading Post or the garage, both are on Rue Lavaud.


There is free wifi at the library, also near some of the public phone box’s and at many of the cafe’s.


There is a launderette, near the Presbyterian Church, it is a bit tucked away so it is best to ask where it is.

Dining out and Entertainment

There are many good restaurants, Harbar is one of the favorites, it is a great cafe on the beach serving light meals and a good range of drinks.

Visit the little Akaroa Museum to get a background on the history of this quaint village.

Cruise ships are regular visitors to Akaroa. They anchor in the middle of the harbour and then tenders run to and fro all day delivering people to the main wharf. You can check the schedule for when ships are going to be in port here.

Useful Contacts:

Akaroa Yacht Club – bar open on sailing days (most weekends through the summer) jetty, water, toilets and showers, cradle for haulout.

French Farm Aquatic Club – a cruising club and anchorage in the North West corner of Akaroa Harbour. There is a pub, petrol station, golf course and small shop/cafe in Duvauchelle and a cheese shop at Barrys Bay – all within walking distance from French Farm.

Akaroa Tourism – click here for things to see and do. Lots of lovely walks, visit the Giants House – a fabulous mosaic garden (cover charge applies but it is very worth it!)

Heading Further Afield



Get in touch with Timaru Yacht Club for some local knowledge before you arrive.

Prime Port may allow you to go along side one of the wharfs in the harbour but that would be considered as a ‘least preferred option” as the Port company prefer not to have yachts  in the working harbour. They may charge too but we aren’t sure on the price.

There are are a couple of other options to consider.

  • Anchor in Caroline bay out from the Yacht Club building. You can be totaly independent with this option but will need to row ashore. If there is no swell, you can come alongside the Yacht Club jetty but the water is pretty skinny at low tide South of the corner of the jetty away from the southern slipway.
  • Timaru Yacht Club has a vacant mooring in the harbour.  It is a fore and aft mooring system with the ground tackle rising to a drum on the surface then a headline to the boat and stern lines to the rock wall.  You will need to be met on arrival as the moorings are, although in the harbour, secure from pedestrian access through a locked gate. There is a punt tethered to the mooring for shore access but they will be a longer way away from the town. 10 minutes walk from the TYPBC.

You should call TIMARU HARBOUR RADIO on Chanel 09  to let them know you are coming in to a mooring and enqire about shipping movements when you are approaching the port. (about a mile out) The Port company keep strict control over all vessels transiting the approaches to the harbour. If there are shipping movements, you will be advised to stay clear until the shipping is well clear or all fast alongside.

Otago – Dunedin

On your way in to the harbour keep an eye out for the Albatross Sanctuary.

Get in touch with Otago Yacht Club – their marina manager Barry Gibbs can be called on 027 491 9508 or email He can arrange a berth in the marina and the best way to get in (at high tide). Charges are $30 per night for the yacht and two people, additional people are $10 a night which includes wifi, water, electricity and showers. There is also a coin operated laundry. The Marina is within walking distance of the town centre. Fuel can be purchased in Careys Bay in Port Chalmers at the Fishermans Wharf using a credit card. Fuelling up at Port Chalmers at the fishermen dock is very cheap! You can pay with NZ debit /credit cards.

They also love people giving talks about their cruising adventures, so let them know if you are keen and heading their way.

Port of Otago
Tairoa Head Signal Station ZMH32
Calling 2182, 4125, 6215, 8255, 12290, 16420 & CH#16
Working 2012, 2045, 2129, 2162, 4146, 4149, 4417, 6215, 6224, 6227, 6230, 6516, 8294, 8297, 12356, 16528, CH#12 & CH#14


You can clear customs in Bluff if it is your first port of call in NZ. Refer to the link above for more information about international yacht arrivals in NZ.

Do not attempt to enter at night.

You need to check tides the water really rips out of the Bluff Harbour 3-6kts. Slack tide is best. Can be particularly bad to enter if you have wind against tide! Lots of fishing boats at the wharf but I”m sure you could tie up there and you can also anchor further in. Great part of NZ. If the weather is ok going into to Waikawa Harbour at Porpoise Bay is lovely too. I would contact BLUFF YACHT CLUB
Name: Anders Jagvik
Mobile: (022) 680 6047

The wharf area can be exposed to strong winds.

The local library is lovely and warm friendly and has internet and is just across the road from the fuel berth.

Stewart Island

This is an amazing place and with only 500 ish permanent residents living in Oban. The rest of the island is pretty much uninhabited.

You can anchor off Oban, but most of the time you have a swell in there so it will be rolly. Usually you would only anchor there if you need to get something in town. Otherwise you will anchor in Patterson inlet just over the hill from Oban. From there it’s about a 20 walk to town. Also there is the beginning of one of the walks around the island. In Oban you find a visitor’s center with all the important information.
A nice and calm anchorage especially for southerly winds is Little Glory in the south of Patterson inlet, south of Ulva island. Just watch out for the ship wreck in the middle of the bay. From there you can take your Dinghy to a pier from which you can do a lovely 1hr walk around the peninsula. If you’re lucky you can see a Kiwi even in daylight just before you have to leave the park (all Kiwi watching tours go there at night when it’s not raining – with Kiwi sighting guarantee or money back). Stewart Island Kiwis are the only ones that even come out during the day when it’s not so bright. If you do the walk watch out for the seals sleeping in the bush or high grass even high up on the path. They get a bit grumpy if you wake them up and might even separate two people making them go back two different ways. Not a problem as the walk is in a circle.
If the wind gets really bad you can hide way into Patterson inlet, from there an inlet to the north. Protected to all directions, from there you can walk to Oban in a beautiful 2 hr walk (one way).
Good fishing is on the east – south east side of Stewart Island. Lots of blue cod.
Port Pegasus is an experience itself and very well described in the cruising guide. Note that the cruising guide talks about “walks” but unlike all the other walks in New Zealand these are not marked. You have to find your way. Sometimes you do, sometimes you don’t. The Tin trail can be found, the other walks e.g. to Bald Cone are through the bush and there is no path. They are still fun to go.
All of Port Pegasus is beautiful and you can easily spend a weeks there. Just read the guide and you’ll find heaps of places to go. My  favourite anchorage was Peacehaven. It is very well protected, you moor up to lines and buoys (as in most anchorages in S.I and Fiordland), friendly seals came up to play with us and within a 15 min walk over a hill and after a short mud slide down you end up on a long white sandy beach where yellow eyed penguins can be seen. A magic place.
Also a Must-Do walk is the one up to Bald Cone. You enter a creek and from there make your way through the bush and up the hill. Just beware that the creek will go all the way down at low tide and you can’t get your Dinghy out then. So you should be very aware of the tidal situation to find a good spot for the Dinghy. You might have to walk through the creek for a while in the cold water.
There are more walks up to Pinnacles but we never succeeded in finding a path once the marking was gone. You have to find your way through the bush, but it is a very demanding walk.

Stewart Island.jpg

There are so many places and uninhabited bays and anchorages to explore. Get a copy of the Stewart Island Cruising Guide – this is full of fantastic information about this amazing part of the world. Don’t miss Ulva Island – an amazing bird sanctuary, and the Quiz night at the pub in Oban is lots of fun. There are also lots of great walking tracks including multi-day hikes.

Check out more info about Stewart Island here.

Local events, volunteer opportunities, items for sale or rent, lost & found – the community noticeboard is right next to the supermarket. Sit and watch the world go by or chat with a local, it all happens here!

There is a well stocked supermarket which also sells fishing, tramping & camping supplies.

Public recycling/rubbish bins are situated beside the Community Centre, at the entrance to the wharf, and on Elgin Terrace.


With only aprox 12km of roads on the island, you can easily walk everywhere, but there are a few hills.

You can also catch a flight to Invercargill airport or a ferry from here back to Bluff.


There are no Banks on the island but there is an ATM located in the Four Square supermarket (New Zealand banks only).  Some businesses only accept cash but many now have EFTPOS facilities and accept major credit cards.

Mobile Phones

Limited coverage for Spark and Vodafone.


Available at the South Sea Hotel (in the public bar) and at the Halfmoon Bay Library (during open hours)

Library – Ayr Street – visitors welcome

Opening hours:
Monday & Friday 12.30pm to 1.30pm
Wednesday 2.30pm to 3.30pm
Saturday 10.00am to 12.00pm

Wi-fi Hot Spot on Ayr Street from Community Centre to Elgin Terrace.

Stewart Island 1

Stewart Island 2

Handy Contacts

If you are heading this far South, get in touch with Meri Leask a local legend and volunteer operator of Bluff Maritime Radio

  • Bluff Fishermans Radio 4417, CH#61, CH#64, CH#65 & CH#66

South Port NZ Ltd Bluff
Bluff Harbour Radio
Calling CH#16
Working CH#6, CH#12 & CH#14

IMG_3055.jpgThis beautiful view is on day 1 of the Rakiura track


Very remote, but stunningly beautiful. Get a copy of the Fiordland Cruising guide for more information. Milford Sound is the main tourist destination and the rest of Fiordland is almost uninhabited apart from fishermen.

A great guide for visitors is: Fiordland Beneath the Reflections. This guide is a must have and it’s free to download online:

If you are heading to Fiordland you will need a Clean Vessel Pass to ensure that this incredible National Park stays pest free. More info here.

Doubtful Sound as a must see where you should meet Billy Williams who runs the Deep Cove trust hostel. Lovely guy, wonderful hiking tracks, amazing experience. Also the waterfalls at George Sound. A place with heaps if sandflies but super beautiful walks.

Fiordland in Winter is a gem: fewer sandflies and people, friendly fishermen and the weather systems, although bigger, are more predictable.  But you’ll need a heater!


More notes from Michaela from SV Alita:

George Sound: most sandflies in Fiordland but well worth visiting. You anchor underneath a waterfall tying up to a line in the back. You can walk up the little waterfall to the right of the main waterfall. Once you reach the top there is a little path (not really marked, but you can follow it) and eventually you will find a canoe in the bush to your left. Pull it down and paddle around Lake Alice. Very beautiful and romantic. The canoe is very old and has holes but still floats. In the main bay south of the waterfall there is a DOC hut and from there a path leads all the way over the mountains. It is worth while walking it to Lake Katherine (about 2hrs one way). You cross many waterfalls, mud holes and walk / climb over slippery rocks and over a hanging bridge. Hiking boots are a must.
Doubtful Sound is the sound of clouds and fog early in the morning. Excellent fishing, lots of crayfish on the outer arms. Drive all the way into Deep Cove and meet the manager of the Trust & Hostel, Billy Williams and his wife Wilma. You can buy Internet, get a shower for $5 and buy Diesel (about 15-20% more expensive than regular gas stations but cheaper than Milford Sound). Billy can show you the different walks around the area which are all worth while. I personally love the old Doubtful track with a detour to Helena Falls as well as the track right behind the hostel which leads up to a high waterfall. This is a quite challenging walk.
Dusky Sound is the Crayfish sound. If you don’t go diving you most likely will get some from fishermen. Make sure you have something for the fishermen in return like beer, any other alcohol or nicely cooked food or cakes. Dusky Sound has the least Sandflies. Most popular anchorage is at Luncheon Cove (a historical landmark) with a walk around the island and seal colony around the corner. In march you will see all the so very cute baby seals. You’ll hear them at your anchorage and sometimes see them as well. Luncheon cove is a great protection in all winds. Come early if the conditions get bad because it will be full.

Heading North?

Check out a passage plan for a trip to the Marlborough Sounds from Lyttelton

We haven’t included any information about sailing in the Abel Tasman or Marlborough Sounds – but lets just say that these destinations are absolutely amazing, and warrant a complete page of their own – watch this space! They are well worth a visit on your trip around the South Island.

On the West Coast:

Westport.  41° 44′ 41.08816″ S 171° 35′ 41.40280″ E

You can only get into Westport in very clam conditions. There is a (changing) sand bar at the entry and can get very nasty with westerly winds. An additional danger is right after rain when the river is running out to the ocean. The current can cause some danger and also could contain logs etc. You should always contact the harbourmaster on VHF channel 14 or phone 03 788 8086 before entering to ask for recommendation it an entry is possible.

Also on a website of Westport you can see the current position and depth of the sandbar. Once in you will most likely tie up to the Pilot Boat. There are no facilities but you still pay a berth age fee of about $25. In Westport you find all the supplies you need and from there you can rent a car and drive to explore the Coast including Punakaiki or head north to Denniston. There are lots of activities in the area, where Westport is a good starting point.


Sailing past Mt Cook

Planning your Trip

Tips from Alita again: We have tried sailing both clockwise and anticlockwise around the South Island, meaning going down the west coast and sailing up the east coast and vice versa. Which is better? That’s personal taste. You will end up motoring most of the way.
Going down the west coast mostly means you motor down. There is hardly any chance for sailing. And there are almost always cross seas. Swell from one direction and wind wave against it. You’re not going to sail down in southerlies. When we sailed down we waited for the southerlies to change and then motored in no wind. Worked fine.
Coming up the west coast we managed to sail a little bit, but still mostly motoring. However I find way calmer than coming up the east coast. In order to sail up the east coast you have to leave just after a front passed through. That means rough seas and wind for 12 hrs. Then the wind dies and you’re left with motoring in still unruly seas. Coming down the east coast I found was nicer, but you always have the current against you. At least we managed to sail parts of the trip which was nice. Marcus thinks he liked the other way better because you don’t have the current against you.
I found it way more comfortable down the east coast and up the west coast. The only difficulty really is Puyesgur. It is hard to find a window in which you can sail up from Stewart Island. Having said that we had one that fit perfectly well in our timing. And leaving from Port Pegasus gave us a better angle, that helped. We did actually sail up from Port Pegasus to the next Fjord around the corner, stayed for a night and then continued on.


Another thing which is essential for both Stewart Island and Fiordland is a good sandfly protection an all the hatches and entries. As the sandflies are smaller than mosquitos a regular mosquito screen will most likely not be sufficient. We used a curtain with a smaller netting. Also we used a double lock, meaning all the hatches and the gangway plus, if you can, cover the cockpit to create an outside lock where some sawflies collect. then you will most likely have few downstairs.


Out weather is usually quite predictable. The Marine Forecast on is very good. We also use Predict Wind. Watch out for the blustery Nor-Westers and the following Southerly fronts.

South Island Maritime Radio Channels – Trip Reports, Regular Weather Forecasts and Emergencies – 24/7
Picton Maritime Radio calling CH#16 working CH#68
Farewell Maritime Radio calling CH#16 working CH#68
D’Urville Maritime Radio calling CH#16 working CH#67
Kaikoura Maritime Radio calling CH#16 working CH#67
Akaroa Maritime Radio calling CH#16 working CH#68
Waitaki Maritime Radio calling CH#16 working CH#67
Westport Marine Radio calling CH#16 working CH#71
Greymouth Maritime Radio calling CH#16 working CH#68
Fox Maritime Radio calling CH#16 working CH#67
Fiordland Maritime Radio calling CH#16 working CH#71
Chalmers Maritime Radio calling CH#16 working CH#71
Bluff Maritime Radio calling CH#16 working CH#68
Puysegur Maritime Radio CH#16 working CH#67
Chatham Islands “Fishermens Radio” CH#60 & CH#62

Local Volunteer Stations

Timaru Fisherman’s Radio 2045, CH#6 & CH#61
ZMH59 Moeraki Marine Radio CH#62
Port Chalmers Radio 2045 & CH#62
Port Chalmers Fisherman’s Aux Station CH#62
Bluff Fishermans Radio 4417, CH#61, CH#64, CH#65 & CH#66
ZLTH Southland Fisherman’s Radio 4417 & CH#65
Te Anau Fiordland Fisherman’s Radio 2444, 2480 CH#66
Milford Sound Underwater Observatory CH#12
ZMH73 Greymouth Fisherman’s Radio 2045, 4417, CH#62 & CH#63
ZMH57 Nelson Marine Radio 2045, 4417 & CH#60
Westport Association Radio CH#62
Admiralty Bay Radio CH#1, CH#16, CH#60 & CH#74
Bulwer Radio CH#1, CH#16, CH#62, CH#63, CH#65, CH#66, CH#71
Crail Bay Radio CH#1, CH#65, CH#66
Havelock Marine Radio CH#16, CH#65 & CH#71
Marlborough Marine Radio 2045, CH#1, CH#63, CH#65 & CH#66

ZLRZ Stewart Island Radio 4417 & CH#65

Thanks to everyone who provided comments and suggestions for this post including:

More info can be read in an article in Boating New Zealand Magazine