New Zealand's Top 10 Marinas

Dockside in the land of the white cloud

Annette Tuncel checks out some of the best marina facilities for those cruising or planning a charter across the Tasman Sea.

New Zealand is an island nation, a nation of people who go to sea with enthusiasm and passion, whether it be in a small runabout, as sailors on their own yachts or as crew on superyachts scattered around the world. It is also a nation blessed with a picturesque landscape and many sheltered bays and harbours, often within relatively short distances. A variety of marinas provide shelter and services in many of the main coastal towns of the North Island and in the north of the South Island.

Opua Marina, Bay of Islands

The Bay of Islands is one of the best cruising grounds in New Zealand and Opua is the main port of entry for New Zealand. The quarantine arrival dock forms the outer floating pontoon of the Opua Marina.
* 235 berths 10.5-27 metres with water and power
* Car parking
* Pump-out facilities
* Toilets and showers
* Laundry
* Security gates, patrols
* Fuel pontoon
* General store, café, restaurant, five minute walk
* Live aboard
* Haul-out ‘ Ashby’s Boatyard, two-minute walk
* Chandlery and Maintenance services, two-minute walk
* Opua Cruising Club next door. The Cruising Club has a well-deserved reputation for hospitality towards visiting yachties. The new clubrooms provide a gathering place to chat over a cup of coffee or tea and the local sailors welcome visitors to join in with whatever activities are happening either during the evenings or race events.
* VHF 12

‘The current can sometimes be quite strong through the marina. I found it easier to move or get fuel when the tide was slack,’ commented Ron, a visiting South African yachtie.

There are some interesting walking tracks near the marina.

If staying for some time then a car would be useful for shopping at the supermarkets in Paihia or Kerikeri.

Whangarei Marina, Whangarei

The Whangarei (Town Basin) marina is located in the centre of Whangarei, 19km inside the harbour.
Brian Caulton, manager of the marina, advises yachts to ‘travel up river on a rising tide as there are a couple of shallow areas upriver from Kissing Point’.
* 48 finger berths – 14 and 16m with power and water, key access to two pontoons
* 198 pile moorings, some available for multihulls
* Approx 20 berths alongside a pontoon (up to 20m vessels)
* Toilets and showers
* Laundry
* Chandlery nearby
* Restaurants, cafes within the Town Basin
* Town CBD, supermarket, five-minute walk
* Live aboard
* Haul-out and hardstand facilities down river
* VHF 64

Whangarei has a well-established and extensive boat-building, repair and maintenance industry.

Based on our experience in the marina over the past five years, I offer the following points:

* The marina is well protected from weather.

* Cars are parked in public car parking areas around the marina.

* While the marina is in the centre of town, there are some enjoyable walking tracks through bush a few minutes away.

Gulf Harbour Marina, Whangaparaoa Peninsula, northern outskirts of Auckland

Gulf Harbour Marina is situated on the edge of the Hauraki Gulf with beautiful anchorages close by. There is clear water within the marina and, with a solid breakwater, complete shelter from all weather directions.
* 1036 berths, for vessels up to 55m and 4m draft
* Power and water
* Laundry
* Toilet and shower
* 24hr security including CCTV cameras and patrols
* Secure car parking
* Fuel facilities
* Pump-out facilities
* Live aboard
* Wireless internet hotspot
* Licensed café
* Yacht club – full bar and restaurant facilities
* Golf club adjacent
* Haul-out ‘ 110 ton travel lift
* Hardstand yard
* Marine centre for all maintenance and repair jobs
* Yacht broker
* Ferry to central Auckland
* Car rental
* VHF 73

Jim and Michele, who lived in the marina on Aqautaur for a year, made the following points:
* There is little or no current and it is easy to get into and out of berths.
* The main bus route is just five-minutes walk and goes regularly to Auckland and down the Whangaparaoa Peninsula.
* Walks are really good, we recommend Shakespeare Park and around Army Bay.

Auckland is known as the ‘City of Sails’. With seven major marinas and thousands of yachts, there is an extensive range of repair, maintenance and provisioning businesses within the city, many concentrated in the area between Westhaven Marina and the Viaduct.

Bayswater Marina, Auckland

This is one of the city’s newest marinas located on the North Shore of Auckland.

* 415 finger berths – 10.5 – 45m, including 28 Super yacht berths 25-45m.
* Power and water
* Fuel Pier
* Pump-out facilities
* Toilets and showers
* Laundry
* Security CCTV and patrols, card access at pier gates
* Secure car parking
* Free wireless internet service at berths
* Lounge facility, including TV and free internet access
* Live aboard
* Minor maintenance only permitted

Martin and Cheryl on Seabird spent a year in the marina and had these comments:
* ‘We felt we got good value for money. The marina was secure, well-maintained and run.
* “There was easy access by ferry to the centre of Auckland and a bus to the shops at nearby Takapuna.”

Westhaven Marina, Auckland

Westhaven Marina, located in central Auckland, is one of the largest marinas in Australasia.
* 1432 marina berths 8-30m, plus pile and swing moorings
* Limited multihull berths
* Power and water
* Secure access to piers
* Pump-out facilities
* Fuel facilities
* Toilets and showers
* Laundry
* Free internet access
* Onsite café, restaurant
* Live aboard ‘ foreign boats only, limited to three-month period
* Haul-out and hardstand
* Marine trade businesses located close by

Hobson West Marina within the central Auckland viaduct is also run by Westhaven Marina. The marina caters for ocean-going superyachts, large motor launches and charter craft.
* 22 berths 16-50m
* Single/three-phase power and water
* Pump-out at each berth
* Secure car parking
* Secured gate access

Viaduct Harbour Marina, Auckland CBD

Viaduct Harbour Marina is situated in the central Auckland viaduct, the scene of two America’s Cup competitions. The viaduct is surrounded by apartments, restaurants, cafes, businesses and shops of the Auckland CBD.
* 50 floating berths for vessels up to 28m,
* 10 side to berths for vessels up to 40m
* Single and three-phase power and water
* 24/7 security including CCTV and patrols
* Secure access to berths
* Pump-out facilities
* Charter vessels
* Fuel facilities at nearby Bayswater or Westhaven Marinas
* Marine Trade businesses located close by
Tauranga Bridge Marina, Tauranga
Tauranga, with its sunny climate, is another popular destination for visiting foreign yachts during the summer months.
* 500 berths 10.5-37m with power and water
* Limited multihull berths
* 24/7 security with cameras, patrols
* Fuel dock
* Pump-out facility
* Haul-out and hardstand ‘ 35 ton travel lift
* Toilets and showers
* Laundry
* Café and restaurant on site
* Chandlery
* Internet access
* Repair and maintenance facilities in the area
* VHF 73

Marina administrator Julie Bailey comments: ‘We have a lot of current flow here (our breakwater is a floating one) and we ask arriving overseas vessels to anchor out till the next slack tide, then we go out and assist them to berth with our workboat.’

Chaffers Marina, Wellington

Chaffers Marina is located in a prime position within Wellington’s inner harbour and CBD, next to Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand).
* 165 floating berths 10-20m with power and water
* Port of Entry at Fuel Dock
* Toilets and showers
* Laundry
* Security patrols at night
* Live aboard for short-term casual stays
* Fuel facilities
* Haul out – fixed travel lift for vessels up to 40 tonnes, no hardstand
* Marine chandlery
* Marine trades on site
* Supermarket 300m
* Cafes, bars, restaurants nearby

Nelson Marina, Nelson

Nelson is located on the northern part of the South Island and is known for its sunny climate and artistic and cultural atmosphere. The marina is well-protected from surge. ‘The best time to enter the marina is in the morning before 10, as after that often a vigorous seabreeze blows,’ advised Jim and Helen from the yacht Gaia.
* 515 pontoon berths 8-18m. ‘We can accommodate two or three vessels up to 22m on the ends of the pontoons, but draft is restricted to 2.5m at low water,’ commented Chris Hawkes, the marina supervisor.
* 33 pole berths
* Water and power ‘ no electrical heaters to be used.
* Visitors are able to live aboard
* Pump-out facilities
* Refuelling station nearby
* Haul-out and hardstand nearby
* Marine trades nearby. Nelson has an established boating industry.
* Commercial laundromat nearby
* Cafes and bars close by
* Car parking is available in public areas surrounding the marina
* ‘The downtown shopping area is very convenient, a pleasant 15-minute walk on a pretty path along the river. The city is big enough for everything to be available,’ say Jim and Helen from yacht Gaia.
* Security is based on liveaboards within the marina as watchkeepers

Waikawa Marina, Marlbourough Sounds

‘We have a few berths, if available, suitable for multihulls,’ said Carolyn Weetman, Marinas Administrator for Port Marlborough New Zealand Ltd.
* 464 berths 8-18m with power and water
* Marina supervisor on site seven days
* Toilets, showers and self-service laundry facilities
* Fuel pier
* Pump-out facilities
* Live aboard
* 24/7 Security with cameras and patrols
* Secure car parking
* Wireless internet
* Café/bar and restaurant on site
* 35 tonne travel lift and hardstand
* Marine trades on site
For details on all New Zealand marinas see

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