Top Yacht Charter Destinations

 

Australia & New Zealand

From the magnificent coral reefs of Queensland to the historical ports of Tasmania or the ancient green peaks of the Marlborough Sounds in New Zealand, a yacht charter vacation in Australasia is guaranteed to provide a taste of something rare. Whether you choose to commune with nature or enjoy the big-city life, you’re never at a loss for activities Down Under. Australia is the world’s largest island and its smallest continent, depending on how you choose to look at it. With a climate influenced by ocean tides, Australia offers everything from arid deserts to tropical rainforests.

Although a close neighbor to Australia, New Zealand sometimes feels like a world apart. Located 2,000 km southeast of its bigger cousin, the island is geographically isolated. Although relatively close to Antarctica, the warm ocean currents help New Zealand maintain a nearly year-round temperate climate perfect for land and sea adventures. Its two extraordinary islands encompass entire worlds, ranging from glaciers and ancient rainforests to hot-water beaches and thermal spas.

The Itinerary
No trip Down Under would be complete without a stop along the Great Barrier Reef. Stretching for 2,000 km along the eastern coast of Queensland, this is the largest barrier reef in the world. Meet nose to nose with its colorful inhabitants through diving or snorkeling, and even choose your dinner straight from the sea. While moving through the reef, be sure to make a stop in the Whitsundays, a group of islands off the coast of Queensland. A mix of national parks and first-class resorts, the area will pamper you in luxury and the warmth and beauty of the South Pacific.

Fraser Island is your next stop, the world’s largest sand island and a place of incredible natural beauty. White sand dunes and fresh-water lakes are home to an amazing ecosystem of bird, marine, and wildlife.

Next, move down the eastern coast to Sydney, Australia’s most vibrant city. The stunning Sydney harbor is the ideal location for your watercraft, be it a sailboat, powerboat, or corporate yacht charter. The Hawkesbury River, just north of Sydney, winds for more than 50 miles inland through spectacular sandstone cliffs, small towns, uninhabited islands, and woods.

Tasmania is the small island off the southern coast of New South Wales, just across the water from Melbourne. First, enjoy the hustle and bustle of Melbourne before moving to the more relaxed pace of Tasmania, where fabulous wines and culinary delights are ready to welcome you after your ship ride between the islands.

New Zealand has something unique to delight yacht charters on both of its islands. Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf, Coromandel, and the Bay of Islands showcase miles of coastline, freckled with offshore islands and stunning beaches. The south island offers protected waterways and the spectacular scenery of Marlborough and Milford Sounds as well as the natural beauty of the Abel Tasman. New Zealand has some of the very best in world-class cuisine and wine, which means whether you charter a bareboat, crewed, powerboat, sail boat or luxury yacht, you’re guaranteed to enjoy it in style.

Indian Ocean

For generations, the Indian Ocean has served as a major sea route connecting the spices of Africa, fragrances of East Asia, and the wealth of the Middle East with Europe and the Americas. Today, the archipelagos of the Indian Ocean are renowned as some of the most spectacular yacht charter areas on the planet. Seychelles and Mauritius remain poised in magnificent isolation in the warm, azure waters of the Indian Ocean. Both the Seychelles and Mauritius are swept by the regular southeast trade winds. Pleasant and stable climatic conditions prevail year round, making the Indian Ocean archipelagos a sailboat charterer’s dream.

The vast stretch of water making up the Indian Ocean is teeming with stunning coral and wild marine life. Here, gentle waves lap at the shores around which much of early civilization grew, leading to secluded areas of paradise.

The Itinerary
The Seychelles archipelago is known as the “Jewel of the Indian Ocean.” Its idyllic white-sand beaches, calm waters, sparkling lagoons, and brilliant coral reefs are some of things that make the Seychelles special; however, it’s the incredible and ancient wildlife reserves of rare and endangered species that make the Seychelles one of the most unique yacht charter destinations in the world. The Seychelles have even been cited as the original Garden of Eden. This extraordinary collection of some 100 islands and islets is home to perfect beaches and several nature reserves but is just one fraction of the size of the Maldives, the largest water-based country in the world.

Mauritius is equally as splendid as a yacht charter destination. There is no place on earth like it: It is the essence of fairytales and the vision of postcard perfection, where the world below the ocean is just as stunning as the one above. Enchantingly private and indulgently five-star, this unforgettable island is a relaxing dream. Almost entirely encircled by unbroken coral reefs, Mauritius is surrounded by natural, safe, crystal-clear lagoons, ideal for anchoring. Towering basalt pitons rise from a vast central plateau, surrounded by subtropical forests, rivers, steams and waterfalls.

On another trip—or for a longer journey—venture north to the Maldives. Known as the pearls of the Indian Ocean, the Maldives are the epitome of resplendent tropical islands. These ancient coral islands are rich in natural treasure: Tranquil azure seas kiss the sugary beaches that stretch for miles, rich in tantalizing seclusion. The bountiful sea surrounding this chain of thousands of isles is teeming with diverse marine life and healthy coral atolls, which are home to the rays, turtles, lobsters, and mammoth school of fish native to the area. Around 200 islands in the Maldives archipelago are inhabited, which leaves a wealth of immaculate cays and islets to delve into deeply. With thriving reefs fecund with life, every kind of diver, whether novice or advanced, will adore the stunning underwater display.

Mediterranean Sea

Teeming with various languages and cultures, the Mediterranean is believed by many historians to be the birthplace of civilization. History abounds in the region, and you can spend months yachting from Gibraltar and the French Rivera to Cyprus. You’ll find world-class resorts, gorgeous beaches, architectural wonders, and unspoiled natural beauty across the sea, the central superhighway of transport, trade, and cultural exchange between diverse peoples.

The Mediterranean is considered the most luxurious and famous sailing ground in the world—and for good reason! Follow the adventures of Ulysses or the ancient commercial Phoenician navigators and immerse yourself in lore. Luxuriate in the wealth of cuisine and wine, which you can enjoy in year-round temperate conditions. In just a few days, or roughly 700 nautical miles, you can pass through six countries, more than 1,000 islands, and 3,000 years of history. When you feel like a dip, remember that this closed sea hosts no sharks or poisonous fish in its tropical waters, so jump in!

The Itinerary
If you move west to east, Mallorca is a wonderful starting point. The famous island offers great natural beauty, quiet anchorages, excellent Spanish and Mediterranean restaurants, extensive historical points of interest, and plenty of great bays and ports to discover. You can enjoy the bustle of Palma, cruise to the quieter, upscale ports around the island, and also use it as a base to explore the other Balearic islands of Ibiza and Menorca.

Savor the glamour of Monte Carlo, Porto Cervo, and St. Tropez with some time on the French Riviera. The season kicks off with the celebrity of the Cannes Film Festival and the adrenaline of the Monaco Grand Prix, and until September, the whole region is lively with glamorous parties, night and day. The French Alps will be your backdrop as you wine and dine among the world’s movers and shakers.

As your yacht makes its way to Italy, take some time to visit Corsica, France’s best-kept secret. Then continue on to Sardinia, one of the top Mediterranean destinations for the glamour set. If offers the ports, beaches, hotels, and hot spots that you would expect, but you can also find an unspoiled, ancient Sardinia, home to shepherds, timeless villages, and medieval churches.

Continue to practice your Italian with some time in Sicily, which has been drawing visitors to its beauty and charm for thousands of years. The toe of the Italian boot offers a relaxed Mediterranean pace, superb cuisine, timeless ports, and amazing ruins, with the glorious backdrop of the famous Etna volcano.

The Aegean Sea is home to more than 6,000 Greek islands and islets, of which only 78 have more than 100 inhabitants. You can spend a month or more just exploring all of the riches of these islands, from scuba and snorkeling to land adventures seeing ruins from centuries past. One of the top yachting destinations in the world, Greece offers secluded ports, bustling cities, and renowned cuisine.

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