08 Jan What is the world’s third superyacht cruising ground?
In yachting circles, there has been much written about the world’s third cruising ground. Yet what is the elusive new yachting frontier? And how does it differ from the Mediterranean and Caribbean?
Depending on where you are, the third cruising ground can encompass the South Pacific or Australia or South East Asia. We would like to think it could incorporate all of these areas as they offer something different to the intrepid yacht Owner. It is a region jam-packed with different cultures, flavours, flora and fauna, and scenery. Here is our quick breakdown.
The Andaman Sea and west coast of the Malay Peninsula
The Andaman Sea lies between the Indian Ocean and the west coastline of Thailand and Myanmar. It is dotted with idyllic, tropical islands many encircled with coral and uninhabited. The Mergui Archipelago is in Myanmar’s sovereign waters and considered some of the most untouched cruising in the world. Further south is Thailand and the yachting epicentre of this region, Phuket. In many ways, Phuket represents the best of both yachting worlds as the island is alive with leading restaurants, beach clubs and shopping yet a short cruise away are majestic islands with secluded tropical anchorages. It is also the home of the Kata Rocks Superyacht Rendezvous.
As you cruise further south down the Malay Peninsula past Langkawi, the development increases and Penang and Port Dickson offer wonderful colonial ports. Finally, this route ends in the new world metropolis of Singapore.
South East Asia and the Coral Triangle
East of Singapore lies Indonesia, Malaysian Borneo, the Philippines, Timor Leste and Solomon Island. Aside from the cultural and culinary diversity found within and between these countries, they form the edges of the Coral Triangle. This 5.7 million square metre area houses the greatest marine biodiversity in the world. It is a veritable nursery which has 76% of the world’s coral species, six of the world’s seven marine turtle species and over 2200 coral fish. As you can well imagine, more and more yachts are flocking to the area to dive its reefs and witness its underwater glory. Although vast sections of this marine wonderland are uninhabited, at its southern edge sits the tourist mecca of Bali. It is a place to stop, embark or disembark guests and enjoy the Balinese pace of life.
The South Pacific
Just over 500 nautical miles from the easternmost edge of the Coral Triangle is the beginning of the South Pacific; a region heavily influenced by the French and English over a strong foundation of the Melanesian, Micronesian and Polynesian cultures. The enormity of this area is so difficult to put into words yet it offers something to the surfers, the history buffs, the divers, the nature-lovers, the yogis, the spa-junkies, the gourmands and those who love just a touch of tropical luxury. It is as easily accessible from the Americas as it is from Australia and Asia. The great expanses of azure ocean are punctuated with islands and coral atolls ranging from Hawaii in the north and Easter Island in the east.
At its southeastern corner is the largest landmass – New Zealand’s north and south islands. In the lead up to the 2021 America’s Cup, Auckland will be a hub of activity for the South Pacific as the Viaduct and waterfront comes alive with yachting enthusiasts. Many of these enthusiasts will attend the new Superyacht Gathering for three days of story-telling, socialising and celebrating yachting in the South Pacific.
Australia and its surrounds
Arguably, and yes we are biased, Australia is the centre and pivotal destination in this broad third cruising ground. Unlike any other destination mentioned here, you can cruise all year round Australia. As the summer tropical weather sets in, the yachts head south while the winter months later entice the same yachts north. This large, distinctly shaped land mass calls the Indian Ocean, Asia, the Coral Triangle and the South Pacific its neighbour.
It is home to 19 UNESCO World Heritage sites, 11 of which are accessible by yachts. The most obvious and admired is, of course, the Great Barrier Reef. It is the world’s largest living thing and is a collection of 2000 reefs stretching 2300 kilometres. Yet this is only one of the amazing and quintessentially Australian yachting destinations.
Within the protection of the Great Barrier Reef are the 74 islands of the Whitsunday Islands. Whitehaven Beach is part of this archipelago and was recently voted by Condé Nast’s well-travelled readers as the best beach in the world. Hamilton Island is home to a stunning, cliff-hugging golf course, six-star resort complete with private jet access and Australia’s premier sailing regatta, Hamilton Island Race Week.
The Kimberley, on the north-west coastline, has garnered huge international attention from the yachting community as images of M/Y Glaze stern to ancient ochre cliffs were published. It was an image which made us collectively gasp and won the yacht the coveted Voyager Award.
Yet it doesn’t stop there.
Ningaloo Reef on the same coastline as The Kimberley is the lesser-known cousin to the Great Barrier Reef and is Australia’s longest uninterrupted reef. It is the place to swim with Whale Sharks; an experience of a lifetime.
Further south is Tasmania which would rival Alaska for its dramatic coastlines and untouched beauty. And you can’t discuss yachting in Australia without suggesting Sydney Harbour during New Year’s Eve celebrations.
You could easily lose years cruising all of the anchorages, islands, ports, reef, atolls, archipelagos and destinations. In fact, it should and could be the leading cruising ground for the world’s yachting fleet.
The Australian Superyacht Rendezvous (ASR) is held at Gold Coast City Marian and Shipyard (GCCM) on the 17 and 18 May 2019. It aims to celebrate the Australian yachting destinations yet also those of our neighbours. ASR is a glamorous, invitation-only event for those with a personal or professional interest in yachting.
Contact the team to see how you can get involved.