Q. What is the best time & place to depart from Australia for the voyage to New Caledonia

Some say that departing from Coffs Harbour is the best choice however we have chosen to depart from the Gold Coast for the following reasons;

  • Historically frequent periods of westerly quadrant winds are experienced in SE QLD during May & June that allow us the clear the coast sooner & provide us with calmer seas as opposed to leaving further south in developed S - S/E winds and the associated seas that they produce.

  • The passage distance is shorter if sailing  the rhumb line.

  • Waiting in Coffs Harbour for a suitable weather window means either being in an open

    roadstead (rolly) anchorage or in the marina which can be difficult to get a casual berth in.

  • Fewer marine services should you need something replaced or repaired at the last minute

  • It is easy to sail south to latitude of Coffs Harbour from the Gold Coast, with the current, if putting in some “southing” early in the passage is what the weather forecast indicates should be done.

Q. What are the Visa requirements for New Caledonia?


For stays of less than 3 Months. A short stay is a stay in the Schengen Area lasting less than 90 days or a succession of stays totalling less than 90 days in any period of 180 days.

You do not need a New Caledonia visa before you arrive if your stay will be for less than 3 months in any 6 month period, provided you are visiting only for tourism, and you are a citizen of any of the following countries ,,,, Click Here or go to www.cruising-newcaledonia.com/visas-new-caledonia.html to continue reading the full post by Cruising New Caledonia on this subject.

Q. How soon before the actual rally departure date should we arrive on the Gold Coast? 

Updated info on this subject will be provided when you register for the rally. As a guide we provide the following info;

We, the rally organisers, intend to be on the Gold Coast from May 1st. We recommend that those vessels participating in the rally also plan to do the same.  

The actual departure date is subject to our receiving confirmation of a suitable weather window.

Q. Are there minimum safety standards that must be adhered to ?

Is there minimum equipment levels required (e.g. HF / SSB Radio)?

In response to both of these questions please click here to read the Rally Entry Terms & Conditions.

Q. Do I need Insurance? 

As per the terms and conditions of entry for the Down Under Rally (click here) all vessels participating in the rally must carry insurance coverage. 

Down Under Rally sponsors, Baileys Insurance Brokers, are who we use and who we recommend for all your insurance needs whilst cruising. 

Baileys have been looking after our cruising insurance needs for the past 7 years. 

During this time we have needed to claim twice as a result of storm damage & a lightning strike (Two separate claims each one year apart).

We have found Baileys to provide excellent service , affordable premiums and prompt efficient no nonsense claims processing. We are 100% satisfied and recommend Baileys without any reservation.

Baileys can also provide a specialised Yachtsman’s Travel Insurance policy that covers cruisers on the water anywhere, and includes cover for search and rescue costs up to a prescribed limit.

Please see the attached brochure from Baileys for more info.

The principal is Neil Bailey:

Baileys Insurance Brokers Ltd
Phone: + 64 9 444 8860
Fax: + 64 9 443 4479
Email: neil@baileysinsurance.co.nz
Website: www.baileysinsurance.co.nz

When you contact Neil please be sure to let him know you are intending on joining the Down Under Rally as they may be able to offer you a discount (subject to policy chosen).

Does my vessel need to be Australian Registered?  

If you are intending to cruise offshore and visit New Caledonia or any other country for that matter then your vessel must be AUSTRALIAN REGISTERED. The only exception is if the vessel is a visiting yacht that is internationally registered.

Australian Registration is different to your state registration.

If your vessel is not Australian registered you will not be granted a clearance by Australian Border Force when you depart Australia. Without this clearance your vessel will not be permitted to enter a foreign country.

The process of getting your vessel registered on the Australian register of ships can take several weeks to complete so we suggest that if your vessel is not yet Australian registered that you begin the process immediately.

For more info about Australian Registration for your vessel and how to apply please see the attached copy of the info provided on the AMSA website or click here

What should we take as gifts when we are visiting the villages and the people who live on the islands ?

In New Caledonia the term used for this is La Coutume. There is a great article published by New Caledonia Today that everyone visiting New Caledonia should read.

The article is entitled Do's & Don'ts in New Caledonia and you can click here to read it.

In this article they talk about La Coutume and say;

You may have heard of “la coutume”, which is an introduction and the offering of a small gift when you enter tribal lands in New Caledonia.

When Kanaks enter the home of a chief, they will offer a small token as a sign of respect and to introduce themselves. Food, a few metres of textiles (cloth, easily found in Chinatown in Nouméa), money or a packet of cigarettes are the traditional and contemporary offerings, and if you’re given the rare privilege of being invited to a tribal home, you should respect la coutume by bringing a gift.

When you want to camp (in our case anchor) on a clan’s ground or visit a site, it’s wise and courteous to introduce yourself to the chief, if possible, or at least to someone in the clan.

For more information about how you can show you appreciation to those who welcome us into their country and their homes please also check out the Down Under Rally Cruising for a Cause pages within this website

Can we easily get our Australian gas bottles filled there or do we have to get some sort of adapter system?

Propane gas is not available in New Caledonia, only butane, but propane is available in Vanuatu. When in New Caledonia, Herve of Noumea Yacht Services is able to refill your bottles for you. It does cost a little more than we are used to paying when we fill them back in Australia but when you consider that you will probably only fill them once or maybe twice during your stay the extra cost for the service is still more economical that modifying your existing connections and fittings.

Do you have another question?

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