New Caledonia or Vanuatu to Australia

What is the passage like?

You don`t need to be a “weather guru” to choose a suitable window to make the voyage from New Caledonia or even Vanuatu to Australia.

The passage to Australia is usually very predictable, weather windows are typically longer in the later part of the southern hemisphere spring (September - November) and Australia offers a huge target. This of course means that if needed you can change your port of arrival at any time to suit the conditions you encounter you are able to do so.

Typically, favourable weather windows of around 5 -6 days for sailing from New Caledonia to Bundaberg (the shortest passage distance to a port of entry) are found in mid September to early November. In recent times many catamarans have made the voyage in under 5 days.

It is worth mentioning that cyclone season in Australia officially runs from 1 November to 30 April, however, tropical cyclones can form at any time of the year so do take this into consideration when planning your passage.

By comparison it is well documented that the passage to New Zealand is potentially the hardest leg a cruiser will ever make as you are heading into southern latitudes with a very to small destination target.

One need only to take a look at the latitudes that one will be sailing in order to reach New Zealand to know that the likelihood of encountering challenging conditions is far greater.

Don`t take our word for it do some research of your own and you will find many accounts such as those below:

The time had finally come to leave Fiji and set sail down to New Zealand. This passage is notorious for being rough and it certainly didn't disappoint. For the first three days we bashed through big seas and strong winds which took a toll on both boat and crew.
In this episode, we clear out of Fiji and set sail in some very boisterous conditions towards New Zealand. We make great speed but encounter some of the roughest seas we have ever sailed in. Even going to the toilet is a challenge!
Turns out, sailing fast is rather fun! Who knew??? After our friend Kyle left from New Caledonia it was time to get south for cyclone season so we set sail on the passage to Coffs Harbour, Australia. And it was an absolute blast!

This is the final passage of our journey from Europe to Australia.

Heading back to the SW Pacific Islands.

Our friends from New Zealand will also tell you it is very difficult to return to the SW pacific Islands (New Caledonia, Vanuatu & Fiji) from Australia. In fact they recently wrote the following on a Facebook page:

“New Caledonia, is the western most Pacific Island neighbour to Australia and sees a number of Australian boats head in that direction each year. Unfortunately one of the things that help make Australia an easy destination, the SE to East prevailing wind also makes it a difficult place for cruisers to get back into the Pacific from” AND “Getting back to the tropics from New Zealand for the next cruising season is easy”

Once again take a look at the accounts below from those who have made this “easy passage” and make up your own mind if it sailing from New Zealand to Fiji sounds like an “easy” passage to you. Or do your own google search Sailing New Zealand to Fiji see how many report it to be an "‘easy passage’

We planned this passage so carefully and watched weather for weeks and picked what looked liked perfect weather window. We knew it was not gonna be easy, but we did not expected that... Bad weather, big waves and things that go wrong... Want a dose of misery?

Australia to New Caledonia

For the past 5 years we have made the passage every year from Australia to Fiji.

Only one of these passages was difficult and that was the result of leaving from a port well south (Newcastle) and way too early (April) and trying to go direct to Fiji rather than heading to New Caledonia and then waiting for a suitable window for the onward voyage.

In the past 3 years over 200 yachts, most of which have never been offshore before have successfully made the voyage east from Australia to New Caledonia and Vanuatu and very few have reported it to be a “difficult voyage”.

Below is some footage of those voyages.

Join the 2017 Go East rally participants as they prepare for the voyage, sail to, and arrive in New Caledonia.

Join Jesse and Clare as they sail their first international passage on Sprout from The Gold Coast Australia to New Caledonia.

Join us on our first ocean passage as we Sail from Australia to New Caledonia aboard the Catamaran Supa Trooper.

Learn more about sailing East from Australia to New Caledonia by clicking the button below