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