I’m on the deck of one of the super yachts on Cruise New Zealand, looking out over the Auckland skyline and the iconic Sky Tower. The engine starts vibrating and we make our way from the Viaduct Basin in Auckland to explore Waitemata Harbor and the Hauraki Gulf. Bordered by the Auckland region, the Hauraki Plains, the Coromandel Peninsula and the Great Barrier Island, the bay stretches over an area of more than 4,000 square kilometers and is famous for its agate waters and more than 50 emerald islands.
Glide under the Auckland Harbor Bridge, watch as bungee jumpers gear up for their action, sail across North Shore and the Devonport Peninsula and cruise around Rangitoto Island, before docking at Mototabo Island. From our destination, I can see Waiheke, Coromandel, Great Barrier and Little Barrier Island in the distance.
The F5 luxury yacht is a 60-foot (18-meter) Pachoud Catamaran, a name inspired by the keyboard’s “refresh” button. It’s an entertainer’s dream, with three cabins, a comfortable lounge, dining space and a large outdoor area. The boat can comfortably host up to 30 people on a day trip and sleeps up to six guests overnight. It’s equipped for diving and fishing, with activities for guests including kayaking, swimming, fishing, snorkeling, and scuba diving.
Dine with Executive Chef Brent Martin
Park Hyatt Auckland Executive Chef Brent Martin is with us, taking care of all things food.
As a child, Brent found cooking pleasure with his grandparents. At school, he studied housekeeping and began to appreciate the complexity of ingredients and pairings.
At the age of 18, he started taking his passion for food seriously. His career began with washing pots and pans, peeking at his peers preparing intricate dishes. He’s been a chef for 28 years and executive chef for 17 of those. He has spent stints in Hawaii, the Bahamas, London, Sydney and the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean. He lived in Seattle and San Diego, and was the personal chef of the Dalai Lama.
For now, he’s barefoot, in a white button-down collared shirt and dark jeans as he navigates our kitchen on the water.
While preparing loads of chilled salmon, roasted squash, buffalo mozzarella salad, grilled chicken, and yakisoba noodles with crunchy tofu, he tells me he prefers sweet over savory. Prepare sticky dates and banana cake for dessert.
“Chocolate is my favorite drug,” he says. “It helps me get through tough times in the kitchen.”
Brent says his appetite for culture and heritage is what has taken him around the world. “I travel to dining destinations and restaurants. Living between different cultures has inspired a passion to learn more about the food scene.”
New Zealand cruise
Located in the heart of Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour, Cruise New Zealand is a family owned and operated business that specializes in exclusive and luxury boat rentals. Offers private and corporate charters from a few hours or a day, to a week or more. Longer charters can venture to destinations including the Mercury Islands, the Great Barrier or the Bay of Islands.
Cruise New Zealand caters to those with a taste for excitement and adventure, with a range of activities available including fishing, diving, snorkeling, jet-skiing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and jet-skiing. Guests can cook their catch by the onboard chef, or discover the crystal waters and marine life of the islands using the oxygen tank. Visits to scenic golf courses, wineries and restaurants can be arranged, along with helicopter transfers and scenic flights.
Getaway and Transfer Waiheke Island
Known for its stunning coastal scenery, boutique restaurants, and world-class wineries, Waiheke Island is a must for anyone visiting Auckland. Cruise New Zealand offers luxury charters for guests to experience their day exploring the rolling landscapes and relaxing on the island or visiting secluded beaches, while enjoying water activities and a meal on board. Guests can watch the sunset below the horizon while enjoying drinks and appetizers on board.
Roa Moana: High luxury
Rua Moana is the Maori word for “Bahrain,” and the boat with that name is Cruise New Zealand’s most luxurious day trip and overnight offering. It was designed and built to meet the needs of the “top” and was launched only two years ago.
The boat was built in New Zealand, and employed 120 people over three years. Roa Moana is 400 square meters and consists of four cabins and seven bathrooms, each named after a destination around Auckland. There are three dining areas, media room, daybed, hidden wine cellar and sunken sea area.
New Zealand cruise boats must be chartered.
F5 Half-day cruise (up to five hours) costs $4,467 (NZ$49,950) for up to 20 guests and full-day cruise (up to eight hours) costs $6,272 for up to 20 guests (excluding 15 percent GST ).
Roa Moana A half-day cruise (up to five hours) costs $13,086 for up to 50 guests, and a full-day cruise (up to eight hours) costs $17,598 for up to 50 guests (excluding 15 percent GST).
Alexandra Casey was a guest on Cruise New Zealand. They have not seen or approved this story.