Beyond the Caribbean: Ten Alternative Destinations for a Winter Charter Holiday
Temperatures are dropping, and the lure of some winter sunshine never felt so appealing.
While the sunny shores of the Caribbean, with 700 islands to cruise around, are a favoured option, this winter, how about chartering a yacht somewhere a little different? Gambol around the Indian Ocean with charter yachts available in the Seychelles, Mauritius and all around the magnificent waters of the Maldives too. Further afield, Australia and New Zealand are just approaching their summertime, with adventure holidays and world-class snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef. For those keen to get a dose of other cultures and cuisines, why not try Thailand, Indonesia, French Polynesia or even Papua New Guinea for a charter holiday unlike any other.
And if you’ve had your fill of winter sunshine and are craving sub-zero temperatures instead, perhaps a private charter to the Antarctic is for you?
Read on to feel inspired with our top ten alternative charter destinations this winter, and get in touch with one of the team to find out what’s available.
The 115 islands of this tropical archipelago are a veritable Robison Crusoe dream, with emerald-green waters and dazzling white-sand beaches galore. With the luxury of your own private yacht charter, you can steer clear of the more touristy destinations such as Mahé and Praslin, and head straight for the lesser visited coral atolls of the Outer Islands.
Here, virtually untouched islands are home to unique wildlife, flora and fauna, with the largest population of giant tortoises on the planet. Beneath the surface of the water, the Aldabra Atoll is the world’s second largest coral reef, and you can swim with whale sharks and manta rays at La Digue. The Vallée de Mai nature reserve is also an iconic destination on any charter adventure, having been declared a World Heritage Site.
A luxury hotel might be your first idea when thinking of this chain of pearl-white islands and atolls, ringed with turquoise lagoons and a magnificent coral reef. However, a private yacht charter gives you the freedom to explore uncharted territory, empty beaches and diving spots miles from another person, before returning aboard for your own tailored luxury experience.
There are over 800 uninhabited islands, rich in biodiversity and tropical ecosystems. Westerly Makunudu is a must-visit on any Maldives charter itinerary, along with the secluded coral-white beaches of the islands around Haa Alif Atoll. The South Ari Atoll, on the other hand, has ancient Buddhist and Hindu settlement ruins tucked away and waiting to be discovered.
Often described as the ‘pearl of the Indian Ocean,’ green and verdant Mauritius is a little slice of heaven for both sailing and motor charters. White sandy beaches and calm blue seas – thanks to the protection of a vibrant coral reef – give way to tropical rainforests and mountainous landscapes. The island comes into its own from May to December, with an average temperature of 25°C. Must-visit destinations are the sandy shores of idyllic Flat Island (Ile Plate), the bustling coastal resort of Tamarin, and Grand Baie,nicknamed the “Mauritian Côte d’Azur.”
For those who cruise around the islands and islets of the southeast, stopping off at Ile au Phare and Ile aux Aigrettes along the way is a magical way to soak up the region’s natural beauty. Charters usually begin and end in Port Louis, a cosmopolitan capital where the melting pot of Asian, European and African heritage can be seen in the temples, colourful markets and colonial mansions, as well as their cuisine.
As the Western Hemisphere descends into winter, the heat of Australian summer makes it a fantastic spot for a yacht charter. Spend Christmas and New Year on the beach, and follow in the wake of the world’s most famous explorers as you rediscover tiny islands, tropical coastlines, legendary dive spots and marine life found nowhere else on earth. Then of course you’ve got the Great Barrier Reef, home to 900 islands, 2,900 reefs and 1,500 fish species, which needs no introduction.
Since the 1970s, Thailand has held that boho allure for island-lovers in search of barefoot, laid back charm. Experience this vibe at Koh Samui in the western Gulf of Thailand, or stay in one of the exclusive luxurious resorts of Koh Kood in the northeast of the Gulf.
Though there are still plenty more of these wild and undiscovered corners across the country, you’ll also discover plenty of luxurious destinations on a charter around the picture-postcard beaches of the Andaman Coast. Elsewhere, go scuba diving in the Similan Islands, embark on a family-friendly kayaking adventure amid the distinctive limestone stacks of Phang Nga Bay, or venture to the hideaway islands off the coast of Krabi.
Bali and Indonesia
A yacht charter in Bali affords you the best of all worlds: you can hop between pristine islands (called ‘gilis’ in this part of the world) and soak the spiritual nature of these at the traditional Balinese Hindu ceremonies the temples, party in Kuta and Seminyak, and then retreat to your own private haven for some R&R away from it all.
While on dry land, set off on a day’s hike to explore the active volcano of Mount Bromo, with epic views along the way. Plus, under your own steam, the island of Lombok and its own tiny islands suddenly seem awfully appealing. Beyond Bali, the coastline of Indonesia is a year-round charter destination, with kaleidoscopic turquoise waters and a plethora of deserted beaches to be explored.
Also known as the Islands of Tahiti, a charter around this part of the South Pacific is the perfect gateway for luxury travel with a healthy dose of adventure. Hundreds of miles from the mainland, fly into Tahiti’s capital, Papeete, and embark on a truly off-grid adventure. Thanks to the protection of the reefs, superyachts can find great anchorage throughout the French Polynesian atolls, regardless of which direction weather is coming from. As well as famous spots like Bora Bora, there are myriad remote atolls with incredibly clear water.
An in-the-know highlight is the passage between the atolls of Fakarava and Rangiroya, where strong currents mean thousands of dolphins swim through to feed in the path on an incoming tide, and will swim right up to you to say hello. For longer charters during the winter months, these southern hemisphere islands also provide an ideal superyacht stop-off on your journey to New Zealand.
The two islands of New Zealand are a paradise for adventure sports, with some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere in the world. Cruise to Auckland, where the excitement for the 2024 America’s Cup is already building among the boating world. After this, head to the subtropical Bay of Islands, known for its golden sandy beaches and natural beauty. Close to Tapeka Point, you’ll find an abundance of wildlife including penguins, dolphins, marlin, whales, gannets and more. On land, food and wine festivals, skydiving and all sorts of adventures await.
Papua New Guinea
Located in the southwest Pacific, the eastern half of New Guinea and its offshore islands are home to beautiful beaches, lapped by emerald waters brimming with vibrant marine life. A country of immense cultural and biological diversity, a charter holiday here makes for a truly unforgettable experience for all the family, immersed in new cultures and environments.
The shallow, crystal clear waters are known for their magnificent coral reefs, and incredible diving and snorkelling can be enjoyed in the Bismarck Archipelago. Inland, you’ll find active volcanoes, dense rainforests and hiking routes such as the Kokoda Trail, passing through traditional tribal villages and silt houses. Though some parts are deemed unsafe for tourists, your captain and crew will escort you to places far away from any tensions.
Last but not least, why not go for a totally unique charter that you’ll never forget and head to the Antarctic, where summer begins in early December. With almost constant sunlight hours and temperatures less punishing than the rest of the year, wildlife is at its most active in these months.
One of the least discovered places on earth, Antarctica is a breathtakingly beautiful frontier for those seeking a real sense of adventure. With a highly professional crew on board, yacht charters will give you unparalleled access to see magnificent ice-scapes and otherworldly glaciers, penguins and their newly hatched chicks, whales, elephant seals and more.
If you’re inspired to take the plunge and head further afield this winter, Edmiston can help with every stage of arranging a dream charter holiday like none you’ve ever experienced. 85-metre Sunrays, 72-metre Bleu de Nîmes and 66-metre Ventum Maris all heading to the enchanting waters of the Indian Ocean for the season, with many others to follow shortly. Speak to one of our experts and start planning the ultimate off-grid adventure now.
23rd September 2022 |