Expedition Southport, Australia to Middleton Reef, Elizabeth Reef, Lord Howe Island, Ball’s Pyramid, Norfolk Island to Auckland, New Zealand / 1,400 Nm / 15 Days / CAT 1 Ocean Passage
The ocean passage from Southport, Queensland, Australia to Middleton Reef, Elizabeth Reef, Lord Howe Island, Ball’s Pyramid, Norfolk Island and finally onto Auckland, New Zealand is a true adventurers expedition. We depart Southport and head 300nm east to the notorious Middleton Reef, one of the southernmost platform reefs in the world. This 6nm long reef rises up from the 3,000 metres deep Tasman Seafloor and is visible at low tide. It’s claimed more than 70 vessels in the past 100 years with some wrecks still visible.
Then we’ll sail 30nm south to Elizabeth Reef, where we will anchor and go ashore on Elizabeth Island, a sand island inside the platform reef that’s covered at high tide. Imagine standing on a tiny island 300nm off the East Coast of Australia with nothing but the Tasman Sea in every direction! Its 100nm south to our next stop at Lord Howe Island where we will tie up on a mooring in the lagoon for 2-3 nights on the western side and take the opportunity to swim, cycle, hike, relax and enjoy everything this stunning island has to offer.
Crossing the Tasman Sea
Crossing the Tasman Sea is one of the most revered ocean crossings on the planet. With nothing but the open ocean from the bottom of Australia/New Zealand to Antarctica; 1,000nm to the south, the ocean swell can build in height with no land to stop it for more than 2,500nm until it hits the shores of the Pacific Islands.
There are many reasons why more people have climbed Mount Everest than have sailed across the Tasman Sea and the rapidly changing nature of the Tasman Sea’s weather system is one of them.
David, your skipper crossed the Tasman Sea six times (two solo), the keys to success include waiting for the weather window, downloading live weather en-route and sailing a vessel that’s easy to mode for all wind and swell conditions.
Despite its reputation for extreme conditions, the Tasman Sea is easy to cross safely if you stay clear of the winter storm season (late May to August) and wait for a safe weather window. It’s an absolute bucket-list voyage and a hugely satisfying personal achievement.
The sea life, milky way, phosphorescence and tranquility of crossing an ocean and seeing no other vessels for the bulk of the voyage, really make this a special sailing experience.