We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Went for 1 day - came back for 3 more”

Great Escape Yacht Charters and Sailing School
Ranked #1 of 4 things to do in Opua
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 23 October 2013

As Mel had never sailed before we decided to try a one day sail. She enjoyed it so much we changed our holiday plans to spend another 3 days with Great Escape. Darren & his team could not have been more helpful & along with the welcoming Opua yacht club locals, we were made to feel at home. The Davidson 20 had the basics & was perfect for a couple for a few days sailing the magical Bay of Islands. A highlight was seeing dolphins in their natural habitat. One of the best things about Great Escape is that they are contactable whilst you're on the water by mobile or two-way, so you feel safe knowing help is at hand if you need it. I had looked at other yacht charters, but they didn't match Great Escape for value, whether bare boat or sailing courses. Darren & his crew's sailing enthusiasm shone through their good humour & smiles & extended to their expert knowledge & advice. They are down to earth & don't pretend to be a luxury yacht charter. If you are looking to do some hands on 'real' sailing, then we cannot recommend them highly enough. We are booked for another trip next year.

1  Thank Travel-Sitreps
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GreatEscapeNorthland, Manager at Great Escape Yacht Charters and Sailing School, responded to this reviewResponded 27 October 2013

Hi Vince and Mel

It was great getting to know you both and enjoyed having a laugh with you. Really looking forward to catching up with you both again in February.. Sorry about the Oar prank!! impossible to resist

See you in Feb

Darren

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Write a Review
Reviews (64)
There are newer reviews for Great Escape Yacht Charters and Sailing School
See the most recent reviews
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year
Language

56 - 60 of 64 reviews

Reviewed 22 October 2013

Darren and Great Escapes sailing company did an incredible job of outfitting us for our sailing cruise exploring around the Bay of Islands. Their responses to our website inquiry were quick and detailed, they worked with us on flexible timing of departure, and did a lot of little things before and after to make the experience wonderful. He set us up with a great boat, expert advice, and recommendations of where to explore and harbor. He had a professor but fun and relaxed perspective that set a perfect attitude for our sailing trip. We highly recommend them to everyone! We chartered a boat for a couple of days but they also do 5 day long sailing courses which sounded like the perfect way to get into sailing.

Thank Mackenzie S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GreatEscapeNorthland, Manager at Great Escape Yacht Charters and Sailing School, responded to this reviewResponded 27 October 2013

Hello there

So pleased you enjoyed your time with us and thank you for your feedback..
We hope the rest of your NZ experience was great also.

Look forward to seeing you again
Darren

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 May 2013

We had a wonderful long weekend with the Great Escape team. As almost novices we got a lot out of the two days instruction and we were confident enough to go out on our own for a couple of days round the bay. Our teacher Michelle was fantastic and (importantly) patient, and we enjoyed meeting Darren who runs the Great Escapes business. We will absolutely be back to sail round the beautiful bay of Islands with Great Escape.

Note that the sailing lesson/charters offered by Great Escape are a very good deal - far cheaper than any other sailing school we know of. Not surprisingly the boats (at least the smaller ones) are fairly "no frills". However my view is that these basic sort of yachts are best to learn on, and if you want luxury you need to be prepared to pay quite a bit more.

Thank Ana S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GreatEscapeNorthland, Manager at Great Escape Yacht Charters and Sailing School, responded to this reviewResponded 20 October 2013

Hello Ana

I am so happy you had a great time sailing with us and I hope you continue sailing. The bay of Islands are perfect for learning. Michelle is wonderful and such a great teacher we are fortunate to have her on our team.. She and her family have just sailed from NZ to Fiji and are, as we speak sailing to Vanauatu, she will be back with us soon

Fair winds Ana, hope to see you again
Darren

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2013

Three Middle Aged seasoned sailors chartered a Great Escape 31 Raven, a well appointed and well maintained craft. Before getting aboard, we managed to sample the local Yacht Club at Darren's recommendation and were made very welcome with good food and beer!
We chartered for three days and with the local knowledge of Darren his proposed route saw us dipping in and out of the islands before heading into more open waters around Cape Brett to Whangamumu harbour. Perfect advice. A great sail in predictable winds, making for some great sailing and a fantastic spot for the first night. The second sail saw us enjoying the challenges of inland sailing around the many islands with switching winds before mooring at an idyllic bay. the final day saw us close our tour of the island with a stop for morning tea at Roberton Island, were we were greeted by one of Great Escape's, friendly "learn to sail trainers" for a chat and a catch up. The final sail down the Veronica Channel was pure reflection on a great three days sail and on a easy to sail and responsive craft.
Darren the owner meet us as we moored up in Opua and listened to our travels, perfect finish to a great sail. The Bay of Islands must present itself as one of the best inland waters in the world. Great escape is clearly well position to either introduce new sailors to experience this environment the best possible way, or for the more accomplished sailor to journey around great bays or experience equally spectacular coast lines beyond the Bays. Darren could do enough, from the first phone call to meeting us on the RIB at the final mooring. We will be back again. Cheers Darren. Blandy

1  Thank Blandy911
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GreatEscapeNorthland, Owner at Great Escape Yacht Charters and Sailing School, responded to this reviewResponded 31 March 2013

Hi Blandy
Thanks for your feed-back.
Glad you guys had fun, Whangamumu is a stunning place.. look forward to seeing you in November
Darren

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 March 2013

I have just returned from a 9 day yacht hire in the Bayof Islands .My partner and i chartered a 30ft Nolex which was just the perferct size for what we wanted.We chose Great EScape because they were competitive price wise, and were so easy to deal with and helpful..The boat was in good order and sailed beautifully.It was a centre board so we had great anchorages close to shore.There were good navigational maps on board so we really saw and loved most of the BAy of Islands
Darren the managing director was tops he and his business really impressed us.
He is very experineced in his field and has a great sense of humour to go with it.
We love the way he has a learn to sail programme on the smaller yachts for those new to sailing also.
He also met us after the sail in a bar in PAhia and bought us a drink which was a lovely way to end our holiday
Would totally recomend the type of holiday we just had with Great Escape Yachts lovely winds warm sea and plenty of sun and cheaper than a camper van!!

1  Thank Rosie h
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
GreatEscapeNorthland, Manager at Great Escape Yacht Charters and Sailing School, responded to this reviewResponded 15 March 2013

Hi Rosie

Really glad you had a great time, it was so nice meeting you and Ian. Look forward to seeing you again.

Darren

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Great Escape Yacht Charters and Sailing School also viewed

Russell, Bay of Islands
 

Been to Great Escape Yacht Charters and Sailing School? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing