From US to NZ by way of boat?
April 28, 2008 9:28 AM   Subscribe

I live in the Southeastern US and I want to travel to New Zealand for a while (or permanently). The catch is that I'm pretty phobic of flying. I've done it many times around the US, but never for such a long flight. Is there a way to travel by boat (or mostly by boat) from the US to New Zealand? I have heard people say one can get temporary jobs or stay on freighters delivering cargo, but my google-fu is clearly not good enough.
posted by grahamux to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
What about crewing on a sailboat? Do you know how to sail?

I think it will be hard/impractical to find work on a freighter without training. My friend does this, but he went to 3 months of training at a free school I can't find online at the moment. Still, seems like you'd have an easier time finding a yacht that was going there and being crew on it. It could be really great or an ahab like experience.

You couldn't just suck it up for one miserably long flight? It's going to take you a month or so to get there by boat, at least. Probably longer.
posted by sully75 at 9:39 AM on April 28, 2008

Here is one agency that lets you book passage on freighters (as a passenger, not crew). Googling for 'freighter travel' will find you others. It is fairly expensive — usually the charge is by the day, so the total will depend on how direct a route you can find.

sully75, I think you are thinking of the Paul Hall Center, and, yes, going through their program and then trying to find a job that ends in New Zealand would be a rather roundabout way of getting there.
posted by enn at 9:49 AM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Here's a New Zealand-specific freighter travel site, but they don't have any prices. This site offers more common routes and it looks to be both slow and expensive. LA to Hong Kong costs $2700 each way before duties and taxes and takes three weeks. New Zealand is much further south and I'd imagine its busiest port sees fewer ships in a week than HK does in an hour. Plus, you're going to have to get from the southeast to LA without flying. I suppose you could drive across the entire country ...

Have you spent a lot of time at sea? Unless you have, no matter how terrified flying makes you, spending three weeks seasick will be worse. Freighters are not built for passenger comfort.

Now, could this be a cool adventure? For sure. But it's also going to be very slow and very expensive. The cost of therapy to get over your fear of flying is going to be a lot cheaper.
posted by Nelsormensch at 9:50 AM on April 28, 2008

If going by freighter is your desire, it won't be that bad - I spent ALL my childhood going as passenger in freighters, and although slightly boring, it is manageable.

These modern things are very comfortable, crew is happy to see new faces, and for the most part is enjoyable.

Advice though: carry something to do on such a long trip, because at some point you will get bored of the pretty stars at night or the incredible ocean sounds.

Remember your chargers/adaptors.
posted by kadmilos at 12:01 PM on April 28, 2008

Sounds like you can handle shorter flights but not the longer LAX/SFO to AKL leg

Why not break the flight up on the way by going US Mainland to Hawaii (staying a few nights), then Hawaii to Fiji (staying some more), then Fiji to New Zealand. You might even be able to do the US Mainland to Hawaii leg by a comfortable cruise ship (?). Plus you get some time in Hawaii and Fiji. Score!
posted by inflatablekiwi at 12:05 PM on April 28, 2008

You should fly. Ask your doctor to prescribe you a few tablets of clonazepam.
posted by neuron at 2:48 PM on April 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

You can take a cruise ship all the way down here. Here's one example I found by some quick google searching, I'm sure there are more. This one leaves from LA, takes 12 days and only costs around four grand NZ (so less in US dollars), all of which looks faster, cheaper and more comfortable than the freight options being posted above.

Go talk with a travel agent, I'm sure they'll be able to find even better cruise options than I can with google.
posted by shelleycat at 5:20 PM on April 28, 2008

Ummm, I'm not afraid of flying but ...

Isn't the scary part the take off and the landing? Whether you fly for 20 minutes or 20 hours you'll have to do each of these exactly once. The remainder of the flight isn't scary. It's just boring.

But not nearly as tedious as traveling by boat.
posted by puffmoike at 9:59 AM on April 29, 2008

« Older Language-Related Equivalent of Empathy?   |   Distill my bleeding parts Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.