Cross the Ditch 21

Summer 2021

Cross the Ditch 21

In Australasia December means a return to the long hot days of summer, as folk everywhere flock to the beach, the bach, or the barbecue.

On VATSIM for more than a decade the first weekend of December has meant only one thing: time to take to the skies of the South Pacific and...

Cross the Ditch!

Featured for Cross the Ditch 21

  • New Airport: Cairns, Australia

    We are very excited to add Cairns, in Tropical Far North Queensland, as our newest Cross the Ditch destination!

    Surrounded by lush world-famous rainforest on one side, and the spectacular even-more-world-famous Great Barrier Reef on the other, Cairns is a jewel in Australia's ecological and tourist crowns.

    Its location, well north of the Tropic of Capricorn and almost as far west as Melbourne, makes it difficult to fit into a Cross the Ditch schedule, but we've finally cracked it by moving our initial Wave 1 departure point to Noumea (which will be guest-controlled by VATNZ).

    We're looking forward to showing off a part of Australia that has yet to be discovered by many overseas pilots, in two fantastic Waves this December.

  • Return of a Longer Range Flight

    By popular demand we are adding a longer flight option to this season's event schedule. While most of the event's sectors are around 3.5 hours in length, Wave 2 from Cairns to Queenstown (and Wave 2a from Cairns to Christchurch for Widebody Aircraft) will take roughly 4.5 - to 5 hours depending on the weather, allowing pilots to enjoy a longer oceanic flight experience.

    The first section of the flight travels from Cairns down the Queensland coast before heading out to sea near Brisbane. The second half of the journey crosses the Tasman Sea before reaching New Zealand's Southern Alps for the spectacular arrivals into Queenstown.

    Pilots in widebody aircraft can trade the mountains of Fiordland for the highest section of the Alps, passing just north of Aoraki-Mt Cook enroute to Christchurch. The sector is about fifteen minutes longer than Cairns-to-Queenstown.

    Both flights benefit from having the prevailing winds largely at their backs; the impact is such that a flight in the reverse direction typically takes about an hour and a half longer to complete!

What's it all about?

For twenty hours this December, the skies over the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand will be filled with aircraft all on a mission to Cross the Ditch.

An example of that typical down-under understatement, this "ditch" is over 1100nm wide. The flight routes all range from three to five hours flight time.

Throughout the event, Oceania's two divisions will be providing full gate-to-gate ATC coverage, in the Southern Hemisphere's premiere oceanic event.

This is a great opportunity to experience Oceanic flying without the need to commit to an eight-hour flight!

If you're new to Oceanic Flying, our reporting tool makes taking part a breeze.

Event Times

This twenty hour event is timed to allow pilots from all over the world to join the fun:


This season's event is organised in waves. Each airport will have a three-to-four-and-a-half hour departure window, during which time flights will be able to leave for the next destination. As the window closes, the departure window will open at the next destination.

Given each of the flights is 3 - 4.5hrs in length, the previous wave's flights will be arriving at the same airport as the next wave departs, maximising the amount of traffic at each airport.

NOTE: in order to ensure that you have ATC coverage throughout your flight, you MUST fly the wave route that is active at the time of your departure.

The individual routes are designed to ensure as much opposing traffic enroute as possible.

Each flight passes from one Oceania division to the other, and the result is six mini-flyins over the course of twenty hours!

The Waves for Cross the Ditch 21 - Summer 2021 are:

Wave Flight Departure Window
1 Noumea, New Caledonia (NWWW) to
Cairns, Australia (YBCS)
1700-2000 0400-0700 0600-0900
2 Cairns, Australia (YBCS) to
Queenstown, New Zealand (NZQN)
(B737/A321 and smaller)
2000-2330 0700-1030 0900-1230
2a Cairns, Australia (YBCS) to
Christchurch, New Zealand (NZCH)
(Wide body aircraft)
2000-2330 0700-1030 0900-1230
3 Queenstown, New Zealand (NZQN) to
Avalon, Australia (YMAV)
(B737/A321 and smaller)
2330-0400 1030-1500 1230-1700
3a Christchurch, New Zealand (NZCH) to
Melbourne, Australia (YMML)
(Wide body aircraft)
2330-0400 1030-1500 1230-1700
4 Avalon, Australia (YMAV) to
Wellington, New Zealand (NZWN)
(B737/A321 and smaller)
0230-0700 1330-1800 1530-2000
4a Melbourne, Australia (YMML) to
Wellington, New Zealand (NZWN)
(Wide body aircraft)
0230-0700 1330-1800 1530-2000
5 Wellington, New Zealand (NZWN) to
Gold Coast, Australia (YBCG)
0530-0945 1630-2045 1830-2245
Cross the Ditch 21 Route Map

Calling all Pilots and Controllers

Flight plans are available from the Flight Plans section.

Book your flights now from the Flight Bookings page. Bookings made on this site help us plan for the event, and will also show up in vroute.

Controllers wanting to get in on the action can also apply now at the event's ATC Applications page.

Cross the Ditch is brought to you by VATPAC and VATNZ VATNZ - VATSIM New Zealand VATPAC - VATSIM Australia/Pacific