The ultimate cruising and boating guide for your Australian water holiday.
Forget about snowmen, mistletoe, and log fires. The southern hemisphere Christmas is all about long, sunny days and spending time on the water. So, we’ve compiled a list of the best Aussie destinations for this holiday season, so you can spend Christmas on the sun-kissed beaches of Queensland or enjoy a refreshing change in the south.
The Whitsundays, Queensland
The Whitsunday Islands is without doubt one of Australia’s most picturesque places for boating. The islands have pristine beaches, clear turquoise waters, and a variety of marine species to view. It is a great place to relax and unwind on your boat. Highlights include Whitehaven Beach, Hayman Island and Daydream Island.
Boat ramp accessibility: Shute Harbour, Airlie Beach, Abel Point, and Shingley Beach.
The Abrolhos, Western Australia
The Abrolhos Islands are located 60km off the WA coastline. They consist of 122 unspoiled, 100km long islands. The Abrolhos islands are home to stunning coral gardens, abundant tropical marine life, and large colonies of seabird. It is the ideal spot to explore the wonders the natural world. They are often also called a “fisherman’s paradise”.
Boat ramp access: Batavia Coast Marina, Geraldton
Sydney Harbour, New South Wales
Sydney Harbour is Australia’s premier boating destination. Sydney Harbour offers stunning views of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the opera house. The waterways offer an array of colourful sights as well as a diverse mix of recreational and commercial traffic. There are plenty of anchorages that you can stop at for a coffee or a snack.
Boat ramp Access: Quiberie Parks, Milsons Parks, Manns Place, Lyne Park, and Mosman Bay
Mannum, South Australia
Mannum is home to many houseboats along the Murray River. Mannum has many things to do and see, beautiful tourist trails, native wildlife, a golf course, a bowling centre, caravan park and relaxing picnic grounds.
Boat ramp accessibility: Murray Street, Mary Ann Reserve
Corroboree Billabong, Northern Territory
The Corroboree is a part of the Mary River Wetlands and is one the most beautiful billabongs in Australia. This area is home to the largest concentrations of saltwater and wild crocodiles in the world, wild pigs and water buffalo, as well as a wide variety of birds. You’ll find plenty of barramundi, saratoga and other wildlife nestled among the waterlilies and pandanus trees.
Boat ramp access: Corroboree ramp. Turn left 1km east from Corroboree Park Tavern.
The Derwent River, Tasmania
The Derwent River flows for 180 km to New Norfolk, where the freshwater meets salty sea. The Derwent River is home to the famous Tasmanian Sea trout and huge black bream. It also offers sensational fishing, water ski and sailing spots.
Boat ramp access Millbrook Rise. Old Beach (Jetty Road).
How to Secure Your vessel at These Places
Anchors or moorings are used for securing a vessel in a certain location.
A mooring is something that allows you to attach your vessel to it. It can be a buoy, marina berth pontoon, or a jetty.
An anchorage allows you to stop your vessel and secure it using the anchor. There may be courtesy mooring’s where you can tie down your vessel.
It is important to know where and how you can safely moor your vessel and protect yourself, other vessels, and the surrounding environment.
Some waterways have designated mooring areas. You can navigate safely through these areas by following certain rules.
- Be aware of the mooring areas – be extra careful at night because moored vessels might not be lit
- Keep a close eye on people in water, small dinghies, or trailing rope
- Maintain a minimum distance – when traveling at 6 knots or higher in a powered boat. You must maintain a minimum distance of 30m from any moored vessels. You must maintain a safe distance from any moored vessel and travel at a safe speed if this is not possible.
How to safely moor your vessel
To moor your vessel safely:
- Slow down almost to a halt, move slowly, and limit the amount of washing.
- Consider winds and currents. It is usually easier to approach the docking towards the wind/current.
- Point your bow toward the mooring buoy. Then, reverse the direction to stop the vessel before it hits the buoy. Move the mooring to the front and put the engine into neutral.
When you tie up to a marina berth, or wharf:
- You can keep your vessel secure by tying rope at the bow as well as the stern to ensure it stays put.
- You should tie the bollards and rings to the mooring area a little further than the bow or stern.
- Be aware of the rise/fall of the tide.
When you are leaving a marina, wharf, or other mooring berth
- Turn on your engine before untying.
- Before untying, make sure you check your surroundings.
- You should ensure that all ropes are within the vessel and not leaving behind in the water. They could be caught in a propeller.
- Reduce the amount of washing you do.
You can temporarily anchor or moor your vessel at safe anchorages, which are protected from winds, waves, currents and other hazards. You should be aware that not all anchorages are safe for certain winds or swell directions.
Anchoring is not a good idea:
- In a navigation channel
- Anywhere you could block other vessels’ access from or to wharves, launch ramps, or moorings
- Within 200m of underwater cables
Keep an eye out for signs indicating that you are using a submarine cable. These cables are used to transmit telecommunications signals or electrical power.
Do not pull your anchor out if it becomes stuck in a cable. You should cut the anchor line as close to the anchor as you can.
- Near historic shipwrecks
- On bomboras, shallow rock, reefs and banks, or shoals
- In sensitive habitats such as areas with seagrasses or shallow areas.
How to safely anchor your vessel
Make sure that you have the correct size and type anchor for your vessel.
Anchoring is a process that involves several steps:
- If you are anchoring close to other anchored vessels, slow down and minimize your wash.
- Make sure you have your anchor and line handy. Secure the other end to the vessel.
To anchor safely:
- Let the vessel move backwards, lowering the anchor to its bottom. Allow three times the line to be released as the water depth.
- Increase the line to depth ratio to 5 to 1 if the weather is bad or strong currents are present.
- Anchor by the bow, not the stern. This can cause flooding and swamping.
- Pay attention to your feet! Getting the line wrapped around your foot is a common anchoring mistake.
- When choosing an anchoring location, take into consideration local tides and wind changes.
- You need enough space to keep your boat safe from any other vessels or hazards. If you plan on staying overnight at an anchorage, or leaving your vessel unattended, this is particularly important.
- Make sure that your anchor is secure. Check your position with nearby landmarks if you are unsure.
- If there are strong currents or winds, make sure to check your anchor frequently.
Need Cover for Your Boat?
Do you need boat insurance for your new boat, or maybe you need to review your existing cover? Getting the right cover is likely to save you more in the long term.