The secret behind every successful cruise is careful planning
- Make sure your boat is suitable for the trip being undertaken
- Plan your trip carefully
- Plan your trip with the crew weeks or months in advance
- Familiarise yourself with Marine Charts of the area more than once
- Obtain regular weather updates and be flexible prior to leaving
- Ensure you have enough fuel and food – work out fuel per nautical mile or per engine running hours and plan a menu
- Make sure you have the correct safety equipment for the area of operation. Ensure you and your crew are familiar with operating the gear and that it is stored appropriately and is accessible
- Have on board a recognised anchorage guide as a “bible” and seek local knowledge
- Log on to coastal radio and tell someone where you are going
Note : Some areas are National Parks and will require a Parks Pass.
Useful publications include:
- Cruising Southern Tasmania – Cruising Yacht Club of Tasmania – available from www.tasmap.tas.gov.au
- Cruising North East Tasmania – Cruising Yacht Club of Tasmania – available from www.tasmap.tas.gov.au
- Maritime Tasmania – John Brettingham-Moore
- Tasmanian Anchorage Guide – Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania
- MAST Boating Guides – Marine and Safety Tasmania
- Tassie’s BoatWISE Buddy – Marine and Safety Tasmania (available from MAST Boat Safe Partner retailers)
These are all great additions for the chart table and time should be spent with either one or two of these and the relevant Aus Chart prior to departure when planning your trip.
For those of you with an iPhone it is also worth downloading the Boatwise Phone app from iTunes.
This app will give weather updates, useful phone numbers, links to safety videos, anchorages and at what conditions they are most suited.
From Montagu to Maria, Strahan to St Helens and from Dover to Devonport, there are plenty of options for those wishing to do some cruising and you don’t need 40 footer!
There are many places you can enjoy a night away on your trailer boat, whether it be a half cab or an open tinnie.
However, even with careful planning you should also have a “plan B” just in case the weather does not allow the preferred anchorage to be visited.
In the pages to follow you will find some useful information should you want to explore some of Tasmania’s great coastline. There are time and distance tables, videos and photos of some of the anchorages and photos of ramps.
In the far North West out of Montagu or Smithton a pleasant weekend can be had at Robbins Island and if the weather allows, try visiting Three Hummock and the Hunter group
(Chart: AUS 790)
If you are heading into Stanley boat harbour, it is ok at half tide to high tide if you boat draws around 3m.
- Three Hummock – East Telegraph
- Hunter Passage
- Three Hummock – Rape Bay
If cruising in larger boats, the best spot to lay up in the far north west would be the mini boat harbour at Stanley. This is run by Tasports and it is recommended you contact them prior to entering port. This traditionally is a fishing boat port, however the cruising boats are welcomed and Stanley is a great town with most services available.
The Tasports contact number for a berth is 0427 383 672.
Fuel is available by contacting Arnolds Fuel – 0419 522 592.
Other ramps along the coast with good access include Wynyard, however you will find it difficult two hours either side of low tide with a trailer boat.
If entering the Inglis River in a larger cruising boat don’t attempt it at anything less that ¾ high tide and if you draw over 2m, don’t bother.
At Wynyard, all the services are available and there is also a public wharf to lie along side. Refer to the Aus Chart for leads.
If heading to Wynyard it is recommended you contact the Wynyard Yacht Club to seek further knowledge about tying up alongside the wharf or the town pontoon.
There is also an adequate boat ramp at Burnie (Emu Bay Boat Ramp), but it is subject to surge. There is a “mini boat harbour” at Burnie, however with larger shipping movements it is not an ideal cruising destination for larger boats.
The entire north coast is subject to around a 2.5-3 m tidal range so care should be taken whilst launching and retrieving and entering rivers.
East of Burnie is the town of Ulverstone. Access with trailer boats is well catered for and also access to the Leven River is possible for shallower draft cruising boats. There is a public pontoon at the wharf where you may lie alongside. The tidal range is significant and strong so ensure springs and lines are firm. At low water you have around 1.25m draft at the entrance. There are leads into the river however please refer to AUS Chart 164.
The next major port east is Devonport. Ramps at Horsehead Creek and Victoria Parade give great access for trailer boats. They are both serviced by pontoons, however for all tide access for larger boats the Victoria Parade ramp is best (parking is limited).
Larger cruising boats often make landfall at the Mersey in Devonport after leaving Melbourne or Adelaide. The only berths available are at the Mersey Yacht Club – email firstname.lastname@example.org
Showers are available and the club has bar facilities and slipway to 10 tons.
The Mersey Slipways – Phone: (03) 6424 7944 is another private slip is also available in Devonport.
The Mersey is the arrival and departure port for the Bass Strait ferry service so care should be taken to avoid commercial shipping entering and leaving port. If launching a trailer boat at Victoria Parade, ensure there are no larger commercial ships entering or leaving port at the time.
Heading east there are some great anchorages in the Rubicon Estuary – a great place for cruising in smaller boats.
The boat ramp at Port Sorell (Chart: AUS 799) allows for easy access and upstream around Eagle Point the holding is excellent. There is also a concrete pontoon which is suitable for larger boats to lie alongside a few hundred metres west of the boat ramp. The tide is strong so you will need adequate springs and lines.
If arriving into the Tamar, the Low Head pilot station is a popular spot. Here a pontoon enables you to lie alongside.
Further up river at George Town all services are available and there is also a pontoon to lie alongside if needing provisions. On the western side of the Tamar at Beauty Point fuel is available at the Port Dalrymple Yacht Club, email email@example.com or phone 0437 072 181 for diesel.
A trip up the river from Low Head or Beauty Point is a fantastic way to fill in a day. There are many pontoons recently re-decked by MAST which dot the River Tamar (Charts: AUS 167 & 168) to allow you to go ashore, whether it is for lunch at Rosevears or to visit one of the many wineries.
At West Arm there is a great anchorage, pontoon and picnic area. You can cruise in company then go ashore for a BBQ. A great weekend getaway on any sized boat!
Spring Bay and Sheep Tail point are popular cruising anchorages further upriver, just north of the Batman Bridge on the western side of the river.
In Launceston (affected by low tides ) your best contact is the Tamar Yacht Club who have a slipway available and berths alongside.
Trailer boats on the Tamar are well catered for especially on the West Tamar. Ramps are found at regular intervals and all have been upgraded by MAST over recent years. Starting at the mouth of the Tamar there is a great ramp and pontoon at Low Head on the eastern side of the river. Another ramp is found further upstream on the eastern side at George Town. On the western side of the river there are good ramps with adequate parking at Kelso, Clarence Point and at Beauty Point. Both ramps are serviced by pontoons. Further upstream there is a good ramp at Devils Elbow (Sidmouth) and further upstream again at Gravelly Beach. The main ramp in the Launceston area is at the Tailrace which is serviced with two ramps and a concrete pontoon. The upper Tamar region is best explored at high tide.
Heading east from the Tamar with a trailer boat there is now great access at Weymouth and the fishing is good, however no services are available, so fuel up before arrival. There is a single lane ramp and a concrete walkway and this is ideal in offshore winds. Best to launch an hour either side of low tide to make sure if 6m plus.
Bridport is another destination for trailer boats and the town has all services. This is a good departure point if heading to Waterhouse or perhaps further afield to Flinders Island.
For slightly larger trailer boats a trip to Musselroe Bay and then a hop of 14.5 nm to Clarke Island and the Flinders Group is a must in the right weather. Banks Strait can be extremely dangerous in certain conditions, as can the fast running tides around the Furneaux Islands.
Flinders Island (Chart 800) is magnificent, however it is an area where you need to have done some planning and have spoken to someone who has knowledge of the area prior to heading there. Throughout the area there is a rise and fall in tide greater than the east coast of Tasmania. The strong tidal flows can create overfalls and rips in many areas. Ribbon weed can also make anchoring in some areas difficult. When selecting an anchorage for the night, try and ensure you have an understanding of the weather. Moving at night in some areas of Flinders Island can be extremely difficult and dangerous with tides and the many rocks.
A really popular anchorage is at Preservation Island which is between Cape Barren and Clarke Island. The western side of “Preso” is a good anchorage in NE around to SE winds.
If you require fuel, Lady Barron is the only place at all tides. It is again recommended you only approach Lady Barron during daylight. There are many places to explore such as Clarke Island, Babel Island and further north at The Sisters. Fishing is good around Flinders Island, but do your research into size limits and bag limits.
To get fuel you will need to lie alongside the Tasports wharf. The contact is (03) 6359 3502 or Michael Withers 0418 524 147.
If heading to the Kent Group, (Chart: AUS 148) then Deal Island and Erith Island are must sees. There are some magic anchorages around this area with scenery comparable to the Schouten and Hunter group areas. Be careful however as the passage between Deal Island, Erith Island and Dover Island can be very dangerous. Strong winds against the tide can make the entry into Murray Pass very rough at both ends.
Winter Cove on the eastern side of Deal Island gives good protection from westerly weather, however it is not unusual to have an easterly roll affect the anchorage. The wind also tends to funnel down the hills in squirts.
East Cove at Deal Island is a great anchorage in easterly weather. Ensure you find the sand patch NNE of the old jetty. A short walk up the hill will see you at the museum and caretaker’s cottage. A 40 minute walk to the light house is a good way to exercise after a few days on the boat, but be sure to pick the key up from the caretaker’s cottage as the views from the historic lighthouse are fabulous.
Garden Cove is also a great anchorage in southerly to south westerly weather. The anchorage at West Cove on Erith Island in westerly weather has seen many boats drag. Many seem to anchor along the beach, however the safest anchorage in westerly weather at Erith Island is under the “sandblow” at the southern end of the beach off the rock platform.
VHF coverage is available to Tamar Sea Rescue from Deal Island.
- Anchorages at Deal Island and Erith Island
- View from lighthouse at Deal Island
- Preservation Island
- The Sisters – Northern end of Flinders
Cruising the Flinders region and even to Deal Island in a trailable boat is possible in the right weather. The only place to access fuel would be Lady Barron or at Whitemark with a trailer boat. Also, MAST would not recommend this trip in anything under 6.5m and your planning would want to be spot on and in the right weather pattern and in company with other boats.
Late summer or early spring would be the best time to plan a trip. It is also possible to ship your car and boat to Flinders Island on the ferry out of Bridport, that way you could tow your boat north to the Palana ramp and head out to the Sisters in the right weather.
If travelling to or from Flinders Island, a nice anchorage exists at Eddystone Point and shelter can be found to the South or the North of the light. Make sure you have listened to the latest forecast before anchoring as the rocks around Eddystone are very tricky when navigating at night. In southerly or SW weather, the anchorage in Picnic Corner is ideal. When entering this anchorage, make sure you pick up Half Tide Rock, which is north of the anchorage at Picnic Corner and extreme care should be taken. There is also a boat ramp at Eddystone and whilst not a traditional 1:8 grade, it is recommended for 4WD only.
Further south, there is the hamlet of Ansons Bay. There is a boat ramp here and a small walkway, but access to open waters should only be done after seeking local knowledge. Runabout size boats only.
South of Ansons Bay, at Binalong Bay, there are two MAST cruising moorings. This anchorage is best in S – W conditions. When there is any weather from the NE-SE, it can be badly affected by swell and flopper stoppers will be required. Binalong is a small town but can be useful if you are not certain about crossing the bar into Georges Bay.
There is a taxi service in St Helens and the contact number is 0417 513 599 or 6376 2999 if you need supplies. There is a small gulch at Binalong Bay to leave a dinghy. There is also a boat ramp and landing stage however the ramp is affected by surge in most weather.
Georges Bay at St Helens (Chart: AUS 169) offers some nice overnight spots. Humbug Point beaches and Moulting Bay give you a secluded spot not far from town but far enough away to relax and enjoy a night on the boat. You may even take a little time for some floundering along the back channels opposite Akaroa.
Georges Bay is sometimes described as the mecca of bay fishing in Tasmania. There are two good double lane ramps both serviced by either pontoon or timber walkway. These are known as the town ramp or Stieglitz ramp.
Entering and leaving Georges Bay can be problematic in certain weather conditions and should only be attempted after seeking local knowledge and taking into account the prevailing weather conditions.
A nice anchorage not far from Georges Bay is on the southern side of St Helens Island. This is 6 nm south from the Burns Bay boat ramp. This anchorage is suitable overnight in northerly conditions. You should be conscious that the anchorage can be affected by SSE swells. You are anchoring in about 8-9 metres of water on sand.
In westerly weather some good anchorages exist in Skeleton Bay and further north in the Bay of Fires at Seaton Cove, although these can be subject to a roll in certain conditions.
Another really good anchorage in northerly weather, if you don’t want to punch further north and it is late in the day, is Long Point, north of Bicheno. The gulch at Bicheno is not ideal for deeper draft boats so the anchorage at Long Point is a great alternative. It is also suitable in NW weather in an anchorage that is often overlooked.
Further south we have Freycinet (Chart AUS 766 & 169). This entire area can be enjoyed by boats of nearly all sizes. Trailer boats can access from Coles Bay with a run south of 11 nm; at 20 knots this equates to 35 minutes. If leaving for a few days from the ramp in a trailer boat, parking can be an issue. There are four lanes and also a good pontoon and a jetty to berth alongside. A public jetty is available for pick up and drop off west of the ramp.
There are some fantastic anchorages at Schouten such as Bryans Corner which is suitable in NW through to NE. In NE sea breeze conditions the beaches to the east towards the passage provide some pleasant anchorages.
On the Schouten side of the passage there is Moreys and further east Gravelly. Moreys will give protection from the E to the S and W.
Gravelly will give shelter from the NE around to the W but ensure you get a decent hold as dragging is not uncommon due to the granite base under the sand.
Another nice anchorage is Hen and Chicken Bay on the southern side of Schouten; there is not a lot of room but well worth a visit in W through to N and NE conditions.
From Schouten Passage you can also visit Wineglass Bay, a distance of 9 nm north. Wineglass Bay gives protection in E through to NW conditions.
On the Freycinet Peninsula there is also a nice anchorage suitable in NE through to S at Cooks Corner, just north of Weatherhead Pt. If leaving from Little Swanport and the breeze kicks in from the west, there are good anchorages at Mayfield or the southern end of Grindstone Bay; this anchorage however can get a little roly!
Many trailer boats are now accessing Schouten Island from Little Swanport, a distance of 13 nm or just 40 minutes at 20 knots.
Car parking at this venue is plentiful but there is no security. Care should be taken crossing the barway. Larger planing hull boats to 40 feet have been known to be able to access Little Swanport, however it is not recommended unless you have someone on board who knows the area.
- Wineglass Bay
- Bryans Corner – Schouten
- Hen and Chicken Bay – Schouten
- Beaches north of Little Swanport – ideal for trailer boats in Westerly weather
Swansea is also a popular launching spot. A new boat ramp was opened in December 2017. This ramp now caters for boats launching on a .0 tide and has a depth of approximately 600ml at the toe of the ramp. There is also ample berthing space. Car parking continues to be inadequate in heavy usage times such as Christmas and New Year. From Swansea, you can travel to Coles Bay or further south to Schouten Passage in a short period of time.
The town has all services and is one of the busiest on the east coast. Driving from Launceston or Hobart is around the same time if towing a boat.
Triabunna, Orford and Dunalley also offer great departure points for the Maria Island experience
(Charts AUS 170 & 175)
If leaving for Chinamans Bay from Triabunna, allow around 35 minutes at 20 knots – it is a distance of slightly over 12 miles. Chinamans is ideal in most conditions. If blowing W-N, tuck up well into the northern end of the bay and if blowing SW go to the southern side, but it is only suitable for shallow draft boats. The Deep Hole is a popular anchorage in N-S; this is half way along the neck.
A great anchorage on the eastern side of the island is at Whalers Cove at the northern end of Riedle Bay. This is ideal in NW through to E and smaller boats can get some way up the creek to an ideal camping spot.
The southern end of Riedle is ideal in SE to SW conditions. It is all sand and although not as deep as Whalers, there is plenty of room to drop the pick offshore in deeper water.
All through Mercury Passage (Charts AUS 170 & 175) on both sides are some pleasant anchorages and like Schouten and Freycinet, it is worth the trip for a night or two. Access to Maria Island from Dunalley is also reasonably quick and around the same time and distance as Triabunna to Chinamans.
From Lachlan Island northwards to Darlington there is an existing mussel lease. There are some surface buoys however the lines should be at lease 10 metres below the surface. Boats are able to pass through the lease. From Darlington to Point Home the northern boundaries of the lease will be just south of the transit line.
The Spring Bay Boat Club (SBBC) has a new state-of-the-art marina at Triabunna. The Club now has 27 fully serviced marina pens and with plans to expand in the future with more berths being made available. The Club has a short term berth available for people cruising and the Secretary can be contacted on 0418 588 295.
The Town has a great butcher, the supermarket makes provisioning with fresh food easy and it is only a walk of a few minutes.
There is also a main fishing wharf owned and managed by the Glamorgan Spring Bay Council and Gary Laredo the Port Control Officer will always do his best to find a berth for you. Gary can be contacted on 0422 808 166.
Glamorgan Spring Bay Council has now completed sections 3 and 4 of their port re-development which includes additional marina berths. In addition to the extra berths, a fuel berth is also available. This facility was completed following a funding application driven by MAST through the Federal Government. See below for contact details if you need fuel.
MAST and Council have also completed a boat ramp with four lanes and pontoon. This ramp is ideal for those leaving Triabunna to camp or explore the anchorages at Maria Island or if travelling north to Freycinet. It has a large car park which is fully lit. It can be found next to the boat club on the eastern side of the port.
Triabunna Wharf :
- Casual wharf berthing for commercial and recreational vessels
- Loading area for loading and unloading vessels
- Public Toilets
- The wharf is currently being extended and diesel fuel facilities are being installed.
- Port Control Officer – Gary Laredo – 0422 808 166
MAST has also installed two cruising moorings at East Shelly Beach at Orford These moorings are for short stays only and boats must not be left longer than overnight.
In addition to these moorings MAST has installed three moorings at Darlington on Maria Island. Two of these moorings are for runabouts and are in reasonably shallow water. The other is deeper and for larger boats that may want to visit Darlington.
Must sees :
- Whalers Cove – northern end of Riedel Bay – Maria Island
- Chinamans Bay- Maria Island
- Haunted Bay – Maria Island
- Darlington – Maria Island
- Boomer Bay
The entire Tasman Peninsula is an interesting cruising ground
If heading up or down the east coast, some time can be saved going through the Denison Canal (Chart: AUS 169). The Marion Narrows entrance can be dangerous in certain weather conditions, especially in easterly weather and an outgoing tide. Always check the tides and plan your trip for high tide. Details of the Canal can be found on the MAST website.
There is a great ramp for trailer boats at Boomer Bay, Dunalley. This ramp has two lanes however parking can be limited at peak times. Also in Dunalley is one of the MAST cruising moorings. Not a bad way to spend a night whilst waiting for the bridge to open and go through to Norfolk Bay. A public jetty is also available for loading and unloading.
A private slipway also exists in Dunalley and they can be contacted on 0427 535 493 for more details.
If you elect to go around Tasman Island (Chart: AUS 797) try and time your run for a night in Fortescue Bay behind the wreck in Canoe Bay – great anchorage in SE to NE weather.
Another nice anchorage is in Bivouac Bay, although some don’t recommend overnight. Given the right conditions, a night stay would be fine.
There is a good ramp at Fortescue so this area can be accessed by trailer boats in the right weather.
A short trip around Tasman sees you entering Port Arthur (Chart: AUS 174/796/797). You can, in the right weather conditions, also go between Tasman and the mainland. This will give you a good view of seals on Tasman and also the old landing point on the island. There is shelter in all breezes at various anchorages in Port Arthur.
In Port Arthur there is also another MAST cruising mooring. Port Arthur is one of Tasmania’s most popular tourist destinations so there is plenty to see and do if you use the cruising mooring for 3 hours during the day.
For trailer boats a double lane ramp and pontoon is located at Garden Point. This is a great ramp and if you are heading to Tasman Island after a Stripey Trumpeter or a big tuna, then Garden Point ramp is an ideal departure point.
From Port Arthur you can head for the River Derwent or Norfolk Bay via the town of Nubeena. Nubeena has shops, a wharf and fuel is available at a service station. If entering Parsons Bay at night or even during the day be mindful of the marine farming lease which extends out of the bay to the Wwnw. The lease is marked by a series of port marks and these are lit at night. There is also a green nav light on Apex Point to guide you into Parsons Bay.
In and around Norfolk Bay (Chart: AUS 171) there are some fantastic opportunities with majestic anchorages. Just a short hop from ramps at Murdunna and Taranna, is Monk and Lime Bay and Ironstone. These anchorages can also be reached from ramps at Cremorne, Saltwater River, Dodges Ferry and Primrose Sands and are all good in westerly weather. The eastern side of Norfolk Bay also offer some great anchorages at Eaglehawk Neck, Taranna, King George Sound and Flinders and Sommer Bays. Be aware however of the Isolated Danger marker at Sommers Bay. These are all safe in easterly weather.
Must sees :
- Fortescue Bay
- Tasman Island
- Lime Bay – Norfolk Bay
- Tasman Peninsula and Norfolk Bay
Another area for cruising and trailer boats is the D’Entrecasteaux Channel
(Charts: AUS 173 & 174) and Huon River (Chart: AUS 173)
The “Channel” as it is commonly referred to, offers enormous potential for boats of all sizes. Ramps on the western side of the channel at Margate (Dru Point), Tinderbox, Trial Bay, Woodbridge and further south at Gordon and Dover offer access to the entire Channel area. All these ramps except Woodbridge are serviced by either a pontoon or walkway. From any of these ramps you can spend a few days exploring from Mickeys Bay, Tinpot and Partridge in the south right through to Barnes Bay and places like Little Fancy.
Care should be taken if travelling up or down the Huon River from Huonville to Port Huon. It is recommended a copy of the Cruising Yacht Club’s “Cruising Southern Tasmania” is kept on board, as this is a very useful publication for the entire D’Entrecasteaux area.
Throughout this area there are a number of marine farms which boaters need to be aware of. Care has been taken when the leases were assessed to ensure that lease boundaries do not intersect transit lines with point to point navigation. You are advised to make yourself familiar with the leases and a copy of the location of the leases is shown.
Further south, pristine destinations such as Recherche Bay and Southport (Charts: AUS 173 & 174) are all possible, even in a trailer boat. Great ramps are located at Southport and Cockle Creek further south. Some larger trailer boats have also travelled to Port Davey from these ramps in the right weather conditions. This should not be considered though unless careful planning has been carried out which would include a fuel drop from a commercial fisherman at Davey and if you had an extra fee days up your sleeve for poor weather.
- Mickeys Bay
- Butlers Beach
On the eastern side of Bruny Island there are also some scenic anchorages. Bull, Trumpeter and Variety Bays are all pleasant in SW to NW conditions and can be accessed by trailer boats from Margate (Dru Point) Ramp and Tinderbox ramp. If you have a larger trailer boat, don’t launch at Tinderbox as this is designed really for boats under 6 metres.
If taking your boat to Bruny Island, you can explore south of Adventure Bay down to The Friars, but again, check the weather as westerly conditions at The Friars can be unpleasant. Larger boats should go to Cloudy Bay (Chart: AUS 173) a great anchorage in easterly to southerly conditions. It can be uncomfortable if there is a heavy swell running.
If travelling to Recherche in any size boat ensure you have checked your charts as the Acteon Island and surrounding charted rocks can be tricky if you are going there for the first time. These areas give good shelter in westerly weather. Remember, there are a great number of fish farms in the Channel and Huon River. Make sure you are aware of their locations.
More and more trailer boats are exploring Macquarie Harbour (Chart Aus 177) on the west coast
This is an immense waterway and offers some unique cruising right up the Gordon River and Birches Inlet area. This area in particular needs careful planning and is probably best when there is a high pressure system SE of the state producing on-shore easterlies to the east coast.
Make sure you have a plan and also equip yourself with reference guides and the applicable Aus charts.
There are a number of cruising guides on the market and it is vitally important you have one of these aboard to check the suitability of anchorages.
Larger cruising boats also travel to Port Davey (Chart: AUS 176). To many this is “the” cruising destination in Tasmania. Pretty, remote, on the edge of the Roaring Forties. This is one trip that planning is an absolute necessity. Some boats have been known to be trapped there for weeks unable to get back.
The best time to cruise to Port Davey is perhaps from mid-February to May. You should seek knowledge from people who have been there if possible. There is good information in some of the guides but nothing beats sitting down with someone who has a good knowledge of the area.
Runabouts over 6 metres have also been known to travel around to Port Davey. If doing this, do not go alone; always go with a number of other boats for safety reasons. Make sure you have enough fuel. Some fishermen have been known to take fuel around for these trips and drop off for the smaller boats. The distance from Recherche to Port Davey, around 60 nm, does not seem far but you are travelling along the south coast of Tasmania where the weather can change quickly.
Macquarie Harbour (Chart: AUS 177) should be visited by all Tasmanians, especially those with an affinity for boats
There is a mass of water to explore and that’s not counting the picturesque waters of the Gordon River.
Whether you have a displacement boat or trailer boat, there is plenty to see. Travelling to the Harbour in a displacement boat can take time from the major population areas and you need a window in the weather to ensure you can get in through Hells Gates without difficulty.
Owners of trailer boats can tow their rigs easily from the north or the south of the State. Yes, it may take some time, but once there the scenery and cruising is magnificent and well worth the effort.
There are three ramps at Strahan. One at Meredith Street, one on the Esplanade and one at the Heads near the camping ground. Berthing facilities for larger boats are also available near the cruise boat berths. You should contact Tasports to arrange your berth and fuel is also available. If towing your boat it may be worthwhile doing so with an empty fuel tank, less weight and easier towing. Top up when you get to Strahan.
More and more people are also travelling to Strahan to explore the Harbour and the Gordon River. Again, weather is critical as the Harbour can become extremely rough in westerly weather conditions. An easterly gradient in a high pressure system on the east coast is ideal and this allows a safe passage down the Harbour to the various anchorages. Strahan relies heavily on tourism and aquaculture and recently approval was given to increase the size of the fish farms on the harbour. These will be marked in a line with east and west cardinal marks. Anyone wishing to cruise the Harbour should make themselves aware of the location of the leases and the markings. Have a look at the Notices to Mariners to make yourself aware of the latest updates.
Anchorages of interest include Farm Cove and Kelly Basin. These are on the eastern side of the Harbour close to the entrance to the Gordon River. Between these anchorages you can seek shelter from winds from all directions however it is best to seek some local knowledge on Farm Cove. Birches Inlet is a fantastic anchorage which again gives shelter from all winds. Double Cove is another popular anchorage in westerly conditions.
The jewel is, however, the Gordon River. You can travel up the river for miles. There is a 5 knot speed limit and you should always be on alert for the cruise boats, however these are not allowed past Heritage Landing.
Fuel supplies may be an issue in smaller boats so make sure you do your sums prior to leaving Strahan as you may need to take extra fuel with you. If in a trailer boat it may even be a good idea to plan it with others as bit of extra security and safety.
A steep chop can develop at the mouth of the Gordon in strong NW winds. Remember, no matter what size boat you have, you should always check the weather and stay in a good anchorage if you are unsure about leaving.
It is not unusual for boats as small as 5.5 metres to travel down the Harbour to spend time on the Gordon River.
There are some sensational areas around the State that will open up for you but remember to make your plans and be flexible in case of poor weather.
Wherever you intend to cruise in Tasmania, ensure your planning is complete and remember, purchase a “bible” to give you all the useful reference information you require. Enjoy our waterways.
Good luck and great cruising!
There are 17 public moorings in Tasmania.
Put these into your plotter when next on the boat ready for your next trip. Further details can be found under Moorings in Cruising areas.
These moorings have been funded through the Recreational Boating Fund. Applications close 31 March each year. MAST will always consider further applications for cruising moorings however we would need to know that servicing would not be an issue. Applications for out of the way areas that would be too costly to service may not be considered.
Cruising boats should have appropriate ground tackle.
You are reminded when using the MAST public moorings that you do so at your own risk. They are serviced every 12 months. Please ensure if using the head rope attached that it is free from chafing on bow fittings or anchors.
Cruising moorings flier (download a list of Cruising Moorings)
The Sullivans Cove Public Berthing Facility provides short term berthing for up to five hours. If needing to stay overnight, you will need to text 0418 145 439 and advise your name, name of vessel and ETD.
For overnight stays at Constitution Dock or Kings Pier in Hobart, contact Tasports:
- Office – 1300 366 742
- Port Tower – 6222 6061
- VHF Ch16
|Area||Fuel Type||Comments||Telephone Number|
|Dover Jetty||Diesel||Van Dieman Seafoods||(03) 6298 1475|
|Southport Jetty||Diesel||Chris Abbott||(03) 6298 3267
|St Helens Wharf||Diesel||Georges Bay Diesel||0408 130 226|
|Triabunna||Diesel||Available 24 hours a day at the Fuel Triabunna Diesel Berth with credit card or a fuel Z card from Bennetts Petroleum.||0418 374 525|
|Port Arthur||Diesel||Bennetts Petroleum|
Diesel can be supplied at Port Arthur on a Tueday afternoon. One day's notice is required.
|(03) 6228 0128|
|Hobart Port||Diesel||Bennets Petroleum|
Diesel can be supplied in Hobart Port Monday to Friday
|(03) 6228 0128|
|Port Dalrymple Yacht Club||Diesel||Email: firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Motor Yacht Club of Tasmania||Diesel and Premium Unleaded||New bowser, pumps. System upgraded to meet new Australian standards. The floating facility has spill kits and boom, extinguishers, lights and emergency cut off system on water and onshore.|
Can sell to non-Club members from the floating facility. Non members should ring before they arrive. MYCT do not normally supply fuel after dark particularly if it is outside normal operating hours.
|(03) 6243 9021
|Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania||Diesel||Available at the fuel berth||(03) 6223 4599
|Lady Barron Wharf||Diesel||Michael Withers||0418 524 147|
|Oyster Cove Marina||Diesel and Unleaded||Available 24/7. Self Serve. Card operated.||(03) 6267 4418|
See the Marine Communications section of the MAST Website
Tasmania – Regional Head Office
1st Floor, MBF Building
25 Argyle Street
Hobart TAS 7000
T : 1300 558 287 F : (03) 6230 1262
GPO Box 148B
Hobart TAS 7001
24 Wilmont Street
BURNIE TAS 7320
T : (03) 6430 1900
89 The Esplanade
LAUNCESTON TAS 7250
T : (03) 6332 3600
Information on Fish Farms can be found on The Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment – Marine Resources website.
Marine and Safety Tasmania
Bureau of Meteorology
Marine Weather Broadcasts
- Cruising Yacht Club of Tasmania (CYCT)
- The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania (RYCT)
- Derwent Sailing Squadron (DSS)
- Kingborough Boating Club (KBC)
- Bellerive Yacht Club
- Spring Bay Boat Club
- Port Dalrymple Yacht Club
- Tamar Yacht Club
- Montrose Bay Yacht Club
- Geilston Bay Boat Club
- Midway Point Yacht Club
- Kettering Yacht Club
- Wynyard Yacht Club
- Mersey Yacht Club
- Yachting Tasmania
- Motor Yacht Club of Tasmania
- Oyster Cove Marina (Kettering)
- Seaport Marina – Launceston
- St Helens Marina (Fieldwicks)
- Gravelly Beach Marina (Gravelly Beach)
- Bellerive Yacht Club
- Derwent Sailing Squadron
- Kings Pier Public Marina
- Motor Yacht Club of Tasmania
- Kermandie Marina
- Tamar Yacht Club – Beauty Point
- York Cove Marina – Georgetown
- Mersey Yacht Club
- Motor Yacht Club of Tasmania
- Prince of Wales Bay Marina
- Margate Marina – Baretta
- Peter Johnson (Hobart)
- Channel Marine Services (Margate)
- Brierley Marine (Derwent Park and Launceston)
- Maynes Marine (Glenorchy)
- CH Smith Marine (South Launceston)
- Gravelly Beach Marine (Gravelly Beach)
- Tamar Marine (Launceston)
- Eastlines (St Helens)
- Franklin Marine (Franklin)
- Active Marine (Mornington)
- Lewis Marine (Cambridge)
- Captain Marine (Launceston)
- Coastal Marine (Somerset)
- Rubber Ducky Inflatable Repairs (South Hobart)
- Stormy Lifejackets (Mornington)
- Spot On Fishing Tackle (Hobart)
- Whitworths Marine and Leisure – Derwent Park
- Oyster Cove Chandlery (Kettering)
- Tasmania Marine Centre (Longford)
- R.L. Welding (Huntingfield)
- Devonport Boat ‘N’ Tackle (Devonport) 13A Forbes St, Phone: 6424 5500
Publications / Directories
- Charts – Tasmanian Map Centre
- MAST Boating Guides
- Boats Tasmania
- Australian Marinas Guide
- Marine Directory.net
- TasPorts (responsible for all Tasmanian Ports)
- Tasports – King Island – Phone 6461 1155
- Tasports – Flinders Island – Phone 6359 3502
- Tasports – Stanley – Phone 6222 6061
- Tasports – Strahan – Phone 6471 7174
- Tasports – Hobart – for stays at Constitution Dock or Kings Pier – Phone: 1300 366 742 | Port Tower 6222 6061 | VHF Ch16
Tasmanian Government Agencies
Sea Fishing and Aquaculture (for fishing rules, size, bag and possession limits)
Inland Fisheries (for freshwater fishing and angling licences)
- Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
- Australian Communications and Media Authority (VHF Marine Radio)
- Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)
- Waratah-Wynyard Council (Responsible for Wynyard Wharf)
- Break O’Day Council
- Glamorgan Spring Bay Council
- West Coast Council
- Huon Valley Council
- Kingborough Council
- Tasman Council
- Dorset Council
- George Town Council
- West Tamar Council
- Hobart City Council
- Circular Head Council
- Burnie City Council
- Flinders Island Council
- Launceston City Council
- Latrobe Council