Bundaberg back in business after flood
Reviewed Feb 2017
Bundaberg back in business after floods. Reviews are out of date. Bundaberg town reach has dinghy jetty available making easy access to shore. Many yachts anchor in this area. While midtown marina no longer exists there is plenty of shopping and good chandlery. Bundaberg port marina has quality berths, restaurants, chandlery and fuel. Bundaberg is a yacht friendly destination. From a local yachty.
Bundaberg Port Entrance
Reviewed Aug 2016
As you sail through the area between Lady Musgrave Island and Lady Elliott Island, you can truly say you have arrived in Australia. These islands mark the southern extremity of the Great Barrier Reef. A day's sail across Hervey Bay will bring you to the mouth of the Burnett River. From the sea the land is flat. There are some mountains visible but they are inland from Bundaberg. There is one hill in Bundaberg The Hummock, located to the south of the river entrance. It is clearly visible from well out to sea on a clear day. During the months of July to November it is often possible to see cane fires as this is the cane harvesting season. On arrival in Hervey Bay call Volunteer Marine Rescue, Bundaberg (VMR 81) to advise of your impending arrival. VMR Bundaberg operates between 0600 and 1800 daily.
The channel into the Burnett River is well lit and well marked, and extends approximately 3 miles out to sea. It can be entered in all weather, at all times of the night and day. In fact it is one of the few harbours that can be entered safely at any time. It probably helps to arrive with an ingoing tide but should that not be the case, it is easily entered against the tide. There is no bar. The entrance to the river is marked with the South Head lighthouse on the south shore of the river. The coastline to the south of the lighthouse is distinguished with Norfolk pines. The Burnett Heads water tower is also clearly visible. The area immediately to the north of the mouth of the river is very shallow with breakers in bad weather.
On entering the river, arriving yachts should motor or sail up stream. The Port Bundaberg Marina is located approximately one mile past the lighthouse on the port side. The Quarantine anchorage is immediately downstream of the Bundaberg Port Marina. The Quarantine dock (Red 16) is located on the end of the red finger of the marina but yachts should not tie up there unless advised by Australian Quarantine.
On arrival in the Burnett River, call Volunteer Marine Rescue, Bundaberg on Channel 81 VHF and advise. They will advise Australian Quarantine of your arrival and give you further directions. If your arrival is after hours, proceed to the anchorage area and advise them of your arrival when the station opens.
Channel is well lit and well marked
All weather entrance, no bar
One of Queensland's friendliest ports
Reviewed Sep 2016
Cruisers are spoilt for choice when it comes to berthing in Bundaberg. There are three marinas and numerous anchorages, all with their individual merits.
Closest to the river mouth is the marina at Burnett Heads, located within the ‘Boat Harbour’. Access is via an opening in the southern rock wall, clearly defined by port and starboard markers. The marina supplies fuel and ice, has a slipway, chandlery and facilities for marine repairs and engineering. At the time of writing berths were reasonably scarce, but this could change if planned expansions go ahead...
One of our favourite cruising destinations
Reviewed Aug 2016
Cruising north this year (2016) we left Urangan to head for one of our favourite destinations being the Port of Bundaberg. Often abbreviated to Bundy one can enjoy an extended stay to explore this very diverse area. Bundaberg is located approximately 46 NM north of Uranagan and is an easy day sail. The channel into the Burnett river and onwards to Bundaberg is a well marked and dredged channel that extends quite some distance to sea with large port and starboard navigation markers (lit at night) . Shoaling waters extend well out to the sea and mariners are well advised to stay within the channel if you have a deep keel till well past the shallows.
The Port of Bundaberg is still a working port and large ships still frequent a large industrial wharf just inside the mouth of the river. A large fishing/prawning fleet still operates our to the Burnett river at all times of the day and night. VMR Bundaberg operate out of a base near the entrance to the river. While there is a small boat harbour there it is quite small with very limited access and room to manoeuvre. It is quite shallow and is not suited to deep draught vessels with a large area of the harbour drying out at low tide.
The Burnett river is well marked by navigation aids with port and starboard markers as well as lit leads making navigation with in the river relatively easy. An anchorage marked just inside the river mouth near the VMR station but better protected anchorages can be found only a short distance further up the river. Less than a nautical mile from the river mouth is the Port Of Bundaberg Marina. The marina has 180 berths with water and power. Haul out facilities are available with most marine services located nearby. Many international sailers haul their boats out and store them here till they return to complete their journey’s.
The marina has a 24 hour fuel pump where we have found some of the cheapest fuel on the east coast. Hire cars are available at an extremely competitive rate as well as a courtesy bus that take the marina guests to the main shopping centre in Bundaberg or the Farmers Markets at Shalom College that are run every Sunday ( not to be missed ). This has to be one of the best farmers markets around with a very large and divers range of fresh food and produce available at excellent prices. A local bus service also services the marina.
Located at the marina is the very well stocked Captains Chandlery where you can purchase most items you would require. If they don't have the item you require I have found that they are only to happy to order it for you. The area next to the marina is a hive of activity for the fishing fleet that come and go at all hours of the day and night to unload their catches. I can personally vouch for the Spanner crab when in season. A restaurant is also located in the marina precinct. A local bus company services the area and will take you directly into Bundaberg.
Keeled yachts can easily traverse the river and anchor off the main township of Bundaberg. Floods have demolished the old Town Marina but jetties are available for access by dinghy. While the town marina is no longer the Mid Town Marina Chandlery is still open and and has a large range of goodies for all boaters.
The township of Bundaberg itself has several shopping centres with a main shopping centre being located in Maryborough Street at Bundaberg. It is a large complex with Woolworths, Coles butchers and liquor supplies on hand. Across the Maryborough Road is a small shopping complex housing Saywells Butchery and fruit and vegetable warehouse. Both have excellent products. If you are an Aldi fan (who isn’t) and need your Aldi fix there are now two stores, one at 275 Greathead Road, Kepnock and the other at the corner of Bolewski and Johnston Street, Bundaberg.
It would be very easy to spend a week in Bundaberg to explore the area and local environs. If you have access to a car a day trip to Childers and Gin Gin will be well worth the effort. Of course one cannot write something with out mentioning the world famous Bundaberg Distillery. There is a visitors centre and shop where you can buy a large range of products. If you are not interested in the distillery just down the road is the factory where the as famous Bundaberg Ginger Beer is brewed. Tasting of other brewed soft drinks are available and stocks can be purchased as very attractive prices. The Bert Hinkler museum is also a must see for Aviation history buffs.
Not well known but very much worth a visit is the seaside township of Bagara. There is a patrolled beach and small shopping centre with several eateries..
While we rely on our paper and electronic charts “Lucas’s” Cruising the Coral Coast, the publication Beacon to Beacon and Noel Patricks Curtis Coast give cruisers excellent information regarding navigation and anchorages within the Bundaberg Port.
The Burnett river is well marked by navigation aids
A large area of the harbour dries out at low tide
Anchoring in Bundaberg
Reviewed Aug 2016
In Bundaberg anchor where there are other vessels you will most likely find the bottom foul in areas where there are no others! Sadly the marine facilities upriver at Bundaberg were destroyed in the floods of 2011 and recovery has been slow.
It is recommended that yachts now anchor in the vicinity of the Rowing Club. Going ashore can be difficult as there is nowhere to freely tie up at tender. The former marina does have access however there is a fee.