Macquarie Harbour

4.0 from 3 Reviews


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Tides and Currents in Macquarie Harbour

Jack and Jude
Deckee Pro  
Reviewed Aug 2016
Inside Macquarie Harbour water flow is determined mostly by wind direction and atmospheric pressure. There are two large river systems emptying water into the Harbour as well as many other smaller streams and creeks. The two rivers are dammed, therefore water flow from them is dependent on many factors.

A falling barometer will suck water in through Hell's Gate and a Northwest wind will drive the sea in too. Therefore during NW gales the influx through the Gate can be swift and currents in the channel leading from it can set strongly, usually inline with the deeper water. But be aware. Conversely, high pressure and winds from the south will push water out the gate, and if the dams are releasing water, or if it has rained heavily the current pouring out can exceed 7 knots.

Up and Down the Harbour, currents are minimal, usually determined by wind direction. In the small bays, there is usually no current. The Gordon River usually has about a half a knot outpouring of water. This can increase with higher rainfall, or release of water from the dam. For more information on Macquarie Harbour see our guide -

Change in tide heights is almost always less than a metre, more often it's less than a half a metre unless a NW gale attacks the coast. Then a rise of a metre and a half can occur over a 6 to 12 hour period.
3 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jack and Jude

Hells Gate – Not as scary as the name suggests!

Jack and Jude
Deckee Pro  
Reviewed Aug 2016
In the south where wild winds can blow, Macquarie Harbour on the west coast of Tasmania offers ultimate protection in a landlocked waterway six times larger than Sydney Harbour. Surrounded by magical scenery and true grit history, there’s also twenty-mile access along a world heritage river with rainforest to the water’s edge. Facilities at Strahan, the only town gracing its shores, are limited but adequate for everyday needs with a well-stocked supermarket, several mechanics, a pharmacy and clinic.

Named by convicts interned there in the 1820s, Hell’s Gate, the notoriously narrow entrance into Macquarie Harbour, is not as scary as its name suggests. Sure, Tassie’s weather has its bad moments, but Cape Sorrel protects Hell’s Gate from the worst of it. Just do not attempt to enter during strong northerly winds. Full details on our website. Best time to visit – January through March. If you’d like company, every two years the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania hosts the Van Diemen’s Land Circumnavigation, the next in 2017.
Magical scenery and true grit history
Do not attempt to enter during strong northerly winds
3 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jack and Jude

Approaching Macquarie Harbour

Jack and Jude
Deckee Pro  
Reviewed Aug 2016
Approaching Macquarie Harbour usually requires an overnight passage as there are no all weather anchorages within daylight sailing. As the west coast fo tasmania is exposed to the Southern Ocean, swell can build from as far away as South America with a record 20 M high swell once recorded. Fortunately 5 M or less is more usually, but it is wise for safety and comfort to give the coast a wide berth of several miles.

When approaching from the North, aim for the lighthouse atop Cape Sorell (42 11.8733 S 145 10.1675 E - FL (2) 15s 51 m 17 Nm) until the rock training wall bears 150T Note that the white light structure on Entrance Island will be seen before the training wall and can be your guide. If coming up from the South, give Cape Sorell a wide berth as there are rocks about a mile offshore from it. White breakers usually mark them. After the cape, parallel the coast about a mile off depending on conditions.

There is a fine anchorage just to the west of the training wall, Pilot Bay, good in NE through SW winds, sand bottom, 5m depth, clear water with usually good flathead fishing. Some swell may persist.

Night approach not recommended without local knowledge. Refer to our guide for more information on Macquarie Harbour.
2 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Jack and Jude

Approaching Hells Gates

Tony Peach
Reviewed undefined NaN
I strongly recommend that after the euphoria of passing between Entrance Island and Nigger head, the outermost land masses when approaching Hells Gates, you quickly re-assemble your rational thought processes. Approximately 0.8 of a Nautical mile past (entering Macquarie Harbour) you will come upon Bonnet Island with its own light house, then the Cap, a small (40-50 m diameter). Both unfortunately distract your attention if you are a first timer. The cameras are recording your passage through this infamous harbour entrance and then, you can run out of water! It takes very little distraction for you to depart from the deep channel. The enlarged chart extract at the top shows the preferred route in black and the possible track caused by inattentiveness. I only required a 2m draft yacht ahead of me heel over 30 degrees to snap me back to attention and fortunately divert to the correct track. Beware!
2 people found this helpful. Do you?Thank Tony Peach

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