Saving 60 NM of Rocking & Rolling - go inside Moreton & The Stradbroke Islands
Reviewed Dec 2017
When cruising Australia's east coast, we never cease to be surprised at how many yachties go outside Moreton and Straddie, rather than enjoy the sheltered waters of the Broadwater, Moreton Bay islands and Moreton Bay itself.
Sure, if you are in a hurry, bypass all this, otherwise take the calmer route!
As with all reviews, do your own research. Speak with others. Use forums. But at the end of the day, it's always your call.
It is quite possible, working the tides and taking care at appropriate times, for vessels with drafts of up to 2.5 m, to safely navigate through these waters, even on the neaps.
It used to be said there are two types of boaties in Moreton Bay - those that have run aground, and those that lie that they haven't. However, with keeping a good lookout, chartplotters, and navionics on the ipad and working the tide, passage is safe enough - if a little challenging at times. When we first started navigating the bay, one old timer recommended not cutting the corners / beacons too close! Sage advice indeed.
Working from South to North, and following the Main Channel, the main areas of caution are:-
1. The Seaway - an ocean bar, with lots of flow ... and an overrun. Refer to Lucas and other resources.
2. The crossover just north of The Aldershots
3. The dredged channel approaching the 110 degree port turn, around 0.25 nm NW of Tulleen Island. This can be very tight if a 20 metre Riveria is on the plane coming in the opposite direction!
4. The shoal area at either end of the dredged "Jacobs Well Shoals" (around 0.5 and 1.2 nm W of ("2"), above). Until around 2013, this former shoal used to be the area providing the most grief to keelboats.
5. The area within say 200m to the S of the Cabbage Tree Point boat ramp. We have found by generally holding close to the jetties on the western shore and almost following that line towards the boat ramp seems to work for us. It can get tricky if a vessel is encountered coming S ... depending on the situation, it may be best to slow and wait for the southbound vessel to pass. Of course, there is also the traffic around launching ramp to contend with.
6. Around 2 nm N of the Cabbage Tree Point launching ramp. exercise caution when going under the power lines,
7. Around 0.3 nm SW of Browns Bay (on Russell Island), there is a tight / shoal spot just to the E / NE of the red.
8. Similar to ("7"), it also gets a bit interesting approaching the oddly named Karragarra W's.
9. Around 0.7 nm NNW of Blakesley's Anchorage, don't go too close to the green. By this time, particularly on the flood tide, visibility tends to improve, but that can be dependent upon the tide size, wind conditions and if the rivers have been in flood.
10. Proceed either side of Peel Island, but unless you have local knowledge or a shoal draft, do not hold through what appears to be a comparatively deep channel past Polka Point on North Stradbroke Island. We have found the bottom out from the southern red beacon, in when we expected 3m under us!
11. If near the northern side of Peel Island, give the Hanlon Light and nearby beacons a good clearance, as there are said to be coral outcrops.
You can now bear to port and enter Australia's largest boat harbour. Wikipedia claim, when the dry berths are included, this is the largest facility of its type in the southern hemisphere. There are around 1,700 marina berths, so Westhaven in Auckland might take the points on the wet berths count. Regardless, it is huge!
12. Heading N from Peel, aside from the steep to Amity (sand) Banks intruding from between Moreton and North Stradbroke Islands, navigation becomes easy (many race courses can be set, without shoalng interference), until the sand banks midway along Moreton Island are encountered. Although there is a NE Channel, used by many, we have largely followed the shipping channel when exiting Moreton Bay. It pays to take the ebb tide, otherwise its a slow trip.
This article has not covered the myriad of anchorages, marinas, the Brisbane River and facilities available with a population of over 2 millon people. Sometimes, if you time it right, it feels like you have the whole bay on your own - now, that's a real treat.
Dont forget plenty of insect repellent and mozzie coils. These insects and the midgies can be ravenous. Good cabin screening is also important. If you dont need it before Moreton Bay, you'll certainly need it further north.
Flat water, beaut beaches on Moreton & either end of Straddy
Muddy water, lots of banks which can shift!
From the Gold Coast to Lady Elliot
Reviewed Sep 2016
The diving is fantastic. Sleeping turtles drifting alongside the boat, and the water so still that the turtles’ backs had dried off during their slumbers. Huge fish everywhere, excellent coral, a little current flow mid-tide, and — as we were only in 15m of water — I could look down and check our anchor location and chain lay. With 55m of chain and 10m of rope out to allow for swing, it is nice to check you haven’t tangled a bommie — it is even easier when you can see the bommie without having to resort to mask and snorkel...
Raby Bay – Little used, great anchorage
Reviewed Jan 2018
We have visited this anchorage a number of times over the years, and in all kinds of conditions. It is excellent in strong S to E winds, but also from S through W to North., which is the majority of the times. Good holding, although reefy and rocky areas near the shore in places, which can be seen in sunlight and low tide. The only unsuitable weather is ESE to N winds over 15 knots. You can anchor in any area between the entrances to the east and west canals, noting tide heights, but the best place for a southerly change and storm is inside the yellow cross over marker, marking the channel to the Air Sea Rescue and boat ramps, and the eastern entrance to the canals. Take the western canal to the end and tie up behind the public jetty, for very close proximity to the Railway Station to the city, large liquor barn, Hogs Breath Cafe, Coles, Woolworths, Post Office, cafes, main street stores, banks, Cleveland Sands Hotel. Take the eastern canal to the small road bridge, noting tides, and walk one block to the east for a laundromat, and nice cafe.
Handy to all services, shops, trains.
Keep your boat "sea ready" large power boats create wakes.
Usually only one or two boats anchored, all others go "home"
The wakes from the large power boats.
Moreton Bay - Tangalooma Resort - Caution!
Reviewed Dec 2017
We are regularly on Moreton Bay. This article is primarily about the 1.1 nm of beach / wharf and associated infrastructure, in front of the Resort.
There is a misconception held by many, that freehold / leasehold does not exist below the high water mark in Australia, therefore making beaches etc accessible to the general public. This was picked up be ABC Radio in the week up to Christmas 2017 and remained a live issue for 3 consecutive breakfast radio shows (see later).
Back to Tangalooma, in recent times, there have been multiple cases of boating beach goers and others being harassed when entering the 2km beach in front of the Resort, the harassment coming from overzealous contract and resort staff security guards on quad bikes. The security guards advise the beach-goers are trespassing, and are asked to leave.
Well, surprise, surprise - the Resort has a "Permit to Occupy", it was granted in the early 1990's - according to Moreton Bay National Park staff, the permit has a 99 year life. This allows the Resort to have exclusive use of the beach to the low tide mark.
The extent of the foreshore lease is marked by logs at the northern boundary, and is also marked at the southern end (called the southern gate) - just south of their wharf / access ramp.
On their website, the resort have provided a map of the resort and access areas - https://www.tangalooma.com/TangaloomaV2/media/WebsiteFiles/Maps/Casual_Visitor_Map.jpg. Unfortunately, the northern perimeter is not shown - it is beyond the map's northern boundary.
There are three ways to access this part of the beach:-
(a) By being a guest at this family owned resort
(b) By obtaining a day pass (in advance, subject to availability) - found at https://www.tangalooma.com/bookings-casual-visitor-access-pass. In season, these are said to be as scarce as hen's teeth.
(c) On foot, if you are heading south, along the beach to the Tangalooma Desert. Or, also on foot, heading north from the Tangalooma Desert, to the Tangalooma Wrecks. You have to stick close to the waterline. You cant stop for a sunbake. This curious option was announced on ABC Breakfast Local Radio Brisbane by Tangalooma Resort Director, David James, when interviewed by Kellie Higgins-Devine, on 20 December 2017. I have no idea if this is advertised anywhere else.....
Signage to inform the public?? ..... there is none. Mr James advised that as a matter of aesthetics, the Resort has chosen not to display signage advising the public of their possible encroachment. Mr James' reasoning was that the signs would adversely impact on the scenery / sunset photos etc.
The final part (day three) of the radio broadcast involved the Queensland's Law Society President (Christine Smyth) being interviewed as to the legal aspects of this permit. She noted this was a tricky area of the law as the water flows up and down. She said signage would be "sensible". She also advised the power of the "Permit to Occupy" depended upon the wording of the document - but I dont know how to access a copy.
For what it's worth, we have rarely enjoyed a good night's sleep anchored at Tangalooma (we have tried to anchor inside the wrecks, but haven't been there when there has been room). One of the notable nuisance factors is the volume of commercial shipping transiting to and from the Port of Brisbane - they pass about 1 nm to the west and invariably your boat is lying beam on to their wake .... so you roll and roll!
Lucinda Bay and the Sandhills (3 & 8 nm S of the Tangalooma Wrecks) are much better anchorages - in the right weather.
So, hopefully, if you are planning on going ashore at the Tangalooma Resort, you are now better informed and can enjoy your day, and not have it soured by the security patrol.
Not much - but Moreton Island is scenic
Rolling caused by shipping.
Exposed to the W (morning breeze can be SW) & thunderstorms!
Great beaches and protected anchorages but avoid on weekends.
Reviewed Oct 2016
We spent a few seasons from the gold coast to Tangalooma and Brisbane. It has some wonderful anchorages that are well protected from all winds and some sandy beaches for swimming. Tangalooma Is a great spot for a snorkel on the wrecks or a beach sundowner but can be overcrowded on weekends and is known locally as Tangarolly if strong SE. The bay just south is quieter however holding is poor and Moreton bay is known for surprise westerlies. Caution advised. The straight to the gold coast can be fun but be aware of motor cruisers with no concept of the wake they leave behind. It is possible to get from Brisbane to the Gold coast in a day but why rush.
Plenty of options for all wind directions.
Overcrowded on weekends.
Shallow tidal areas with shifting banks.