Extended winter stay in Refuge Cove 2017
Reviewed Nov 2017
Travelling West in winter along the mainland Australia coast sucks. Prevailing cold Westerlies combine with a mild current to make progress difficult, cold and wet. I stopped at Refuge Cove on a planned leg to Apollo Bay from Lakes Entrance on the second of August 2017 in the face of a 35 knot wind and ended up being nailed down in the cove until the thirteenth of August.
There is virtually no VHF radio or phone coverage in the Cove. A 45 minute walk up hill in either direction from the beaches will get some phone reception though. The place is a real paradise. Sheltered from most poor weather with amazing beaches and bush walks, plus a creek running through to the sea. It is, however, possible to have too much of a good thing and this stop over went on too long.
Food supplies lasted well. You must bring all food in with you and most importantly take all rubbish out with you, including anything left behind by less careful travellers. Consider it rent. The whole area is a reserve so there is no fishing allowed at all. If the weather stays bad from the west consider dropping back to Port Albert or Welshpool.
The water in the creek is drinkable in an emergency but must be treated by boiling and/or purification tablets. There is no off taste to the creek water and I'm still alive after drinking it. There are even long-drop toilets in a camping area set aside for bush walking tourists.
Squalls here in winter can be severe even in the shelter of the cove. The sand bottom is good holding but there is a lot of good, healthy weed as well, and the wind blows around in circles. I had a bad overnight in a hard blow during the stay as the anchor chain became wound up and tied up with weed after the boat had done many turns around the compass. Eventualy at around 4:00am the anchor was so weed entangled that it dragged. It's always at 4:00am when it all goes to custard, isn't it? It was an easy fix to clear and re-set the anchor though.
It can get bitterly cold in winter at Refuge. Sleet is not that common but I had it during that stay and it's not fun being that cold alone on a small boat.
The following leg to San Remo was hard work but very worthwhile, for good feeds of fresh fish after a week and a half of boat stores.
Magnificent scenery in a world class reserve
Shelter from prevailing weather
Peace and quiet
People leave rubbish behind!
24 hour stay in Refuge Cove - not long enough
Reviewed Oct 2017
June, 2015, We stopped at Refuge Cove after an overnight sail from Western Port, for a little R n R, before continuing on to Eden. The overnight sail had been a little uncomfortable from memory and after rounding the Promontory, conditions calmed right down. After entering the Cove, we found the cove very calm and a perfect all weather anchorage. We went around the Cove in our tender to explore a little, and went for a walk ashore up the little creek. Extremely peaceful location, there was only us there, only the occasional hiker was to be seen. There is a cruisers wall, for want of a better term, where you can make a plaque with your boats name and leave there, as we did. Very interesting reading the names of the many vessels that have visited over the years. My only regret is not staying longer. Very serene place when your the only boat there. Loved it, we will go again when we eventually return west again.
Reviewed Mar 2015
We recently sheltered from a southerly buster in
Refuge Cove. 40+ knots all around and 70 knots in Port Phillip bay that night. We anchored close to the southern beach in 5 meters of water. Holding was good with 15 meters of chain out. At low water the tidal range is a bit over a meter so be careful about how close to the beach you go. If it gets a bit crowed with power boats don't be too concerned about anchoring on the other side. In a southerly, most if the wind goes over the top.
The entrance to Refuge has a light on the port hand side. It is quite hard to pick up the entry to the bay and easy to mistakenly think Sealers Cove is the entry.
Another useful big of information is that you can cap'n hod on the western side of the Prom in Oberon Bay. A friend sheltered there for 20 hours in a big easterly at anchor and reckons it was all right.
Refuge Cove review
Reviewed undefined NaN
Refuge Cove at Wilson's Prom is a pretty place in weather other than easterly. In heavy easterly weather, the swell will enter and break on the beaches. This can make for a very uncomfortable anchorage. When approaching the Prom in Easterly weather ALWAYS use Oberon Bay. The holding is excellent. The holding in Refuge Cove is good but look for sand patches to anchor in as the bottom is mostly sea=grass. The local fishermen use pick anchors here as after easterly weather the water visibility gets very soupy and the sand patches are hard to find. Fresh water is available upstream from the south east corner past the hikers camp. I have not drunk it but it is great for a good wash. In the North East corner of Refuge is a fore and aft anchorage called the Hermits Hole which is very good a northerly. I have been coming here for the last 40 years and love the place but it does have its moments.
Happy sailing to all- Bob Hurst.
Love the place but it has its moments
Uncomfortable in E winds
Reviewed May 2017
Wilsons Prom has some wonderful bays, some of the best places I’ve ever been; also a wonderful place to go boating. Refugee Cove is just the most beautiful mooring.