Lake Macquarie to Newcastle

This post is about our passage from Lake Macquarie to Newcastle. Newcastle Harbour is one of Australia’s most diverse regional ports and one of the world’s largest coal export ports. 

Where we stayed on Lake Macquarie

I thought I’d start this blog with some info about where we stayed on the lake. 

We had 2 nights on a swing mooring here. We chose this location because we weren’t sure exactly what time we’d arrive at the lake and we wanted somewhere close by the entrance with easy pick-up access. It seems as if it’d be quite exposed to the weather but was fine while we were there.

Toilet/shower/laundry facilities and a couple of coffee shops within a 10-minute walk.

Family-run business and they were friendly and helpful.

We spent 3 nights at the dock tied up alongside the outer perimeter. It’s not a floating dock, which means you need enough rope to ensure you can rise and fall with the tide. But given the tidal difference is probably about 1-1.5m, this wasn’t an issue. 

Lots of activity as we were there when the first Wednesday of the month sailing race resumed. While we were there, we had quite strong north easterly winds, so strong that one day we kept the cats in so they didn’t get blown off the boat. At least I got all the washing dry!

Toilet/shower facilities with an option to pay someone to do your laundry. No pump out facilities onsite, but nearby at Belmont Public Wharf.

Supermarkets and coffee shops within 10-15 minute walk, as well as dining facilities at the yacht club and a pub up the road. Too large a club to get to know any of the people who worked there.

We spent 6 nights in a berth at this floating dock. Was quiet and very well protected here. There’s a restaurant onsite, open over the weekends so we enjoyed a couple of meals.

Toilet/shower facilities are very modern and clean. I don’t know about laundry as I didn’t ask. Supermarket and pub within a 30-minute walk and $10 back to the marina using ‘dial a lift’ – 0466 157 576.

Marina is very new and loads of berth spaces with easy access to fuel dock and pump out facilities. Andrew is very friendly and helpful.

Thursday 9 July 2020

We stayed longer at the lake than initially planned because the conditions weren’t suitable for us to travel. But after checking the forecasts, we decided to make our passage on Thursday 9 July. 

With a high tide at around 11:30 am, we left Trinity Point Marina shortly after 8:30 and motored up to Swansea Bridge to start our passage from Lake Macquarie to Newcastle. We contacted Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie and booked the 10am bridge opening, and this time I motored us through the bridge and Robert took as across the bar. Basically the reverse of what we did on Sunday 28 June, as covered in my blog post Brooklyn to Lake Macquarie.

This map shows the route from Lake Macquarie to Newcastle that we took and the waypoints I’d entered into our Garmin. Again, I named the waypoints (WPT) with the approximate location on the map. The one exception was CH9NEWCHRB, which was a reminder that when we got here, I had to contact Newcastle Harbour to check on commercial shipping movements. As it happened, there were a couple of ships, which you’ll see in the photos. Compared to us, they were huge! What was very interesting was the helicopter landing on the outbound ship, most likely to collect the pilot after the ship cleared the harbour.

Once again, we logged in with Marine Rescue at Lake Macquarie as we left Swansea and logged off once we got to Newcastle. We don’t take safety lightly. 

Preparation before leaving - check forecasts and Newcastle shipping traffic

In addition to checking forecasts, Robert checks the engines about every hour when we’re travelling. He ensures everything working as expected, checks the temperatures of the engines and makes sure water is cooling the propellers. 

Our passage from Lake Macquarie to Newcastle was very enjoyable and quite short. However, we didn’t see any whales or dolphins this time.

I should comment that our two cats probably don’t like the ocean voyages and I read that cats suffer from motion sickness. We shut them in a cabin with dry biscuits, water, litter tray and bed. They seem to be reasonable settled but they do meow loudly if we go to see them. Perhaps they’ll get used to it! 

Photos around Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club

HMAS Norman (II) was the third of six Huon Class minehunter coastal (MHC) vessels built for the Royal Australian Navy by Australian Defence Industries (ADI), Newcastle. She was launched in May 1999, commissioned in August 2000 and decommissioned September 2018. Currently her fate is ‘waiting to be sold’. If interested, you can read about HMAS Norman

MV Ocean Recovery is a dive support vessel.

Built in 1979 as a North Sea oil rig support vessel, HMNZS Manawanui served with distinction in the New Zealand Navy. In July 2018 Major Projects Foundation acquired the vessel and sailed her to her new home port of Newcastle, Australia. In early 2019, the vessel was officially renamed MV Ocean Recovery. 

If interested, you can read about MV Ocean Recovery.

We arranged a night’s stay at Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club, which is tucked away from the main shipping channel. 

Our berth was snug, and probably one of the more challenging ones to reverse into, mainly because we weren’t familiar with it and there wasn’t a lot of room between the concrete footpath and the yacht next to us. But we used our ‘marriage saver’ headsets for easy communication and I trusted Robert’s directions because I couldn’t see how much space I had when reversing. 

They have toilet/shower and laundry facilities, cafes, the NCYC restaurant, and electric bikes nearby for rent.

This is a screenshot from my passage planning spreadsheet.



3 Responses

  1. Interesting comment about the cats. I suppose they don’t actually chuck up like we do when we’re sea sick do they?

    1. Hi May, So far they haven’t actually been sick! But one was quite distressed and didn’t use his litter tray – this was before we started to put them in the cabin during our passages.

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