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Last Updated on November 18, 2019 by Amy

We took an all day sail to get up to Lake Macquarie on January 10th. The bar crossing was easy, and we raced a few other sailboats in and snagged the last of three mooring balls in the east side of the bridge. The bridge opens on the hour during the day except for rush hour, so courtesy moorings are provided on either side. The boats that didn’t get a mooring circled for the half hour waiting for the bridge. It’s a narrow bridge, and the pressure is on to not hold up the line of boats coming through, but we made it through just fine.

Swansea Channel

The Swansea channel bridge can open on the hour between 6 am and 7 pm (with some exceptions).  You must give an hour’s notice, and thankfully there are 3 mooring balls on the outside and 2 mooring balls on the inside.  For more info check the RMS website on bridge opening times.  We started up our motors and hightailed it to make the bridge opening and get a spot on the mooring.  We grabbed the last mooring, and two other boats came in after us and had to circle for a while while waiting.  The bridge opening is fairly small, and the current can be very swift.  Deeper draft boats should only take the Swansea channel at high tide.

Anchoring and Mooring

Before and during our stay I could not find a list or map of all the courtesy mooring locations in Lake Macquarie.  After our visit, I did find this map by the NSW government that shows courtesy mooring ball locations in Lake Macquarie and one with insets for Lake Macquarie.

Making Friends in Lake Macquarie

We have to say that we have made some awesome new friends in this area. David G came to our Sydney meet up from his home in Newcastle. He came down and picked us up for a fun day in Newcastle. David H also attended our meetup, and he and his wife Joan keep their catamaran in Lake Macquarie. They brought us dinner to Starry Horizons one night!  And finally, we meet Tony and Neil, who invited us over for dinner at their house. Everyone gave us great advice and offered us assistance if needed. Thanks ya’ll for making our visit so fun!

 

Rathmines

We immediately motor sailed across the lake to Kilaben Bay, where we picked up one of two courtesy moorings in the town of Rathmines. The public jetty made going for a walk easy, and the point here used to be a sea plane base during World War I. We had hoped to see a Catalina plane, but they only recently purchased one and are restoring it. Still, we enjoyed the memorial to the fallen and seeing the mess-hall-turned-lawn-bowling-club. Rathmines has a small IGA and a great Rathmines Butchery for provisioning. The bakery was closed from Christmas to Australia Day.

Starry Horizons at Rathmines.

Pulbah Island

This island in the lake is rugged and rocky. Dinghy access is questionable, as theres no beach, just a rocky shelf. David H says there are goannas living on the island. We just enjoyed the view and quiet.

There is one mooring ball on the south side and two in the north side. In a string southerly, the north shore of Pulbah is very popular.

Kangaroos at Morisset Park in Bird Cage Bay near Lake Macquarie

Definitely our favorite stop in the lake. David H recommended it, and it was a blast!  We came ashore at Morisset Park and walked around the abandoned mental hospital. We kept a sharp lookout, until we spotted our targets – kangaroos!  First it was just one small female, then one small male, and then we came upon a mob of 50!

We slowly walked forward, but then a big male came bounding over, beelining for us, and made us really nervous. Kangaroos can be dangerous. David and I were backpedaling quickly and the kangaroo stopped just a few feet from us. I’m sure he was looking for handouts. There are signs all over “please do not feed the kangaroos”.  We gave the herd a wide berth and walked on the road to the other side, and again, a big male (not sure if it was the same one) came bounding up.  They get very close and have no qualms about looking for food.

The young female kangaroo.

I call this the Kate Winslet. This is the small male that was alone.
He got up when we approached.
Tons of kangaroos!

Big male kangaroo! Look at those eyelashes!

 

Wangi

There’s a public jetty off the RSL that is in major disrepair, but usable. There’s a very nice IGA just a block away. David and I enjoyed walking along the foreshore in both directions.

Lots of beautiful homes on Lake Macquarie's foreshore.
A view from our walk along the Wangi foreshore.

The RSL was hosting an international regatta, and our hike out to the point was accented with views looking out into the lake and the sail boats. Seeing 40 or so sailing dinghies with their Spinnaker up on a lovely day is spectacular. Plus, the gorgeous houses on the shore were fun to check out.

Dinghy sailing races in Lake Macquarie out of the RSL.
Sailing racers coming back into Wangi RSL.
Dinghy sailing races in Lake Macquarie.
Sailboats out racing.
Our Helia 44 on a mooring ball in Lake Macquarie.
Starry Horizons at the Wangi RSL courtesy mooring.
Starry Horizons on a mooring ball in Lake Macquarie off or the Wangi RSL and under the night sky.
Starry Horizons at night off Wangi.

Murray’s Point

With mooring balls and a public jetty, Murray’s is a fun stop. There’s lots of camping and picnics on shore.  Also, there’s a popular restaurant called The Lakehouse Cafe, although we didn’t eat there. A friend told me a fur seal had been spotted here, but no luck on that front for us either.

Resources

Want to make new friends?  Meet Mike & Selma Barry who welcome yachties to the area.

Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie’s Visitor Guide

The Cruising Helmsman writes about their Favorite Places in Lake Macquarie (fairly old and a little out of date).

Watch the Video: ‘Roo HUnting in Lake Macquarie

Pin it!

 

8 Comments

  1. So. . . I sort of missed the reference. For us less informed folks (or slower processors), why, exactly, would you call a male kangaroo Kate Winslet? I know I’m going to feel pretty dumb when you explain. Loved your comments and pictures. Especially loved the comment about Goannas. I’m going to have to go Google Goannas now. Love ya!! Mom Septic. 🙂

    1. It’s a reference to Kate Winslet in Titanic, when she posed for Leo and says “paint me like one of your french girls”. 🙂

  2. Love your travelogue and tips for visiting Lake Macquarie. Heading up to Lake Macq in a couple of weeks by sea for the first time so this local appreciates your insights.
    Had to have a chuckle about the iguanas on Pulbah Island. David H probably said there are goannas on the island. Not as exotic but can be very big,inquisitive and a little intimidating.
    Reasonable mistake for a couple of Septics. Have you been called Septics yet? (Septic Tank = Rhyming slang for Yank. Usually said in good humor.)
    Sepo for short. You know you’ve been accepted when David goes to Dave then Davo. Not sure how you shorten Amy though. Amo?
    Cheers
    DMac

    1. Whoops! That’s by bad. See, goannas would be more exotic for us. We’ve seen iguanas plenty of times!

      We had not heard the septics before. Gah, Aussie dialogue is so awesome.

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