Top five quiet anchorages in Queensland
LOOKING for peace and quiet? Just you, your boat, the sun and the sea?
We've consulted local experts up and down the Queensland coast to find the best secluded anchorages in the state, with some top tips and things to watch out for.
1 Yellowpatch at Curtis Island
How to get there: Entrance to Yellow Patch is gained after Cape Capricorn on the northeastern side of Curtis Island. White floats clearly signal the port side of the entrance channel.
Where: On the northeastern side of Curtis Island, GPS coordinates: 23.5217251°S,151.2124187,17°E
Why it's great: A magical anchorage spot, Yellowpatch is named after the dramatic ochre-coloured sand stretch. Clear blue water and a sheltered bay provide an ideal spot to rest your anchor on the Tropic of Capricorn. Yellowpatch delivers on beauty, serenity and isolation and tops the list for local anchorage spots in the Gladstone region.
Watch out for: The tides. The anchorage is strongly tidal. Four times a day the flow changes direction; maintain a wary eye and avoid sandbanks to the south. Take care of wildlife. Turtles feed in the surrounding marine park waters and the islands are important turtle rookeries.
2 Pancake Creek
How to get there: Pancake Creek is on the western side of Bustard Head, halfway between Gladstone and Bundaberg.
Why it's great: Beautiful sandy bottoms and beaches which contrast with the blue water and mangrove forests. Pancake Creek is a popular but secluded anchorage. The high tides guarantee access to most vessels while producing lagoon-like protection.
Tips: Visiting sailors can appreciate the wonderful walk up to Bustard Head Lighthouse.
Watch out for: Pancake Creek is best entered on a high tide to avoid the large sandbanks at the entrance. It can be susceptible to northern winds.
3 Cateran Bay, Border Island
How to get there: On the northern side of Border Island, northeast of Whitsunday Island.
Why it's great: For those who want a more remote and lonely experience, this anchorage on the eastern edge of the Whitsundays has excellent snorkelling/diving in several spots along the shoreline. Get yourself ashore - there's a nice beach, and good views from the island saddle.
Tips: Best in winds from the south and southeast (winter season). Public moorings available.
Watch out for: No fishing is allowed.
4 Middle and Miall Islands
How to get there: These are pretty little islands between North and Great Keppel, off Yeppoon.
Why it's great: Wonderful swimming and snorkelling and very few visitors stop here. We don't know why. There are so many little beaches in the Whitsundays, you can find a secluded one on all but the busiest days.
Tips: The islands around here are quite small, so knowing the weather forecast will help with the choice of spots on any particular day. If the weather makes things uncomfortable for the family to travel home, you can easily drop them off to the Great Keppel Cat and meet them back at the harbour.
The fishing can be exceptional with the bread and butter species like bream and whiting for those fishing the beaches.
There are always coral trout and sweetlip around the headlands for the boaties.
Take plenty of fuel. There is none available once you leave Rosslyn Bay.
Great Keppel has food and souvenir shops as well as a bar, so quenching the thirst or grabbing a feed is no worries.
Watch out for: Be careful of water depths. There is such a tidal variation many people get caught out and sometimes have to wait until the next high tide before they are able to leave.
5 The bay at Mooloolaba
How to get there: Put in at the boat ramp on Parkyn Pde, Mooloolaba, on the northern side of the Mooloolah River.
If you do not want to do battle with the tourist traffic along the Spit, there is another boat ramp on the southern side of the river on Harbour Pde, Buddina.
Why it's great: The bay offers shelter when bad weather is blowing in from the south.
It's also big enough to take your pick of spots.
Tips: Drop a line or have a swim while everyone else fights for a spot to lay their towel on the beach.
Watch out for: A build-up of sand at the end of the rock wall at the mouth of the river had made it difficult for vessels to enter and leave the harbour but work has been done to reduce the siltation.