Visiting Lake Macquarie by Yacht

Lake Macquarie is the largest coastal salt water lake in Australia.

Its area is approximately 100 sq kms – four and a half times the size of Sydney Harbour. The entrance to the Lake is approx. 36NM north of Broken Bay and 12NM south of Newcastle. Average water depth is 8 metres. The Lake is an ideal cruising area and safe anchorages abound for any wind conditions.

Mike-&-Selma-Barry-Hanse-385 ‘Elara’

Entrance into Lake Macquarie is via Swansea Channel at GPS location 33005.08’ S 151039.93’ E

See the Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie website for comprehensive details of the Lake including maps, Swansea Bridge booking details, bridge opening times, etc. Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie will make Swansea Bridge bookings for you.

Our Hanse 385, “Elara”, draws 2 metres. I normally plan on crossing the bar at the channel entrance between three quarter tide and full tide. The minimum I have seen under the keel at the bar is 1.6 metre. It should be noted that a strong nor’easter generates a significant swell particularly when the tide is near low & still running out. This is less of a problem for keel boats aiming to cross the bar near high tide. The NSW Tide Charts are applicable to the bar.

Local knowledge advises to approach the Lake entrance on a line about 2 boat lengths to the north of the line of the entrance leads, bearing 255.60. There is deeper water on this northern line. This also gives you more “wriggle room” as the bar shallows quickly to the south of the line of the entrance leads.

Negotiating Swansea Channel

The shallowest part of the channel is at the western end of the channel immediately before the “drop-over” into the lake proper. I have momentarily touched once at the 3rd channel marker from the “drop-over” when the lake level was extremely low even though we were about to exit the lake for Pittwater on a high tide. The actual lake level is influenced by significant east coast lows which produce high lake levels. Significant highs have the opposite effect which is more of a concern for negotiating the channel.

How can you be aware of this?

You need to phone a friend who can actually see the lake levels on the day or the day before you are proposing to enter the lake. Our phone numbers are below and we are happy to advise if we are home. If you draw 2 metres or less, the current risk of touching is low. Just traverse the channel slowly and have a watcher at the bow if possible.

Yachts of “Elara’s” draft are routinely entering & exiting the lakerelatively trouble free these days. Useful information here

The two larger yacht cubs on the lake are Lake Macquarie Yacht Club at Belmont (alongside tie up & a few visitor moorings) and the Royal Motor Yacht Club at Toronto (alongside tie up). The major marina on the lake is Marmong Point Marina at the northern end of the lake.

There are a limited number of visitor moorings around the lake but the lake abounds with safe & secluded anchorages, many in the southern parts of the lake, on the south side of Wangi Point & around Pulbah Island, and in the northern parts in the Rathmines/Kilaben Bay area and along the foreshore on the east side of the lake between Belmont & Warners Bay.

If you go ashore in the bushland opposite our home you will find an excellent walking/cycling trail that extends north from Belmont and follows the foreshore all the way through Warners Bay and Speers Point at the northern end of the lake and finishes at Marmong Point.

Additional information about the facilities around Lake Macquarie can be found on the Lake Macquarie City Council website

Mike-&-Selma-Barry-Hanse-385 ‘Elara’

My wife Selma and I are long-time residents of the lake. Selma for 60 years.

I have only clocked up 40 years living here given that I was an out-of towner originally and met Selma during our university years.

We are happy to welcome visitors to the lake and to our home.

We have what we call a “revolving door policy” here at Coal Point.

Feel free to phone us if you are considering visiting the lake. Call by for a coffee, lunch, dinner or a shower & bed or all of the above.

Our home mooring coordinates at Coal Point are: 33001.894’ S 151036.700’ E

Our bay is sheltered from most winds except the nor’easters and very strong nor’westers that curl around into the bay. If you are calling by, please avoid passing “Elara” on the shoreside of her mooring. There is a shelf that runs out into the lake in front of our house so there is not a lot of navigable water between “Elara” & the edge of the shelf.

Contact information for Mike & Selma Barry
Home: 02-49596969
Mobile: 0418-6833409
Email: [email protected]

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