Home' Afloat : AFLOAT February 2014 Contents Take monthly with water February 2014 45
ON THE WATER
with David Lockwood
There are no lifeguards. No flags. No
throngs of rampaging kids on foam
surfboards. And no parking woes.
Sydney’s best boating beaches are up
river, across the bay, often in boat-only
Down anchor and take your tender,
kayak or stand-up paddleboard ashore.
Enjoy a swim without being mowed down.
Don the mask and snorkel and see the wild
fishlife up close. Or build a big sandcastle
with a moat at your own Magic Beach.
Then again, in the height of summer
you might want to do nothing more than
unfurl your towel in the shade of some
sandstone gibbers or she-oaks, draw
breath and relax. Try this cool dozen
boating beaches when the mercury rises.
Maitland Bay – Originally called Boat
Harbour, Maitland Bay takes its name
from the namesake iron paddle steamer
wrecked here in 1898. Heed the warning
and steer clear if there’s any weather
from the south. But in the right weather,
namely light northeast summer winds
and low swell, Maitland Bay is heavenly
for a swim and lunch in the shade of the
Iron Ladder Beach – Tucked in behind
Box Head in Broken Bay is a small sliver
of sand known as Iron Ladder Beach.
Again, it faces south, so steer clear in
those conditions. But in summer, this
small 50-metre long beach is wonderfully
protected. Your boat heaves gently on
the ocean surge, there’s good fishing and
snorkelling, and a jump rock near a small
Lobster Beach – There’s only a couple
of metres of water, precluding keel yachts
and larger motorboats from anchoring.
But once ashore the beach is a beauty.
Terrific family swimming, good fishing
for flathead, but no towing allowed. The
sunsets really linger. The Brisbane Water
bar demands you don your lifejacket and
can break heavily.
Patonga Beach – Thronging in
summer, what with the caravan park down
one end and the pub with adjoining award-
winning fish and chips at the other. But
a cracker for collecting shells back up in
Dark Corner and for towing the tykes on
tubes. The fishing for flathead around the
estuary mouth can be very rewarding. And
swings with million-dollar views.
Hungry Beach – Just upstream from
Flint and Steel and inside the Hawkesbury
River proper, Hungry Beach is wonderfully
protected from southerly busters, bathed
in sunshine, largely devoid of litter, with
relatively clear water at high tide for
swimming. Anchor in about three metres of
water and set the crab traps while flicking
soft-plastic lures for flathead. Mind the
hungry local goannas.
Gunyah Beach – A family favourite
upstream from Eleanor Bluffs, Gunyah
offers shade under the gums, a small
lagoon for frolicking, great fishing for
flathead and, in the deep hole, the chance
of hooking one of the Hawkesbury’s
legendary jewfish. A great place for picnics
from trailerboats anchored just a wade
Hallets Beach – Five public moorings
and plenty of space to anchor make Hallets
Beach very popular with summer boaters
and those who hire houseboats. The
pitch is perfect for beach cricket, there’s
usually some shade under the she-oaks
and angophoras, and always a family of
goannas looking to raid the picnic basket.
Since it faces west, it’s great for a late
afternoon swim and beach party. Free
spring-fed shower at nearby Cottage Rock.
Fisherman’s Beach – On the opposite
side of Cowan Creek to Hallets is a beach
bathed in warm morning sun. There’s not
a lot of room to anchor, with about three
boats filling things up. But that ensures
the lovely white sand beach isn’t too
busy. Good shade under the gums and
sandstone boulders and ledges, fun rock
hopping up the creek bed, and at great
swimming at high tide.
Resolute Beach – Back around West
Head in Pittwater near the entrance and
flushed by each tide. The swimming is
brilliant and the skin diving and spear
fishing rewards. There are often oodles
of blue swimmer crabs, too. Best in the
morning and mid-week to avoid the boat
Store Beach – Sydney’s best boating
beach by far, but it’s no secret. The
southern corner is the hot anchorage. But
as Sydney boaters don’t overnight that
often, you can have it to yourself at night
and in the morning.
Tow ra Beach – Geographically,
Congwong Beach adjacent to Bare Island is
the pick in Botany Bay. Sadly, it’s teeming
with undesirables in summer, relegating
Towra and its nature reserve as the best
anchorage. Five west-facing moorings
over the seagrass, white sand and an
interesting bird-watching walk. Plenty of
747s overhead, too.
Jibbon Beach – Tucked in behind Port
Hacking Point, Jibbon is the pick of the
swimming spots in this otherwise shallow
estuary. Rock hopping reveals some nice
little grottos to take a plunge, while the
snorkelling over the fringing reef is visually
rewarding. A stellar anchorage to toast the
sunsets and a good roadstead for a night
before Jervis Bay.
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