Following the delivery and story I wrote on “Kariba”, the Integrity 340 Sedan that travelled from the Gold Coast to Madang in PNG in December 2013, Peter and Bev long-term customers and friends of ours were inspired to follow a dream and subsequently purchased a 50 foot power boat from us with the idea of cruising the QLD coast. Peter asked if I would assist with its delivery and fitment of cruising gear for a trip from the Gold Coast to Mackay, where the boat will live and Peter, Bev, family and friends will spend time on and off enjoying their new floating holiday home.
It seems the QLD coast is a great place to just get away from it all, even if it’s only as far as the Fraser Island coast. As demonstrated by our previous story about Warren and Jo’s big trip on their Integrity 440 Sedan.
With careful planning, using up to date weather and tides the trip from Gold Coast to Mackay can be done by only travelling during daylight hours berthing each night or in very secluded and remote bays.
Our own trip started from the Gold Coast to Mooloolaba travelling inside the coastal islands via a very well charted and buoyed route, having us arrive at the yacht club in time for a meal and calm an overnight sleep.
Day two was to be a very early start to cross Wide Bay Bar on the high tide and before the winds built during the day and take advantage of the ebbing tide to help speed us behind Fraser Island to Urunga (Hervey Bay) for our next nights stop at the marina and an excellent dinner eating local Hervey Bay Scallops.
Day three was to be the longest day and what turned out to be the roughest part of the trip out to Musgrave Island with a beam on sea we arriving early afternoon to this idyllic island with a very secure cay lagoon with Turtles popping their heads up just to see who’s arrived into their world. This is a must stop on a trip, as it’s not a great deviation from running a straight line up the coast and a great start to the many islands that you can find a safe anchorage. You will always find boats anchored in there with many staying till the wind is blowing the right way.
Day four Musgrave to Yeppoon (Rosslyn Bay) with a lunch stop at Keppel Island and a swim in clear and warm water, again an overnight berth at the Rosslyn Bay Marina and one of the best meals you will find at any marina, this restaurant should have a Michelin chef’s hat at, least if not two!
Day five Yeppoon to Percy island group in particular the middle island where the well visited A frame hut is located a must stop (though a swelly one) for any boat cruising the coast, we arrived to hear a call from the 8 or so yachts, that there was to be a goat stew cooked for all to attend as long as you brought something to add, wine, veggies, nibbles, etc. Day five to Mackay passing many remote islands that would have been a great spot to stop for a swim and lunch maybe next time or when we weren’t on a delivery.
Trip notes – Books and web sites used for reference and guidance:
- Beacon to Beacon Directory (a must to navigate the inside passages from the Gold Coast to the top of the Sandy Straights)
- Cruising the Coral coast by Alan Lucas
- 100 Magic Miles by Alan Lucas
- Qld tide chart book
- Willy Weather
- BOM coastal weather forecast
- Navionics chart for east coast of Australia