The beauty of having a boat is the travel freedom it provides. Not just short cruises and day trips, but also longer, more exciting adventures. And while Sydney is a great place to call home, the Harbour is a bit busy. So the next time you feel like taking your boat our for a spin, head to one of these destinations:
Over millennia the waters of the Hawkesbury River have carved out a deep, intricate and expansive collection of waterways. With so many small nooks and cranies to explore here there is no reason to ever visit the same exact spot twice. Feel the need to go ashore? No worries, there are plenty of small marinas and safe anchor points, as well as several National Parks to explore. For that reason no matter how often I cruise up to Hawkesbury, I am still never bored by it.
Newcastle is for newbies. The real boating fun lies just north, at Port Stevens, one of the most boater-friendly regions on the entire coast. Ramps and moorings are everywhere, as are sights and activities (both water- and land-based). Islands and coves also abound here and are just begging to be explore. However the area's real claim to fame is Myall Lake and the Myall Lakes National Park, located further upriver. Definitely not one to miss out on.
The beauty of the aptly-nicknamed Big River is that your fun doesn't stop a few kilometres upstream....it just keeps on going and going! Even 150km upstream there massive gorges, cliffs and underwater sinkholes. This region is home to some of the best produce and largest prawns in the country. Just make sure you have plenty of time to explore because after one glimpse, you'll be in no rush to return to the chaotic Harbour.
The attraction with Illawarra is not the rivers but the coastline and numerous bays. From Lake Illawarra on down to Jervis Bay (the boaters' jewel of the region) there are tons of water-based activities and sights to explore. Scattered throughout the region are a variety of small towns and villages for you to go ashore and rest a night (or three). Did I mention that since there is no more commercial net fishing here, this has become one of the best recreational fishing areas on the eastern coast of Australia.
Unfortunately, at some point you are going to have to return home to Sydney and return to a land-based lifestyle, at least briefly. Just don't forget to stow your boat properly -- and make sure to have a good custom boat covers to ensure that your baby stays in perfect shape for her next grand adventure. Happy boating!
Shipwreck Cove (aka Smugglers Cove) in Zakynthos is home to Navagio Beach, the most famous beach in all of Greece. The beach can only be accessed by boat but is well worth the trip.
This picturesque beach is wildly recognized by people around the world, even if they have not visited Zakynthos. Why is that? Navagio has been photographed and featured in many holiday brochures, travel books and televised advertisements. The boat was shipwrecked back in 1980 after hitting rocks in bad weather while being pursued by the Greek Navy, who suspected it was carrying contraband cigarettes.
Tourists planning to lounge in the sun are advised to bring all necessities with them as there are not many facilities in this secluded bay, cut off from the rest of the island by the cliffs. A sun umbrella is a must, as the heat radiates off the white cliffs and there is no shade on the beach to get away from it -- especially in the midday.
As you can see from the photographs, Shipwreck Beach is enclosed within unpenetrably steep cliffs which give it this remote, inaccessible feel. Because of that, it is impossible to walk to the beach. Instead you will need to take a boat. Frequent boat service to Shipwreck Cove is provided from nearby Porto Vromi located to the south, or from the Harbor of Saint Nikolas in Volimes, located to the north. You can also take a boat from island's capital city of Zakinthos. Boats from Porto Vromi to this paradise beach leave about once every hour and take approximately 30 minutes.
Navagio Beach is one of the most popular sights in Greece. Many travel guides agree that Navagio is the most photographed place in Greece, getting even more attention than the Acropolis of Athens or the Parthenon. Because of that, if you choose the peak of the day during high season, chances are good you will have to share this rather cozy cove with thousands of other visitors. In order to avoid overcrowding, go to Navagio Beach either early in the morning or put off your visit until later in the afternoon (at around 3pm).
To get spectacular photos of Shipwreck Cove from above, you can drive up on top of the cliff where viewing platform on the edge of the cliff offers amazing photo opportunities. Most postcard photos are taken from there. To get to the viewpoint and take a photo like this, just follow the road signs which read Navagio.
There are a few ways to leave an island. Airplanes and ferries are the most readily available means of transportation. But, if you can swing it, I highly recommend leaving islands the way I left the Greek isle of Kos: By sailboat.
You can charter your own sailboat most anyplace in the Med and sail yourself around if you're an experienced sailor. If you aren't and still want to sail, you can either hire a boat with a skipper, or do what I did - join a G Adventures tour. (G Adventures in no way sponsored this post or this blog, wouldn't it be nice if they had?)
I have to say, sailing around the Greek Isles on a sailboat is THE way to see Greece. Think about it - Greece is a land of seafaring people, so what better way to see those ancient islands than from the sea?
G Adventures did NOT disappoint. I'm actually thinking of going on their sailing tours in the Maldives and in Indonesia... eventually, because seriously, this sailing tour was THE BEST thing I've ever done while traveling. EVER.
Before our tour left Kos, we spent one night in the harbor there. It gave everyone on the tour a chance to get acquainted, do a bit of grocery shopping and explore the main port area. That night, in stark contrast to the previous three nights I spent on Kos, I didn't sleep cooled by air conditioning in a lush bed in a room overlooking the sea. My last night on Kos, I slept in a teeny-tiny 2-person v-berth on a 50ft sailboat (I had it all to myself because my charter, meant for ten people, only ended up with four- including skipper). No air conditioning, (so it was BAKING hot) No screens on the hatches, (so the swarms of mozzies on the island of Kos all feasted on me all night long) No hot water in the standing head (bathroom/shower) because the engine hadn't been run that evening (cold shower, which really wasn't bad in the heat).
And it was no big deal.
All night long, between mosquito bites, I lay in my v-berth, happy as a clam, being rocked to sleep by the sea.
I'm a boat person. And always will be. And I felt as though, at long last, I'd come home.
Tour the boat with me, in pictures:
One of the two bunk rooms... (NOT where I slept... thankfully!)
My own, private head. Yup. This little cupboard of convenience is both a toilet and shower...
My V-berth. Cozy!
My fellow adventurers.
Skipper Robin Kersten (Fantastic Skipper. He runs his own charter company out of the Azores called Similie Sailing. Look him up!)
Ekavi - my home away from home while sailing the Greek Isles. (She's a Bavaria 50.)