Sailing the East Coast of Australia Part 5

Brisbane sailing south to Yamba

Brisbane and sailing south

These next few posts will cover sailing south of Brisbane down to Sydney, pictures and comments will deal with the places along the way taken over a period of a few years and going down and back. These notes in all posts are more for information and storage for my memories.

I have covered Brisbane, Moreton bay and the Gold Coast in previous posts written in March 2018 for those that want to know more on these areas, what I will cover here is choices in sailing south from Brisbane and places that offer anchorages of shelter.

Another important item is that New South Wales waterway entrances have sand bars that have to be crossed or avoided, the best time to cross bars is one hour prior to high tide as it is in most places. However, if the seas are too rough they can be dangerous to cross and it is better and safer to stay at sea. Use the services of the VMR/Coastguard in the area to source information and for the condition of the bar. You should always log on and off with VMR/Coastguard for your own safety, if they know you are out there they will contact you for any urgent information such as a sudden change in weather. It is amazing that only about 40% of sailors log on and off when sailing, but 100% contact them when they are in trouble.

I must mention again I only cover what I have done and where I have been this is not a full guide covering all aspects and anchorages because I don’t know them enough to offer information.

East Coast Current

Once you have sailed out of the Gold Coast Seaway to sail south it is best to work your way out to sea to pick up on the East Coast Current here you should pick up 2 to 4 knots in speed.

http://www.bom.gov.au/oceanography/forecasts/forecast-help.shtml

East Australian Current (EAC)

From its source in the Coral Sea, the EAC tracks down off the east coast of Australia, sometimes coming to within two or three Nautical Miles of the coast. It is well known for forming eddies which may be as large as 100 or more nautical miles across and which persist for several weeks.

The EAC has a significant influence on the lives of Australians on the eastern seaboard. By bringing warmer ocean water southward, it adds several degrees of temperature to the coastal waters, enlarges the stock of fish and other marine animals by sweeping additional species down from the north, and helps flush effluent from the waterways and coastal areas which it touches along its journey south.

Major Current Systems

Sea surface temperature and current information, use following website and click on area that you require information.

http://oceancurrent.imos.org.au/sst.php

Sailing from the Gold Coast Seaway to Yamba/Iluka

If you wish to sail to Yamba/Iluka it is generally an overnight sail, so before leaving find out what weather conditions are likely for your arrival and plan to arrive an hour or two prior to high tide. By doing this you can work out your departure time.

(Gold Coast Seaway)

(There are a number of anchorages near the Seaway before leaving we often anchored near the VMR on the southern side of the Seaway)

Anchored near VMR Gold Coast
(Alana Rose anchored near the VMR Gold Coast)

When sailing this coastline you have to keep an eye out for cray pots/traps these are usually indicated by three white or orange floating buoys. It is usually a bigger concern on a return sail north as one is usually closer to the coast to avoid the East Coast Current, (We usually stay in the 25 metre depth when sailing north back to Brisbane).

(Chart showing Yamba/Iluka Sandbar crossing)


(On one of our trips we were glassed out, early morning heading to Yamba, mainsail was up and one engine and with the east coast current we were moving along at 8 knots)
(Yamba/Iluka crossing the bar on a very good day)
(If the seas are like this, don’t try crossing the bar)
(Yamba/Iluka Breakwall seen from the shore)

Photos above show two different moods of the sea, call the VMR/Coastguard before approaching the bar to see what condition it is in. If they advise you not to enter sail on passed. You can do this as soon as you have radio contact with them. I have always found that if you call them on the phone you sometimes get more information than by radio.

(Yamba and Iluka Chart)


The chart above shows the Yamba and Iluka harbours and the shallow waters. As you can see there are a number of Leads to follow to find the right route to where you want to go. The red dots indicate anchorage areas. Yamba does have a marina but call ahead to see if there is a space available. Anchorages near Yamba can be tight and well used by locals. One trip we did use the marina which was very good, but on other visits to save funds we anchored at Iluka.

If anchoring at Iluka and you wish to visit Yamba a Ferry travels between the two areas a few times a day.

(Chart of Iluka Harbour)

Iluka Harbour has good wall protection with two entrances, Iluka itself has a number of shops, cafes, a hotel that serves meals and a nice bowling club that has a restaurant. Down at the Fisherman’s Co-Op is a great fish and chip shop.

(Iluka Harbour at low tide)
(Iluka Harbour dinghy dock which is near the Hotel)

(Iluka sunset)


(Chart of Yamba, red dots are possible anchorages)

As you can see on the chart care must be taken when entering Yamba there are a number of leads to follow and reasonably shallow waters to navigate. Yamba has a marina if you wish to use it and they have spaces free. If you only intend to have a quick nights rest and move on without going ashore the outside anchorage would be the better idea shown on the right side of this chart.

(Picture shows the outer anchorage, if there is rough seas outside this anchorage can become  uncomfortable)
(Yamba Marina)

Yamba and Iluka are situated at the mouth of the Clarence River, this is a very large river that also offers anchorages throughout. A good distance up the river is a bridge that does open to allow yachts pass through. We have not done this but know sailors that have spent quite some time up the river, we have only ever gone as far as the bridge itself.

(Chart showing part of the Clarence River and possible anchorages the bridge is a short 
distance up from the Sugar Mill)

Yamba/Iluka to Port Macquarie and Laurienton

When leaving Yamba/Iluka remember to follow the many leads, check with VMR on VHF16 for bar conditions, in good conditions it is possible to go between the break wall and the southern end of the sandbar, but check with VMR. (Voluntary Marine Rescue). New South Wales has amalgamated the voluntary sea rescue services, Coast Guard, VRA and VMR are all now VMR.

(Chart of Yamba sand bar there is a narrow passage to the southern side in good conditions)

Yamba/Iluka to Coffs Harbour

It would be an advantage if you noted the depth where you left the East Coast Current when heading into Yamba/Iluka so you have an idea where you may pick it up again when heading out. Before sailing check and plot your course there are a number of islands and shoals between Yamba and Coffs Harbour.

This leg of the journey is approximately 58 nautical miles, Coffs Harbour does not have a sand bar as such and can be entered easily in moderate to slightly rough conditions, it has a set of leads to guide you in.

(Chart of Coffs Harbour)

The chart above shows possible anchorages in the harbour, the sea swell does enter this harbour easily and usually the better anchorage is northern area of the jetty. If there is rough conditions it can be very uncomfortable and if it is too bad to go to sea the marina is a good option. One trip we entered as bad weather approached by morning it was too uncomfortable and we went in the marina which ended up being a good idea as the seas got worse.

(Coffs Harbour, photo by the Coffs Harbour Advocate)


The photo above is a good example showing the pattern of the sea swell that enters the port and the protection you can get between the marina and the jetty. You can imagine how uncomfortable it could be during rough seas.

The harbour is quite a distance from town itself so we often only used this place as an overnight stop to get some sleep. If the weather turns nasty and the harbour gets too uncomfortable we have used the marina.

Coffs Harbour to Port Macquarie

Leaving Coffs Harbour follow the leads out and again sail out to the East Coast Current if you can. But before leaving check what the weather and seas are going to be like at Port Macquarie as this port has a sand bar and can be treacherous in heavy conditions. The distance is approximately 72 nautical miles. If conditions are fair and you wish to break this voyage up you could anchor in Trial Bay which is 38 nautical miles south of Coffs Harbour.

(Port Macquarie chart)

Above is the chart of Port Macquarie one important factor your chart or chart plotter may show the leads in the incorrect place identified on the chart here as the lower magenta coloured line. The fact is that the leads were in the incorrect place for more than seven years at one point in time because the sand bar had shifted and to move the rear triangle lead marker they would have had to remove some heritage listed Norfolk Pine trees. Personally I could not understand why they did not put the three navigational light system (Red/white/green), they eventually did this in 2013. The location identified on the chart by the black arrow, the magenta dotted line is the route to take and has been well before they changed the navigational lights. If you have not experienced this system before the lights are better than lining up the triangle marker. When entering if you see the green light you are too far to starboard, if you see the red light you are too far to port, you are on the correct course when you see the white light.

Check with VMR before entering they will let you know the condition of the sand bar and if it is safe to enter. I would not attempt to enter this port during rough seas. A good rule of thumb when you have entered and straighten up to sail along the break wall is there is a large Australian Flag dead ahead keep on line with that until you get to the first navigational markers.

(Chart of Port Macquarie entrance)

The chart above shows the channel entrance with the navigational lead lights. The blue dots are public moorings, these were not there in the time we sailed here, but I have checked with VMR and they can be used.

(Chart Port Macquarie)


The above chart is a continuation the the previous chart, it shows where the marina is located. The red dots identify possible anchorage areas. The lower one has only space for one boat. As you can see the waters are reasonably shallow, anchorages near the marina it is possible to touch the bottom on low tide. The marina is a little expensive but they do hire mooring buoys at a reasonable price and a day fee to use the dinghy dock in the marina.

Fuel at the marina is expensive so if you need only a little fuel and you have fuel cans the service station is only five minute walk, which is near The Settlement shopping centre. This port is a lovely place having everything including the town centre in a short walking distance.

(The anchorage and mooring area near the marina.)

Photo is taken from us anchored near the Port Macquarie Marina which is behind the yacht in the foreground.

(Port Macquarie Marina)
(Port Macquarie Dock at The Green)

This picture is the dock near The Green which is near the CBD, the three mooring buoys in the chart above are located in front of The Green Dock. The Hastings River is also opposite the dock, I believe that anchoring overnight is prohibited along the river only day use permitted.

Port Macquarie to Laurieton/Camden Head

Laurieton is 20 nautical miles to the south and again you need good conditions to enter this port. My belief is it is a little more difficult than Port Macquarie entrance. It has been stated in some guide books that Port Macquarie was the most treacherous and that may have been before they corrected the leads and possibly some political issues.

Before leaving check with VMR regarding the conditions of the bar, they may be able to also give you the condition of Laurieton if you intend to sail there.

(Storm front approaches after leaving Port Macquarie)

A storm front comes in after we leave the port but not much behind it to worry about, when you can see skies behind it you know it wont last long.

(Chart Camden Head/Laurieton)

Sailors call this port Laurieton but it’s official title is Camden Head, the entrance is narrower than Port Macquarie and you enter from a different angle. The leads keep you more to the southern side of the entrance which is correct, it is better to keep even a little south of the leads and turn onto the leads just before entering. A day we entered it was calm seas but a rolling swell and although we counted the waves to time our entrance we still got caught and literally surfed in.

(Chart of Camden Haven Inlet)


Camden Head has a number of places North Haven, Dunbogan and Laurieton. The chart indicates anchorage area by the red dots, there is also a dock at the RSL near these anchorages that can be used no charge and a stay of three days. It has always been used when we have visited. Another alternative is to hire a mooring at the Dunbogan Boat Shed.

If you require fuel it can be purchased at a number of fuel stations close by at a cheaper rate than Port Macquarie but you would have to use fuel cans.

(The anchorage area)

Picture shows the anchorage area the water flow can be quite strong as the tide turns so make sure your anchor is well set and put out some extra cable. The RSL dock can just be seen to the right of the picture.

(Yachts on the RSL dock)

Picture shows the RSL Dock if these skippers had been more considerate there would have been room for another yacht on the dock.

(Dunbogan Boatshed)

Dunbogan Boatshed has changed a little since we sailed into here, they still have boat hire and sell fishing gear but it has become a very nice Cafe and has become very popular.

This port is a very nice place to visit it has that laid back relaxed feel about it.

When leaving check with VMR regarding to the condition of the bar crossing. You will notice when leaving the better route to leave and enter in future times if coming back that you cannot see coming into port.

(Leaving Camden Head/Laurieton)

As you can see by the picture and the waves breaking ahead why the leads keep you to the southern side. However, there are two wave actions at the entrance there is also a wave action on the southern side , not as large but is slightly ahead of the main wave, this leaves a small flat sea between them and as you reach the end of the breakwall you steer slightly to the southeast to go between the waves. You may still have the usual up and down the swells after this until you get into open water which is the same in most cases.

(Picure of the waves as we leave)

This picture shows the wave action on the port side leaving and the almost flat water to the south of it. You can also see where a large wave had broken behind this wave. Watch the patterns before leaving.

Laurieton/Camden Head to Port Stephens

Laurieton to Port Stephens is 83 nautical miles so it is a good distance to sail and leaving in the morning may get you there in the dark hours but that would not be a worry as Port Stephens is quite easy to enter in good to moderate conditions.

(Sailing into Port Stephens)
(Port Stephens entrance from the south)


(Chart of Port Stephens entrance and Shoal Bay)

Port Stephens is another place with a few lead navigation markers to follow on entering, care should be taken to miss the sand bar near the centre of the entrance shown on the chart seas can stand up with tide flow in this area. If arriving at night it is easy to anchor in Shoal Bay.

(Shoal Bay)

You can contact VMR before entering for the condition at the entrance they operate 24/7 and are very helpful. There are a number of public moorings throughout Port Stephens which have been indicated on the chart by blue dots, the red dots indicate anchorage areas.

Photo above shows the areas of Shoal Bay, this bay has some small shops and good cafes and restaurants. Nelson Bay is similar. The large shopping centre is a good distance we have walked from Salamanda Bay to the shopping centre and it is a good walk.

(Port Stephens Marina)

(Chart Port Stephens)


Chart above shows the Shoal Bay and Nelson Bay areas and anchorages and public moorings. The marina in the photo is situated at Nelson Bay there are a few marinas around the area and I believe they are quite expensive to stay we have never used them. There are a lot of lovely places to anchor or pick up a public mooring which have a 24 hour limit. Nelson Bay waters run quite fast with the turn of tides so if anchoring ensure the anchor is set well.

(Night sky taken from Nelson Bay)
(Sundowners)
(Morning storm)

Above photos where taken from our boat on the public mooring near the Marina at Nelson Bay

(Chart Port Stephens, Salamanda Bay, Soldiers Point and Fame Cove)

Chart showing further into Port Stephens Salamanda Bay bottom right offers good protection and Fame Cove near the top.

(Salamanda Bay)

Picture of Salamanda Bay taken from a friends home, it is a number of photos that I have stitched together to get 180 degree panoramic view. Unfortunately I only sighted one public mooring here but there is plenty of area for anchoring.

(Salamanda Bay)

Another view of Salamanda Bay taken from another location at low tide.

(Salamanda Bay sunset taken from the boat on the public mooring)

(Sunset looking out of Fame Cove)

Fame Cove has a number of public moorings and is a nice quiet area, however, it is not good for strong winds from southwest to west winds.

(Another vies out of Fame Cove)

You could spend quite a lot of time in this beautiful place with the anchorages and moorings it is very relaxing.

Port Stephens to Lake Macquarie

Lake Macquarie is 40 nautical miles south of Port Stephens you need to time your arrival to be near an hour before high tide to cross the sandbar at the entrance to Swansea being the entrance point of Lake Macquarie.

To enter Lake Macquarie you have to go through the Swansea Bridge which you book to be opened for you and will only be opened on the hour with the exception of peak hour traffic times. You book the bridge opening through VMR (Volunteer Marine Rescue/Coastguard)

(Swansea Bridge )


Picture shows the Swansea Bridge opened water swirls in and out strongly during tide flows so it is best to pass through the bridge just after high tide at the bar.

Calculations need to be made prior to leaving the previous port to time your arrival if you wish to arrive and go across the bar and through the bridge on arrival. We have done this on an occasion where we have actually booked the bridge opening and hour or so before crossing the bar and arrived at the bridge with only a few minutes to wait. The other alternative is to arrive in the evening tide and pick up one of the moorings provided by the bridge and go through on the morning tide.

If prior to arrival the weather changes and the Swansea Bar is impassable another option would be to go in the Port of Newcastle for shelter being a shipping port it has a deep water entrance. I have never been into this port but many sailors do go there.

(Chart of the Swansea Bar and entrance to the bridge)

The chart above shows the bar crossing and the few lead navigational markers that need to be followed to get to the Swansea Bridge. The magenta coloured dots each side of the bridge are the public moorings that have a 24 hour limit. Check with VMR before your arrival for the condition of the bar and book the bridge opening for the time you want the bridge opened.

Once you are at the bridge and if you have picked up a mooring or anchored make sure you have slipped the mooring or weighed anchor as the bridge starts to open so you do not hold the traffic up too long. There are indication Red/Green lights, Green meaning that you can go through the bridge. Usually if there are boats coming out they maybe let through first.

(Mooring slipped, engines running ready to go through the bridge, red light on left of bridge)
(Our Alana Rose heading towards the bridge, green light right side of bridge right to go)

(Alana Rose just passed through and friends behind following)
(Chart of the channel between bridge and lake)

The chart above shows the waterway between the Swansea Bridge and Lake Macquarie, careful navigation is needed when entering as there is quite a lot of shallow water outside the narrow passage. The shallowest area is usually the last section before the drop off into the lake, this area silts up and is dredged at times. Large keel yachts need to check that it is passable for them.

(Passing through the waterway)
At times you get quite close to land as you pass through the channel, here a fisherman with lots of friends.
(Chart of Lake Macquarie)


The chart above is of Lake Macquarie, I have not marked anchorages as you anchor anywhere you wish, but keep in mind that NSW laws regarding submarine cables they are different to some other states. You cannot anchor within 200 metres of a submarine cable in NSW, in QLD it is only 50 metres.

(Sailing and sometimes motoring in Lake Macquarie)

The Orange dots on the chart are some of the locations that have a pump-out facility provided by the local council to pump out your black water tanks. The Blue dots are locations for fresh water. There are a number of public docks that can be used although they have a two hour time limit which gives you time to take on water and pump out and if required shopping in some locations. There are a number of sailing clubs around the lake that make you welcome.

(Lake Macquarie Yacht Club)

(Alana Rose alongside at LMYC)
The Lake Macquarie Yacht Club has some areas that visiting yachts can tie up at reasonable rates.
(Alana Rose on a mooring at Wangi Wangi)


The waters in this photos show nice smooth water, but please be warned that this lake is approximately 13 nautical miles long and 5.5 nautical miles wide in places and when strong winds hit which can be from any direction these waters can become very rough and people have been killed on the water. Keep and eye on the weather and listen to the weather reports and warnings and anchor in an appropriate sheltered anchorage.

(Summerland Point Dock at Frying Pan Bay)

Summerland Point Dock has fresh water and a pump out station it is also close to a fuel station and shopping centre, shopping centre has a cafe, bakery, supermarket, takeaway food outlet, post office and a liquor outlet.

(Early morning reflections in Frying Pan Bay)

(Early morning flight)
(Fire in the skies)

(Sunset storm)

(Another sunset)

Lake Macquarie is a beautiful lake with many anchorages, you are only supposed to anchor at each place for a maximum of two days, however, this is not always policed. Use common sense and do not do anything to annoy people living ashore.

Lake Macquarie to Broken Bay

When leaving Lake Macquarie it may pay to go a little early to the mooring by the bridge just in case you get held up in the shallow waters of the channel. The best time to cross the bar is about one hour before high tide at the bar. Remember to book the bridge opening through VMR. Remember before leaving to check condition on the bar also through VMR.

Broken Bay- Cowan Creek

Broken Bay (Pittwater/Cowan Creek), is 38 nautical miles. Broken Bay has a wide open mouth and no sand bar to worry about, however, in saying that in heavy seas it can be a rough entrance.

(Lion Island entering on a good day)

Lion Island is the first main land form just after you enter you enter Broken Bay.

(Chart of Broken Bay)

Chart above shows Broken Bay with the waterways of Pittwater, Cowan Creek and the Hawkesbury River. The Hawkesbury River has a height restriction 3 nautical miles from the entrance as there is a railway bridge with clearance of 11.4 metres.

(As we went passed Lion Island a storm approached from the southwest)

(As the storm hits we have a white-out)


I was hoping to be in and secured before this storm hit but it beat me to it as did it for a few other sailors in yachts heading home to Pittwater. I spent quite a bit of time in the Pittwater area whilst in the Navy many years ago but I had not been in Cowan Creek so that is where we headed.

(Alana Rose on a public mooring in Cowan Creek)

Cowan Creek has many public moorings on each side of the creek with a 24 hour limit for each one, they are supplied and checked by Marine Parks.

(Chart showing Cowan Creek)


Chart above is of Cowan Creek the blue dots are approximate locations of some of the moorings the red dots are anchorages, however, you can anchor in other places in between moorings. Cowan Creek is very pretty and has some places of interest, like Cottage Point that has a Kiosk and an Inn.

(Chart of America and Refuge Bays)

The chart above is of America and Refuge Bays which is on the port side at the beginning of Cowan Creek. There are some public moorings and a large amount of private moorings. I do believe there is an unwritten law, that if there is a vacant private mooring it is permissible to use it but if the owner comes along to use it you must move on.

(Cottage Point)

(Cottage Point)

(Cottage Point)

At the end of Cowan Creek is the Empire Marina at Bobbin Head, staying in marinas in these parts and Sydney is not cheap. We did stay at this marina and it was very nice but don’t try to go passed the last finger dock as you will run aground it is very shallow, we helped a couple of yachts get out once they attempted to go and turn around that area..

(Empire Marina)


Sydney Harbour

(Sydney Harbour)

Sailing from Broken Bay to Sydney is not a problem you just have to pick suitable weather there are no sandbars to worry about just rough seas on occasions. The first time we sailed to Sydney on Alana Rose I was looking forward to entering Sydney Harbour under full sail. I had not sailed through The Heads of Sydney Harbour since the 70’s when I was on a naval ship. Well I was to be disappointed as we approached The Heads, approximately a mile off racing yachts outside the heads suddenly stopped with sail falling limp. The wind just left us so it was motoring into the harbour.

(Sydney Heads in the distance)

Sydney Heads was always a great sight to see when on return from a long period at sea during my time in the Navy, it meant we were home for a short time with family and friends. Some of my longest periods away was when I served on HMAS Moresby a survey ship on a survey north Western Australia for nine months away from home, another was seven months and others a little less..

(Entering Sydney Harbour)

Our circumnavigation of Australia was between the years of 2012 and 2014. This is on another blog site, https://sailinginaustralia.blogspot.com/2012/03/

We sailed to Sydney twice when we lived aboard and sailed Alana Rose in 2010 and as part of our circumnavigation of Australia in 2014.

(Sailing Sydney Harbour)

(Busy Sydney Harbour)

Sydney Harbour is one of the most beautiful Harbours in the world, it can also be busy, on this day we entered part of the Naval Fleet as heading out. The harbour also has sailing and motor boats going in every direction and then there is the large number of Ferries that you have to give way to.

(HMAS Sydney II Memorial)

Above photo is the memorial to HMAS Sydney II, On 19 November 1941, Sydney was involved in a mutual destructive engagement with the German auxiliary cruiser Kormoran and was lost with all hands (645 aboard).  The wrecks were found near Geraldton Western Australia in 2008, Geraldton has an incredible memorial to this ship and its crew on top of a hill in the city.

(Manly Ferry near Farm Cove and the Opera House)

The photo above shows Farm Cove on the starboard side of the ferry, this cove is where the First Fleet settled in 1770, it is also where we chose to anchor for our first night in Sydney Harbour. You are allowed to anchor in most places for a period of 24 hours. The marine authority do patrol continuously so do the right thing or get moved on. This cove for most of the day and part of the night is not that comfortable due to the wash from the ferries going by continuously. However, we had a mind to put up with it to be anchored under the city lights so to speak.

( The Sydney Opera House with Sydney CBD behind it and Farm Cove to the left)

(Sydney Harbour taken from North Sydney shore)

(Sydney Opera House from our anchorage in Farm Cove)

(Rhapsody of the Sea sailing out of Sydney)
(Paddle Steamer passing by)
(The disco boat passes by)
(Sydney at dawn)

Above was our back drop view from Farm Cove anchorage, the wash from the ferries ceased around 2200 hours, but as it was a Friday night we had large party boats, one with a wedding came around the cove as part of the voyage around the harbour which was quite good. A local yacht anchored near us just before dark but when darkness arrived the marine authority moved it on because their anchor light was not working.

(Chart Sydney Heads and Harbour Entrance)

Chart shows Sydney’s North and South Heads, affectionately known as The Heads. Entering Sydney Harbour there is Middle Harbour straight ahead, Manly to the starboard and Sydney to the port. The harbour has a western channel and an eastern channel. There are quite a few navigational markers along the way, below picture Eastern Channel Pile Light.

(Eastern Channel Pile Light)

(Chart Sydney Harbour)

Chart above is a continuation of the previous chart, bottom left to right, Elizabeth Bay and Rushcutters Bay. Double Bay and Rose Bay. There are a number of private moorings occupied in these bays, Rushcutters Bay is the home of Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and also the Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association. It is possible to drop the anchor in these bays near the moorings.

(Sydney at night from Athol Bay)

At the top of the chart, left to right Shell Cove, Mosman Bay, Little Sirius Cove, Athol Bay, Taylors Bay and Chowder Bay. Many of these bays also have private moorings and some bays have ferry traffic. Athol Bay has public moorings that you can pick up and there are 18 new public moorings in Sydney (put in 2015) and this website will give the location:

https://www.boatsales.com.au/editorial/details/18-new-courtesy-moorings-on-sydney-harbour!-52995/

(Chart Sydney Harbour)

The chart above continues on from the previous and from left to right bottom is, White Bay, Rozelle Bay, Darling Harbour, Walsh Bay, Sydney Cove, Farm Cove and Woolloomooloo Bay.

(Sydney, Garden Island Naval Dockyard)

As I mentioned before you can anchor in most bays/coves for a period of 24 hours the same as using the public moorings, however, some bays are restricted by the amount of yachts moored and ferry passages, some have restrictions such as Woolloomooloo being part of Garden Island Dockyard for Naval ships and there is a marina up at the end of the bay. 
At the top of the above chart, left to right, Berrys Bay, Lavender Bay, Careening Cove, Neutral Bay and Shell Cove.

(Sydney, Garden Island from Rushcutters Bay)

If you wish for longer period anchorages I have copied the following from the following website which is worth visiting.:

https://www.noonsite.com/Countries/Australia/Sydney

Anchorages(This below is taken from the Noonsite)

A recent change to Maritime Safety laws in late 2016 means that yachts that visit Sydney and plan to anchor are welcome for 28 days and no more. Otherwise you must get a mooring or a slip. Yachts are monitored by Maritime NSW. Note also that tenders with more than 5HP motors have to be registered.

After passing under the bridge, there is a designated “small craft” anchorage on the northern side, at Balls Head Bay. Whilst facilities are limited, access to the city is cheap and easy from nearby Wollstonecraft railway station. Unfortunately, the anchorage has a reputation for a foul bottom, and is uncomfortably open to southerly winds.

Blackwattle and Rozelle Bays are good places to anchor in Sydney to get access to the Central Business District, Blackwattle Bay being the quietest with the least wash from passing commercial vessels. There are three designated areas for anchoring. The anchorages most closely located to the fish market dinghy dock are the most popular and also the most crowded. The farthest anchorage area, whilst only three tenths of a mile further from the dingy dock, is much quieter and has a very nice park only a few metres away. Both bays have good holding and are protected from all wind directions. The downside is the traffic noise from the bridge and bits of junk on the bottom, plus the mosquitos at sunset.

There are also a number of public moorings available in the harbour (Athol Bay, Sugarloaf Bay, Bantry Bay). These are heavily used during the summer months, especially on weekends, so it’s advisable to arrive early.

See this cruisers report on 2 amazing anchorages in Sydney.

(Sydney, Farm Cove)

(Sydney Cove and Circular Quay)
(Sydney, Darling Harbour)

Sydney Harbour has many beautiful places to visit we only spent a short time here and stayed mainly at day anchorages or moorings.

(Fort Denison )

(Sydney Harbour, yachts on the water plane in the sky)
(Sydney Harbour sunset from Athol Bay)
(Sydney Harbour Bridge sunset)
(Chart Sydney, Middle Harbour)

Chart above is of Middle Harbour, blue dots public moorings red dots possible anchorages. At the top of the chart is The Spit Bridge, it opens if boats are waiting on the hour unless it is peak hour traffic, there is a public mooring or you can anchor whilst waiting. There are marinas each side, they are expensive, 2014, $99 a single berth we needed two because of being 7 metres wide catamaran so it was double the price.

(On the public mooring waiting for the Spit Bridge to open)

(The Spit Bridge)
(A yacht heading to opening Spit Bridge)

(Looking up as we go through Spit Bridge)
(Chart of Middle Harbour)

Chart above is Middle Harbour with the following bays, from bottom to top, Willoughby Bay, Long Bay, here there is a very small and old marina that you may pick up a mooring at a cost. This area is totally full of private boats moored. Sailors Bay has a reasonable space to anchor and is quiet.

(Sailors Bay)
(Sugarloaf Bay)

Going further up the chart to Sugerloaf Bay, another nice quiet bay. Photo is of a heritage home (left) which was used as an illegal gambling den in the 1920’s. Further up is The Bantry, The Bantry has historic buildings, there is a boat ramp and a small dock at the end of the waterway.

(The Bantry)

The Bantry from the 1840’s it was a popular tourist place for Sydney residents but in 1910 the construction of the explosive bunks commenced as the government on the day took the area over. The explosives were for military use. This closed in 1973 and later was turned over to National Parks. There are a number of public moorings in the area and it is easy to find somewhere to anchor.

Further around you have the waterway up to Roseville Bridge, there are plenty of places to anchor there.

Back in 1969 I served on a navy diving tender the Seal, still training navy divers in certain skills for Vietnam war, we had heavy rain so the skipper took the Seal up to Roseville Bridge area as the muddy water was running down from the creeks making visibility difficult underwater as that is what they would encounter in Vietnam conducting sabotage work.

(Rocky Point)

Rocky Point is located at Balmoral in Hunters Bay as we head back towards the main Sydney Harbour after going through the Spit Bridge on returning. I am pleased these rocks can’t talk, they could tell a few tales about us navy blokes when we were stationed at HMAS Penguin nearby. Had a few parties there.

(HMAS Penguin)

HMAS Penguin was the naval hospital depot and Clearance Diver Training Depot, (Deep sea divers).

After returning to the main harbour we went to visit Rushcutters Bay and see friends at the Royal Australian Navy Sailing Association (RANSA) and had a BBQ lunch with them. After this we picked up a mooring at Athol Bay where there are public moorings. In earlier days when I was in the navy Athol Bay had the navy’s mothball fleet tied up there. Ships that had been taken out of service they were sold as scrap iron. Today they sink them to make reefs or for recreational diving or use them to test new weapons out on them.

(RANSA at Rushcutters Bay)

The RANSA building used to be the Clearance Diving Teams Depot before they moved to HMAS Penguin.

(Twilight on Sydney Harbour from Athol Bay)

(Under sail to Sydney Harbour Bridge)

You can’t leave Sydney Harbour before having a final sail under the ‘Coat hanger’, the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Fort Denison off the starboard bow.

(Cockpit view of the bridge)

(Sailing under the Sydney Harbour Bridge)

(Sailing up the harbour as we leave)
(Sailing out of Sydney Harbour)

(Sydney Heads behind us)

After sailing under the big coat hanger we sailed up the harbour and out of the Heads to sail back north towards Brisbane. So this covers my postings of sailing the east coast. What next, I will have to think about it.

Please note the photos above were taken in two different years and are not in any particular order regarding the years.