Review: Cruising the NSW Coast

CruisingNSWCoastNow in its 6th Edition, Cruising the New South Wales Coast is the logical accompaniment to the Queensland ‘bible’ Cruising the Coral Coast. Alan Lucas continues to produce essential guides for cruising the Australian east coast filled with informative, detailed and entertaining information – exactly the sort of information that cruisers want to know. Cruising the New South Wales Coast was first published in 1976 and has filled a desperate gap ever since for cruisers exploring Australia’s east coast.

According to Lucas this guide book was the first of its kind to canvas the potential of recreational craft crossing bars into the many rivers along the coast. Subsequently, with the release of the first edition, cruising the coast of NSW became a destination in itself, rather than merely a route to the tropical cruising grounds of Queensland. Previously, charts of this somewhat exposed coast simply showed the entrance to major rivers with little detail. Similarly, pilot books issued warnings to mariners making bar crossings but that was about the extent of the information offered.

Cruising the New South Wales Coast comprehensively covers the coastal routes as well as inland waterways and rivers in detail. But Lucas also includes interesting facts, historical information and a few thoughts and observations of his own along the way. And believe me, Lucas has plenty of local knowledge to impart so it’s well worth taking note of what he says. He has seemingly spent a lifetime exploring the waters he talks of. Though safe navigation relies upon each Skippers own calculations and observations, cruisers who consider Lucas’ advice when approaching an anchorage, bar or harbour are unlikely to find themselves encountering trouble.

Good detail is included in individual large-scale anchorage maps, as well as many overview maps, which break up the coast into sections. Other sections cover prevailing weather, tides and current. Perhaps most importantly for cruisers exploring this exposed coastline is the section discussing river geographic characteristics and bar crossings. Cruisers who haven’t experienced bar crossing before need not be intimidated if they take note of Lucas’s sensible discussion. As with any judicious cruising guide layout, it is chronicled in a logical route, in this case working from south to north, strongly bound and with an easy to read layout.

Lucas’ attention to detail on the entire coast is to be admired, and the guide is well indexed making it easy to find ports anchorages and other essential information. Consideration is often given to alternative anchorages wherever possible. On the treacherous southern coast of NSW where facilities are few, safe harbours, which are predominantly fishing vessel anchorages, are noted, providing welcome information on an area not generally frequented by cruisers.

New in 6th Edition: Identifying a need for cruising information for trailer sailors, the 6th Edition takes boat owners beyond the fixed bridges of all navigable rivers. Additionally, more large scale anchorage plans are a welcome inclusion.

Verdict: Highly recommended