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WorldAustraliaNew South WalesHawkesbury
33°34.132'S, 151°16.369'E Chart icon.png
lat=-33.568861 | lon=151.272812 | zoom=11 | y

About 5 hours easy sailing, or 3 hours in good weather, north of Sydney, the Hawkesbury and Pittwater areas are often overlooked by Sydneysiders. The Hawkesbury inlet is vast (see map above) and from a yachtsman's point of view only marred by the 11.8m MHWS clearance under the Brooklyn to Mooney Mooney rail bridge. Even for tall masted vessels this leaves quite an area for exploration, including Pittwater and Cowan Creek.

The Hawkesbury itself is a long and deep river (by Australian standards), and it eventually links up with the Nepean river which winds through the area north-west, then west, then south-west of Sydney. The Hawkesbury Estuary can be roughly divided into these areas:

  • The mouth of the waterway, commonly referred to as Broken Bay
  • The estuary immediately south of Broken Bay, known as Pittwater
  • The inlets and estuaries north of Broken Bay, known as Brisbane Water
  • Cowan Creek and its tributaries (including Coal and Candle Creek), running south-west from Broken Bay.
  • The Hawkesbury River itself, running west (inland) from Broken Bay, beyond the rail and road bridges.
  • Berowra Creek, properly a tributary of the Hawkesbury.
  • The upper Hawkesbury and Nepean River.


Charts of Pittwater are readily available, but the harbour pilots contained in Alan Lucas's cruising guide (referenced below), along with a depth sounder, are your best guides. Pittwater and Broken Bay are wide and deep throughout, shoaling to depths that involve working a tide in the upper reaches of the Hawkesbury, the entrances to Brisbane Water, and upper reaches of the Cowan inlet.

The main overhead obstruction is the rail bridge mentioned above:


Give local weather conditions or refer to another page (a region or island group) that covers these conditions.

Sources for Weather forecasts:


The normal route to & from Hawkesbury and Pittwater is via Sydney, approx 30nm south. There are a number of offshore races, especially in the summer time that take in Sydney to Pittwater and the stretches in between, including some that are popular races amongst the maxi-yachts, so care needs to be taken of water traffic while entering and approaching the Hawkesbury.


  • Cogra Bay (accessible only by water)
  • Dangar Island
  • Little Wobby (accessible only by water)
  • Long Island
  • Peat Island
  • Pelican Island
  • Rileys Island
  • Scotland Island
  • Spectacle Island
  • St Huberts Island


There is a coastal patrol (marine rescue) at Pittwater and Cottage Point. They monitor VHF and 27mhz.

Also see World Cruiser's Nets


The mouth of Pittwater is wide, deep, and well sheltered.

Lion Island sits in the centre of Broken Bay and has good deep water around most of the island. The northern side has a couple of shallow parts so a wide berth (100 metres) is advised.

The depth under Barranjoey headland is good. The locals say if you can see the base of Barrenjoey lighthouse from the boat you will have plenty of water under your keel. Wind can be quite unpredictable at this approach with strong gusts.


Marinas and Yacht Clubs


Pittwater is that part of the Hawkesbury Estuary that is immediately adjacent to Barrenjoey Head (the southernmost headland of the Hawkesbury Inlet) and extends southwards as far as Newport. This is considered part of Sydney by the locals, rather than being part of the Central Coast, which most of the rest of the Hawkesbury is part of.

Marinas are at Newport - Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club and Royal Motor Yacht Club.

Commercial Marinas are at Bayview (Quays Marina) and Church Point.

Careel Bay


Church Point

Cowan Creek

Cowan Creek runs south west from the main part of the Hawkesbury itself. Basically, turn left as you get towards Patonga Beach, and continue south west. It's a long and deep inlet with many branches and bays. It's the main part of the Hawkesbury that can be reached without going under the Mooney Mooney rail bridge.

Brisbane Water

This is the northern arm of the Hawkesbury Inlet. Study the pilot guides and charts with a great deal of care, as the approaches around Box Head are heavily sand barred, and subject to fairly swift tidal currents. Obtain local knowledge if possible before approaching the inlet.


Brooklyn's main features are the rail bridge, carrying the main Sydney - Newcastle rail line, and the road bridge, carrying the Sydney - Newcastle Freeway (F3). Although they divide the waterways in half (the 11.8m height of the rail bridge at MHWS prevents many sailboats from reaching the inner half), it does carry advantages -- being that the Hawkesbury River train station with easy access to both centers is adjacent to the marinas and waterways. Even for boats that can't get under the bridge, the area is worth visiting and there are moorings and anchorages both inside and outside of the bridge.

Just north of Brooklyn is the secluded anchorage and railway station (no road access) of Wondabyne, which is a popular starting out point for bushwalks in the area. Because of the lack of road access, Wondabyne has pleasantly few people around.

Outside the bridge:

  • Hawkesbury River Marina, ph: 9985 7858
    • Dangar Rd, Brooklyn
    • Google maps link: Map
    • Marina berth $627/month, mooring $202/month (or $250/month with dinghy storage), for a 42' yacht.

Inside the bridge:

Sandbrook Inlet is the name for the body of water between Long Island and the mainland, on the south shores of the Hawkesbury. You need to pass under the rail bridge (11.8m clearance MHWS) to reach this area.

  • Dolphin Boatshed Marina, ph: 9985 7307
    • Google maps link: Map
  • Fenwicks Marina, ph: 9985 7633
    • 31 Brooklyn Road, Brooklyn
    • Google maps link: Map
  • Brooklyn Marina, ph: 9985 7722
    • 45 Brooklyn Road, Brooklyn
    • Google maps link: Map
    • Berths are $14.50 per foot per calendar month, so for a 42' yacht this is $609/month. Moorings are $6 per foot per calendar month - minimum charge $170, so for a 42' yacht this is $252/month. Other fees and charges on this page (pdf file).
  • Brooklyn on Hawkesbury Marina and Apartments, ph: 9985 7892
    • 55A Brooklyn Road, Brooklyn
    • Google maps link: Map
  • Wharf St Marina, ph: 9985 7074
    • 1 Wharf Street Brooklyn
    • Google maps link: Map
  • Long Island Marina, ph: 9985 7538
    • 59-65 Brooklyn Road, Brooklyn
    • Google maps link: Map
  • Sandbrook Inlet Marina, ph: 9985 5500
    • 87 Brooklyn Road, Brooklyn
    • Google maps link: Map
    • Berths are $14.50 per foot per calendar month, so for a 42' yacht this is $609/month. Moorings are $6 per foot per calendar month - minimum charge $170, so for a 42' yacht this is $252/month.

See also:


Much of Pittwater has sensational anchorages to explore.

  • If you are looking for shelter from a southerly you can anchor inside Barranjoey headland. It is a sandy floor and you will be well protected.
  • Alternatively, head to the other side of Pittwater to the Basin where there are ample moorings and easy anchor on a muddy bottom.

Otherwise explore, it is one of the world's best spots


Water ?
Electricity ?
Toilets ?
Showers ?
Laundry ?
Garbage ?
Fuel ?
Bottled gas ?
  • Whitworths is the best known marine chandlery in Sydney, and operates 5 stores.
  • BIAS Boating Warehouse is also a good supplier of all marine equipment. Their showrooms are more widely distributed than those of Whitworths. BIAS Boating closed down in September 2014.
  • Bargain Boat Bits sell boat bits, sometimes at a bargain price. Caveat: shop around, as the name of the store may not reflect any relation to having consistently the lowest prices.
  • Classic Boat Supplies Operates from a shop in Belrose, but also accepts online orders. Has a good range of bronze deck hardware and bits for wooden boat repair, epoxy, etc. Australian distributor for Davey & Co.
  • The Boat Warehouse Online-only chandlery although they do allow pickups from their Sydney depot, but you need to order ahead. Has a wide offering from many of the major brands such as Harken, Ronstan and Oceansouth. Will send orders internationally.
  • Aquatronics in Brookvale are probably the best suppliers / installers / repairers of anything electronic on your boat.
  • There is a chandlery at the Hawkesbury River Marina (been closed since 2006)
Mobile connectivity ?
Vehicle rentals ?


Supermarkets are a 10 minute cab ride from the southern end of Pittwater.

Eating out

  • Cottage Point has a great cafe, and a 5 star restaurant at Cottage Point inn (with public moorings at the front of the restaurant).
  • Akuna Bay has a great restaurant and cafe at the Marina with Jazz in the park on Sundays in summer.
  • The southern end of Pittwater is littered with restaurants and cafes at the marinas and yacht clubs - explore.
  • Palm Beach is also littered with restaurants


List transportation (local and/or international.)



Give a short history of the port.

Places to Visit

I have spent 35 plus years exploring Pittwater and the Hawkesbury and have not seen it all.

  • There are bushwalks galore - see aboriginal carvings at the Basin, waterfalls at America Bay, mudflats full of crabs and yabbee.


Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)



See also Australia.


We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

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