Boating

Pleasure boating is popular in Port Stephens–Great Lakes Marine Park.

  • The Port Stephens estuary covers an area almost two and a half times the size of Sydney Harbour.  Its clean, sheltered waterways are ideal for novice boaties and experienced mariners.
  • Fully explore the park under motor or sail, or by hiring a canoe or kayak. Paddle-powered vessels are particularly popular in the Myall Lakes.
  • Offshore and only accessible by boat, the beautiful Broughton Island is a mecca for fishing. With sandy beaches and walking tracks, the island is also a popular picnic spot.
  • Safe anchorage can be found in:
    • Esmeralda Cove in all wind conditions
    • Coal Shaft Bay in northerly winds
    • Providence Bay in southerly winds
  • The Karuah and Myall Rivers offer relaxing boat journeys and the beauty of neighbouring national parks.
  • Those who prefer lake-based boating will love the extensive Myall Lakes (in the Myall Lakes National Park) or the smaller Smiths Lake.  Myall Lakes has a number of boat-based campsites.  It is a favourite with water-skiing and tubing enthusiasts for its wide, open areas and relatively smooth waters.

For more information on boating in NSW, visit Roads and Maritime Services.

Things you need to know

  • Appropriate consideration should be given to the importance of seagrass when boating. Anchor and propeller scars can cause substantial and unnecessary long-term impacts.
    • Anchoring is permitted in all zones but not on seagrass beds in sanctuary zones.
    • Vessel operators must make sure that no part of the anchor, chain, rope or vessel makes contact with a seagrass bed in sanctuary zones.
  • Motorised water-sports, irregular driving or towing a waterskier or aquaplaner with a motorised vessel, are not allowed in sanctuary zones except for:
    • Smiths Lake;
    • Boolambayte Lake;
    • or via a marine park permit in the Fly Point–Corrie Island sanctuary zone.
  • Personal watercraft (including jet skis) are not permitted within 200 m of the shore in the Dutchmans Beach habitat protection zone.

Please see activity restrictions for more information.

All boat operators are strongly advised to check weather conditions prior to and during boating activities and to advise local Marine Rescue services of your intentions in case of emergencies.

What else can I do and see?