Welcome aboard your cruise across the sapphire seas and turquoise lakes of the Barrington Coast!

No matter what colour water you’re looking for - aquamarine, sapphire, turquoise or topaz – you’ll be sure to find it for your bejewelled box of memories aboard a Barrington Coast cruise.

Australians love to cruise on waters big or small, be it river or ocean, lake or lagoon. Barrington Coast is famous for its waterways, afterall it’s known as the place ‘where the leaves touch the waters from the mountains to the sea’.

So it’s no surprise that cruising here creates unforgettable holiday experiences: seeing your first whales up close, playful pods of dolphins surfing your bow wave or flocks of waterbirds taking off in formation at sunset. You’ll be mesmerised by nature’s best.

It’s no surprise that cruising here creates unforgettable holiday experiences.
Bennetts Beach at Hawks Nest (photo: Mackenzie Hayes)
Bennetts Beach at Hawks Nest (photo: Mackenzie Hayes)
In this climate nothing can be more delightful than water excursions, particularly when such fine scenery is constantly in view.
Robert Dawson (1826)

From the shores of Port Stephens to Diamond Head

The waterways of the Barrington Coast stretch from Port Stephens northwards to the beaches of Diamond Head: 190 km of sapphire Pacific Ocean shoreline backed by rivers and lakes shining with blue hues... from aquamarine to zircon.

At our southern boundary is sparkling Port Stephens, acclaimed for its stunning waterways since at least 1826. The founder of the first European settlement there, Robert Dawson from AACo., described the bay as “very capacious and beautiful… with fine views of wood and water as can be imagined: the scenery is quite Italian.”

Not only did Mr Dawson have the eye of a future travel writer, he also wrote about cruising the waterways for pleasure: “In this climate nothing can be more delightful than water excursions, particularly when such fine scenery is constantly in view”. Two hundred years later and we still heartily concur.

The town Dawson created at Carrington and the surrounding lands are now part of the Barrington Coast where the love of water persists. You can hire boats at nearby Tea Gardens or join a cruise on the bay at Nelson Bay. A day trip to the stunning wildlife sanctuary of Broughton Island, part of Myall Lakes National Park, is only possible by boat and the journey is a cruising highlight of the Barrington Coast.

Whale at Burgess Beach near Forster (photo: Adam Fitzroy Productions)
Whale at Burgess Beach near Forster (photo: Adam Fitzroy Productions)

Sapphire seas

If you’re looking for short coastal cruises for ocean fishing or private whale watching then charter boats are available at Forster, Tuncurry and Crowdy Bay.

Watching whales and dolphins is a favourite reason for joining one of the larger cruise vessels operating from the lakeside wharves of Forster. There’s nothing like being eye-balled by an inquisitive whale up close or seeing the spectacular breaching displays by these huge marine mammals. Do you think they’re performing for us? Either way, it’s a cruise memory you’ll treasure with more ‘oohs and aaahs’ than any mere fireworks display.

Wallis Lake is the sparkling jewel in the crown of the Barrington Coast.
The bridge at Forster-Tuncurry (photo: East Coast Photography)
The bridge at Forster-Tuncurry (photo: East Coast Photography)

Turquoise lakes

The expansive lake system that sits behind the dunes along the Barrington coastline offer cruises of a different type and scale. Wallis Lake is the sparkling jewel in the crown of the Barrington Coast. With a surface area of 99 square km, this turquoise waterway is famous for white sands, fishing, boating and delicious Sydney rock oysters that are the finest in the country. And unlike the sapphire seas, it’s generally flat and calm so it’s perfect cruising for all ages.

Wallis Lake

Surrounded by Wallingat National Park on the west and Booti Booti National Park on the east, Wallis Lake is 25 km long and 9 km wide. The lake cruises here explore Wallis Lake, Wallamba River, Coolongolook River and Pacific Palms. You’ll encounter a variety of sea birds including ospreys, sea eagles, whistling kites, gannets and albatross to name a few. Also frequently sighted are sharks, seals, penguins and turtles. Winery and lunch cruises are also popular choices and there are options that are child-friendly and wheelchair accessible too.

Manning River

Our love of waterways extends further north to the mighty Manning River estuary with 150 km of navigable water making it a boating playground from Wingham to Harrington. At Taree, Harrington or Manning Point you can join a cruise that explores the river delta canals, inlets, islands and deep streams of water that makes the Barrington Coast famous. Special occasion cruises for groups, events and celebrations of all kinds are a specialty of this scenic cruise option on the Manning River.

Where to join a cruise

  • Amaroo Cruises, Forster 0419 333 445
  • Crowdy Bay Charters, Crowdy Head 0428 655 701
  • Free Spirit Cruises, Forster 0427 592 899
  • Manning Valley River Cruises, Mitchells Island 02 6553 2683
  • Moonshadow TQC, Nelson Bay 02 4984 9388
  • Reel Ocean Adventures, Tuncurry 0412 104 921

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