We did the run some years ago and quite frankly I would recommend the day hop option. If you have to be somewhere for a particular reason then yep go go go if the weather is right but if you are cruising - cruise!
We only did one overnighter and that was Bundaberg into Gladstone (if I remember right) and we also missed Ballina and Port Macquarie for the same reasons as 44' cruising cat. However we can HIGHLY recommend Lake Macquarie, which is dependent on your draft
at the moment I believe. If you have a moderate draft
it is worth the effort to get in. Also enjoyed Port Stephens if you can get away from the droves of boats on long weekends. Fame cove was lovely once but too many people go ashore to 'go potty' and when we were last there it was a little high and the used toilet paper was everywhere. (shame on all boaties that spoil it for the rest).
One of our favourite spots though was Laurieton! Loved this town so much we stayed for weeks. The townsfolk are the friendliest we have met and can't do enough to help you. We were welcomed at the library everyday to use the internet
at a really minimal cost. The RSL supplied a free wharf to tie up at (limit of 5 days I think) and they have a yachties book behind the front desk for yachties to sign. Makes for great reading. They also do fantastic meals
and twice a week they do cheap
nights so you can eat out and not ruin the budget
. They also lay on a toilet and shower
for the yachties (pay a deposit on the key) and couldn't be more helpful if they tried. We helped paint
the wharf whilst we were there to help repay them for the kindness - they supply the paint
etc you just put in the elbow
Yes one of the catches is the bars at each entrance but if you do all the right things (timing, tides and taking care) they aren't all bad. You have simply so much to see and do that it is worth taking your time and doing it properly. The only place we would suggest giving serious thought too is Foster. Both us and some friends of ours were treated exceptionally badly for tying up to the wharf we were directed to tie up too! The coast guard is one of the friendliest there is (there again they all are) and he directed us to tie up on the last wharf before the bridge (a feat in and of itself). There were no signs stating this was private or public or if there was a charge for the use of. Plenty of signs about not discharging in the river which we were very happy to abide with - no problem. The next morning a very officious man came and screamed at me about using an owned wharf and we had to pay the $22 for the night and also a fine ( he didn't tell us how much). OK we were prepared to pay for our mistake but then he got really nasty and as the yacht in front of us was moving he told us to move forward one. OK we did and then he informed us that we had to walk across the bridge and pay for the use of that one at the caravan park. So over we walked and the price
was $28! We were met at the door by the manager stating he was just coming over to collect the money
from us as the other guy had already rung him and told him we were there and to get our money
before we left. We felt very abused - no water
, no toilets, no services at all and the wharves were both in very bad repair and we were abused as well. Left a bad taste in our mouths and our friends also received the same treatment just weeks before. They actually left because they were given such a hard time. However I have read other reports and actually spoken to others who had no problem at all although no-one has ever stated that the welcome was welcoming. Its very much pay and stay and don't bother me. Things may have changed alot since then but keep it in mind.
The lower end of the Whitsundays is also wonderful and worth taking the time to do all the islands well! Before
you get to charter
yacht territory. Oh yes and the run up to Maryborough is well worth the effort too - don't forget to put your mark on the wall at the marina! I hope this helps and that you have a great time.