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Old 30-04-2011, 15:23   #1
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LivingAboard in Australia

Hi all - I've been reading CF forums for quite some time and have been in discussions over in Monohulls and such.

My family (wife and young son) and I are about to head off on a coastal cruising adventure of undetermined time. We figured we'd start around the Whitsundays for a couple of months (starting in September) to ease into the sailing life and during this time talk with other sailors about other places to go and when would be the best times.

I've had a few discussions now about the best times of year to be up north there and it looks as though we'll need to head south by around November to avoid cyclone season.

I am aware that it is generally frowned upon here in Australia. Is there any *more* liveaboard-friendly areas in southern QLD or even northern NSW where we can 'wait' out the season and enjoy life? We're not adverse to moving periodically... but preferably not every day!

Since I'm always reading about folks spending their retirement living on their boats over in the US - I was wondering if anyone had any tips here in Oz.

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Old 30-04-2011, 17:49   #2
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Re: LivingAboard in Australia

Just do it.
Worst that's going to happen is that someone in authority is going to ask you to move on. So you move on a bit. It's not a big deal unless you're tied to an area because of schooling, work etc.

In reality, if you keep a low profile and a tidy boat you'll be just fine. You won't get hassled unless someone lodges a complaint, and that's unlikely.

I lived on a boat in Pittwater for a couple of years when business went pear shaped and it was a choice of renting a cheap unit above a shop on a busy road somewhere, or moving onto the only asset the bank and I had left, a boat.
Took our chances moving on board and it was the best way to be on the bones of our arses you could imagine. The kids loved it and learned to love reading books (no tv or computer games).
Friday night on the back deck with a bowl of nuts and a $5 bottle of red, and we felt lucky and still in control of our lives.

The water poilce used to drop over and ask if we'd seen anything or if my son had heard anything at school when dinghies or outboards got nicked. They liked us being around because we were no trouble and another pair of eyes for them.

That was 18 years ago.
And right now we're in the process of selling the house and we'll be buying a livaboard boat and doing it all again, this time retired and with a deepwater ketch of some sort and the freedom to go wherever we decide to explore next.

Good luck with your plans.

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Old 30-04-2011, 18:14   #3
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Not too bad?

I've traveled that way by car quite a few times, only a few small parts by boat, lived in Airle on and off for years, so the following needs to be taken with a grain of salt...

Any problems in living aboard in Oz may relate to your needs rather than to the facilities available.

For instance: Young son, you don't say how old, pre or primary school(?) anywhere under the radar on Sydney Harbour could have excellent schools, not so far south maybe Ballina and the Richmond River, further north maybe Maroochydore. Whatever your thoughts on yuppies or hippies schools associated with those cultures can be very child friendly.

Otherwise Bundaberg, Brisbane (esp if repairs are needed) and Southport all don't look too bad.

I'm hoping to head that way next year so I wouldn't mind a bit of extra local knowledge myself.
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Old 30-04-2011, 19:54   #4
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Re: LivingAboard in Australia

Thanks for the replies,

My son is not yet in school and we will be tied to no where in particular for at least a couple of years. We'll need to make trips at Chrissy back to see the grandparents... but we'll either bring the boat into a marina for these times (or 'loan' it to close friends?) and fly back to Southern NSW where the family is.

We (think we) have enough money to last for the first year or more as a holiday - and I work over the internet anyway... so as long as I can get a 3G signal I'm OK.

When the boy starts school in a few years... then we'll have to start considering permanent anchorage/mooring/marina/etc. or shift back to land for a while (or home school?).
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Old 25-05-2011, 19:18   #5
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Re: LivingAboard in Australia

Hi Aussie-S Goforit I left Sydney 9 years ago and hight tailed north and have been in Qld ever since I dont think my boat would go south passed Tweed Heads so I am here for the duration and loving it. I have been up and down the coast and stayed everywhere on the hook and in marinas but now " like most long term liveaboards' I tend to only use marinas on a must need as the cost is over the top. I have been out for the last two years but am now in a very good marina as I need to do a mini refit.
The real truth is that if you remain low key and have a tidy boat nobody bothers you and the only place that is causing a stink at the moment is Mooloolaba which is my Aust Registered home port. This is by the looks of the problem is that the locals are playing at being rich snobs and claim that their Haha view is being ruined by boats on the water ????? I wonder what they live there for ???? I hope this is not going to catch on !!!
You will be fine as the number or the old fashion boat bums that gave us the Grotty Yachty name seem to be slowly dying !@! out as they do get a hard time from all the gov/deptments. Local suppliers are starting to feel the pinch as OS boats now get the message long before they head to Ozzie and they now go passed and on to Asia so we all are missing out (1) the Ozzie sailors are not having the fun of beach parties etc with people from other countries (2) the Ozzie bussiness people who in the past had a good boost of income from these travellers are now missing out.
Good luck
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Old 25-05-2011, 21:53   #6
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Re: LivingAboard in Australia

As Jacko says, marinas are getting to be quite expensive! Yamba northern NSW has a marina run by Kay Cottee which is a very friendly place to call in. I also noticed a very protected achorage or maybe mooring area just outside that marina which I know as a fact that Alan Lucas uses alot. Check it out as you go north.

Cruising Helmsman is a good read as is Coastal Passage (internet read) to get more ideas.
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Old 07-10-2014, 13:54   #7
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Re: LivingAboard in Australia

Anyone know if you can live on hook off Martha's Vineyard?

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Old 07-10-2014, 14:38   #8
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Re: LivingAboard in Australia

I think the way to approach "liveaboard" in Aus (at least on the east coast) is to think "cruising but having a long term stay at this location". It is just a subtle difference in approach.

One says "I going to live on this boat and not move" and this gets up the noses of some (especially guv'mit types ).

The other says "I'm a traveller and I really like your location and what you have done here so I would like to enjoy this with you for awhile before moving on". This gets a more relaxed approached from local, marine service providers and the like. The next six months flash by with smiles all round.

There are plenty doing it and quite a few CF members as I understand it.

Having school age children or having to commute to a shore job entails new difficulties and is not so easy IMO.
All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangereous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. T.E. Lawrence
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Old 08-10-2014, 02:03   #9
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Re: LivingAboard in Australia


sorry, martha's vineyard, is a very wealthy iconoclastic community. Be careful.

Ann & Jim, U.S. s/v Insatiable II, SE Qld, for a while
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Old 09-10-2014, 04:58   #10
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Re: LivingAboard in Australia

Admittedly, a little far from Australia, but just an added note about Martha's Vineyard. Cruisers are welcome, but full term living aboard would be near impossible. The moorings at Vineyard Haven, which would be most suitable, are $45/night and anchoring in the mooring field is not permitted. We anchor as fulltime liveaboard cruisers outside the breakwater without cost and move if a nor'easter is forecast. This is a seasonal opportunity and our stay is usually no more than a week. Although there's wealth Martha's Vineyard is not exclusionary. Winter would exclude me! .......'back to Australia!

Take care and joy, Aythya crew
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