Melbourne to Cairns is easy. Turn left.
We left mid April last year, got to Brisbane
end of May. EAC wasn't too bad, SE winds were useful but not constant.
Longest leg we did was from the 'prom to Eden which took us ~38 hours, but we motored quite slowly for the first day and night. We decided to do it over 2 nights rather than try and do it in one, once that choice was made there was no rush.
NSW coast we mainly did in overnight hops of 100 to 160 miles, then took our time at each of the ports
. This lets you avoid all the bar ways.
Sailing into Sydney
early May was cold. Would have been more pleasant to have been 4 weeks earlier on our trip. But other folks didn't leave Melbourne until late May, and sailed through to Southport in a couple of weeks. Depends how fast you want to go really - your boat
would be faster than any of the folk we cruised with.
Only place we had a significant wait for weather
was to go through the Wide Bay Bar. But I don't like bars, so we did wait until it was dead flat.
With 1.9m draft
we needed to time the tides well both from Southport to Morton bay, then inside Fraser Island. Deepest keel
we talked to who took the inside route
in these two areas was 2.2m We touched a couple of times with 1.9m draft
Fraser to Cairns would be another 2 weeks minimum - but there are so many cool islands and atolls to stop at, you'll want to take longer. We took a month to get to Bowen, but that was with almost all day sails
. Lady Musgrave / Fitzroy / Hardy reefs
were our favorite anchorages
. Hardy will be a bit nerve wracking with your draft and beam.
Assuming you are going across the top of Australia
and then up the Java sea / South China
sea, you'll probably want to be up near Singapore
by late November to avoid weather
, although I've spent time in the Java sea in early November without any issues. Suspect you'll need to motor
a lot, I've only been through there on a trawler
You could probably leave anytime late Summer, and have a comfortable and relaxed trip.
Sounds like fun. Wish I could go.
Oh - it was my partners first time out through the heads on a sailboat when we left last year. Take your time and watch the weather and it's all pretty relaxing up the coast.