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Fannie Bay off the Darwin Sailing Club -  one of  2 near Darwin city.  The Club extends a temporary membership that entitles you to eat and drink at the club, use the toilets, showers and laundry.  There are several drawbacks:
  • 8 meter tides - you must anchor in 10+meters to insure that you are not aground at low tide.
  • Dinghy handling -  it is a long ride and you must take your dinghy above the high tide line. Darwin Sailing Club provides a few trolleys to roll it up the beach.
  • Strong afternoon sea breeze - makes for a very bouncy anchorage and a wet dinghy ride.
  • 4 km from town and all cruising amenities - no grocery store within walking distance.
Frances Bay  near Darwin Harbour on the east side of the Stokes Hill Wharf.  There is a basin inside the wharf beside a floating dock to take on provisions or water, and where dinghies may land, but you cannot anchor inside this basin.  This anchorage is sheltered from the afternoon sea breeze but also has several disadvantages.
  • No toilets, showers or laundry available.
  • 2 km from town and all cruising amenities, although there are cafes and food stalls on the wharf where you can eat and drink.
  • It can be a bit noisy as navy ships from all over the world come and go in this area at all times of the day and night.

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Cullen Bay Marina is the most popular marina with cruisers in Darwin, although there are others available and more under construction.  Because of the 8 meter tidal range, you must go through a lock system to enter the marina.


Floating docks Self-service Laundry Yacht Maintenance Yard
Toilets Internet Access Travel Lift
Showers Receive & Hold Mail Chandlery on premises
Power and Water at berth Fuel Dock Pump Out Facility

Fuel dock outside of lock at ferry dock.  The marina is part of the Cullen Bay complex which includes several restaurants, cafes, pubs, gift shops, a small grocery store, newsagent and many other shops.  There are also hotels, apartments, and several business offices.

Lockmasters:  Contact: 0419 421363 (mobile)
VHF Channel 11


Cullen Bay Marina Manager
Robbie Standaloft
Ph (08)89420400  Fx (08)89420700  Mbl 0418 898891
PO Box 143 Darwin N.T. 0801


Website: www.cullenbaymarina.com.au


  • Close to all cruising amenities.

  • Very secure


  • Hot as the surrounding buildings block the wind.

  • Must schedule lock to enter or exit.

Tipperary waters   Located on Frances Bay, north of Stokes Hill Wharf.  You must enter via a lock.  77 floating berths, power and water, toilet and shower facilities.  This is part of a housing development.  Some amenities available in the development, but you are about 8 kilometres from Darwin CBD. The mini-buses do service this area. 
GPS co-ordinates: Latitude 12� 27.021S Longitude 130� 50.966 E


Floating docks Self-service Laundry   Yacht Maintenance Yard
Toilets Internet Access Travel Lift
Showers Receive & Hold Mail   Chandlery on premises  
Power and Water at berth Fuel Dock   Pump Out Facility


Street Address: 84 Frances Bay Drive Darwin NT 0800
Mailing Address:
Tipperary Waters Marina
PO Box 4764 Darwin NT 0801
Contact: Peter Dermoudy
Phone:   (08) 89422231 phone and fax; Mobile: 0407075077
Email:  peterdermoudy@hotmail.com

Web-site: www.tipperarywatersmarina.com.au

Lockmasters:  Peter Dermoudy, Mobile: 0407075077
VHF Channel unknown

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Zebra-striped Mussel Inspection - Due to a major scare in Cullen Bay Marina in 1999, all boats must be inspected and/or treated for Zebra-striped mussel infestation before entering any marina in Darwin.  These following procedures applied when we arrived in 2000.

  • Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) must certify your boat to be free of mussels.  The lockmaster will notify them to come to the dock as he is required to see your certificate before allowing you in the lock.  MAF  is open M-F, not on the weekends, so plan accordingly.
  • The lockmaster will direct you to come to the floating fuel and ferry docks outside the lock for the inspection.
  • The MAF official will arrive and one of the following things will take place.
    • If you have just arrived in Australia, they will require that the boat be hauled at Government expense for a visual inspection and treatment for the mussel.
    • If you have cleared into Australia at another port and have been cruising the coast for awhile, the official will require that you close all thru-hull fittings on the boat, including the engine thru-hull so that either boiling water or a chemical solution may be poured in the thru-hulls.  If they decide to use the chemical solution, it must be kept in for 14 hours.
    • If you have documentation that shows that your boat has recently been hauled out and anti-fouled while in Australia, you will not be required to do anything.  
  • The MAF official will then issue a certificate which you present to the lockmaster before going through the lock.

Helpful Hints for Locking Up/Down at Cullen Bay Marina The following tips will, hopefully, help you avoid any problems when going through the lock.  These procedures assume there are 2 people on board, so if there are more, make your own adjustments. 

  • Call Lockmaster on VHF channel 14 to arrange transit through the lock.
  • Carefully guide the boat up the channel toward the lock.  There has been recent shoaling in the channel and a small yellow buoy has been placed in the channel to mark the south end of the shoal.  You must leave the Yellow Buoy to Port.  DO NOT pass close to the day marker as you are likely to run aground.  There are range markers on the rock breakwater to guide you up the channel, but they are not always easy to spot.  The lockmaster will usually provide some guidance to boats if they need it.
  • When the lockmaster tells you to enter the lock, slowly enter and decide which side you will tie up to.  Put out as many fenders on that side as possible to protect the hull from the slimy, concrete wall.
  • Ask the lockmaster how far you will either rise or fall in the process so you can determine how high or low you need to place your lines.
  • One person should be standing amidships with the stern line.
  • Pass the stern line between either the recessed piping and lock wall or the ladder and lock wall at the place where the stern of the boat will end up, making sure that it is far enough inside the lock so that the doors can close.  Remember that the line should be placed as high or as low on the wall as you can reach to account for the rise/fall of the boat.  
  • Hand bitter end of  the line back to the helmsperson so that they may handle it.
  • As the boat continues to slowly move forward, pass the bow line between either the recessed piping and lock wall or the ladder and lock wall at the place where bow will come to rest.  
  • Place a half-wrap of the line around boat cleats, but do NOT make fast.
  • The helmsperson should put the engine in neutral and handle the stern line.
  • The lockmaster will then close the doors and start to fill or empty the lock of water to move the boat to the proper level of the water in the marina or outside.
  • Both persons  should either take in or let out on the lines as the boat rises or falls.  Hold the lines securely, as there can be some turbulence inside the lock.
  • Once the proper water level has been reached, the lock doors will open.
  • The helmsman should then pull the stern line free and back onboard while the bow person does the same.
  • Slowly move forward out of the lock and into the marina. 

In general, if you are going in the lock at low tide, you may be rising as much at 3-5 meters.  At high tide, you will usually only need to be lowered about 2 meters as the water level in the marina is kept close to high tide.  So it is better to transit at or near high tide.

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Cruising Amenities

Grocery Stores - 
  • Woolworth's on Knuckey St. across from the Smith St. Mall
  • Cole's at Casurina Mall.  See Shopping Centers for directions

Self-Service Laundry -  Bay Wash, Cullen  Bay Marina - This is a regular Laundromat where you can do your own laundry or pay them to do it for you.

Internet Access - 

  • Territory Internet Services,  Knuckey St. or the Smith St. Mall
  • Global Gossip, Mitchell St.

Copy Services - Copytime, 67 Smith St, Darwin, Ph.  08 8981 7544.  They have facilities to copy charts.

Shopping Centers -
  • The closet shopping area is the Smith St. Mall in downtown.
  • Casurina Mall, Casurina.  Approximately 15 kilometers from Darwin CBD and can be reached by bus from the bus terminal at the end of the Smith St. Mall  - take bus  no. 10 to the end of the line at Casurina Mall.  The fare is $1.80.

Banks/ATMs - Smith St. Mall

Postal Services - Main Post Office, Cavanaugh St.

Customs/Immigration -  67 Lindsey St. in the city  08 8981 7544.   Customs performs both functions.

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Buses -  Darwin's Buses service most of the area including Mindl Beach and Casurina Mall.  There is a stop about 1/2 kilometer from Cullen Bay Marina on Smith St.

Taxis - You can find a taxi most anywhere in the city and at Cullen Bay.

Ferry Service -  A ferry runs across the bay to Mandorah.  This service is mainly for commuters, as there are no tourist attractions in Mandorah.

Airport Shuttle - 69 Mitchell St., Darwin  Ph. 08 8981 5066  Fax:  08 8981 5377.  The fare either to or from the airport is $15.00.  They will pick up and drop off at all hotels and Cullen Bay.

Mini  Buses -  8-passenger buses service mainly the Central Business District (CBD) and Cullen Bay.   For $2.00 they will take you anywhere in the CBD; they do not run a regular route or schedule.  You can either call them or wait at a mini-bus stop for them to come by.  It does NOT cost more to call them so it is best to give them a call to be sure that they will arrive in a timely manner.  If you need to go outside the CBD they will take you, but the price is negotiable, so ask first as it is usually cheaper to take the Darwin City Bus.  The main mini-bus stop in the city is on the Smith St. Mall across from Woolworth's and you may find one waiting there.

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Yacht Services

Chandleries -
  • Small chandlery at Cullen Bay
  • Yacht Shop Atkins Drive, Fannie Bay, Ph. 8981 2948  (located at Darwin Sailing Club)
  • Darwin Shipstores, Fisherman's Wharf, Frances Bay, Ph.  08 8981 7322
  • Taylor Marine, 20 Fisherman's Wharf, Frances Bay, Ph. 08 898 5500 
  • Seafleet Marine - 31 Stuart Hwy.  Stuart Park.  Ph:  08 8981 5880
Yacht Maintenance -
  • Small maintenance yard at Cullen Bay.  It uses a rail to pull out the boat.
  • Maintenance Yard at Darwin Sailing Club
  • Sadgroves Quay, 5594 Frances Drive, Darwin ,  Ph.  08 8981 9625.  You can do work yourself or hire it out.  Has 70 ton travel lift, 12 ton yard crane, chandlery.  (There are only certain tide ranges which allow boats to be hauled out, and there are low spots on the trip up the estuary.)
  • Spot On Marine - North of Darwin Sailing Club on north side or East Point.   50 ton Travel Lift, hardstands.  Ph.  08 8985 3070
Sailmakers and Canvas Shop -
  • Yacht Shop at Darwin Sailing Club does sail repair and canvas work.
  • Seafleet Marine - 31 Stuart Hwy., Stuart Park.  Ph:  08 8981 5880

Engine Repair -

  • Askensmith Pty, services Yanmars and other engines, ph (08) 8947 0287

Charts/Marine Books -  

  • Yacht Shop Atkins Drive, Fannie Bay, Ph. 8981 2948  (located at Darwin Sailing Club)
  • Darwin Ships Store, Fisherman's Wharf, Frances Bay, Ph.  08 8981 7322
  • Seafleet Marine - 31 Stuart Hwy.  Stuart Park.  Ph:  08 8981 5880
  • Copytime - 67 Smith St.  Darwin,  Ph.  08 8981 7544.  A copy service with some copied charts  and guides available for SE Asia and elsewhere.  Colin has first-hand knowledge of SE Asia.  (He will ask that you call these maps in lieu of charts for copyright reasons.)

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The following are services or places visited and recommended by Bob and Judi. We can only say that our experience was a good one and we hope that you will also have a favorable experience.
Liquor Stores -  
  • Great wine shop on Cavanaugh St.
  • Wine and Beer also sold at Max Liquors as part of Woolworth's.
  • Liquorland - Casurina Mall
  • Downtown Duty-free, Smith St. Mall.  You can arrange for your duty-free liquor to be delivered to Cullen Bay Fuel/ferry dock on the day you checkout.  The Customs official will need to see the items onboard the boat.

Theaters/Cinemas -  

  • Cinema on Mitchell St.
  • Casurina Mall

Restaurants -

  • Hog's Breath Cafe, Mitchell St.
  • Many places along "backpackers row", Mitchell St 
  • Sizzler Steak House - Big, inexpensive meals and they are licensed to serve beer and wine.
  • Yots - overlooking Cullen Bay Marina.  Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Buzz Cafe - Cullen Bay
  • Dos Amigos on the Beach - 51 Marina Blvd., Cullen Bay.  Terrific Mexican place

 More Information

  • Lonely Planet Guide - Australia
  • Visitor Information Centre, Darwin City, Knuckey St.
  • North Australian Marine Guide produced yearly by the Darwin Marine Services Association.
Beauty Salons - Several on Smith St. Mall and Casurina Mall.

Recommended Things to See and Do

  • Kakadu National Park (allow 2-3 days) - This is a world heritage park and is full of Aboriginal history, culture and rock-art.  Recommend:
    • Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Jabiru 
    • Yellow Waters cruise through the Paperbark forests in Kakadu Natl. Park.  (This is a Must - try to go on the early morning cruise as that is when the birds and crocodiles are most active.)
    • Aboriginal rock art at Ubirr and Nourlangie
    • Gumlon, Jim Jim and Twin Falls.  To visit the last 2 you will need a 4WD or to be part of an organized tour.
    • Take the East Alligator River Cruise
  • Litchfield National Park (1 day)
  • Thursday Night Markets at Mindl Beach.
  • Territory Wildlife Park.  (1/2-full day) If you only have a few days in Darwin, this will give you a real "feel" for the Territory and it's wildlife.
  • Shady Camp - 50 km down an unsealed road from a turnoff off the Arnhem Highway.  This place is well-known to all Aussie barramundi fisherman as the place to fish.  We camped there for 2 days and saw barramundi,  lots of crocodiles, Jabiru storks, playful Corellas, and heaps of other colorful birds.  You can rent a "tinny" and try your hand at fishing, but beware of the falling tide as this river is subject to the large Darwin tidal range.
  • Adelaide River cruise to see the "famous jumping crocodiles" really close up!  Arnhem Highway, Adelaide River (1/2 day).
  • Northern Territory Museum  - Conacher St., Fannie Bay. ($2.00 by Mini-bus)

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This Page Last Updated: 25 Nov 2010


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