PS Queensland to Papua New Guinea

Best time: i Tropical storms: Charts:


Cruising guides:. Waypoints:

April to October

December to March

BA: 780

US: 623

US: 127,164

Landfalls ot Pnradss.






Distance (M)

Route IVSIilhA PS1061 One Half 14'20'S, 145°3Q'E

PS1062 Basilisk SW 9e33'SF 147°05'E

Port Moresby 9'28'S, 147'09'E

PS1063 Grafton 16'35'S, 146°25'E

PS1064 Bougainville 15C30'S, 147'30'E

PS1065 Brumer 10o52'S, 150'15'E


10'36'S, 150°39'E


There are two main routes crossing the Coral Sea from Queensland to Papua New Guinea, one that goes direct to the capital Port Moresby (PS106A), the other to Samarai (PS106B), a small island off the SE extremity of New Guinea. The latter route is taken by those who wish to cruise in the outer islands before heading for Port Moresby and beyond. Because Port Moresby is downwind of all other possible destinations, it is a mistake to go there first as it can be very tough sailing against the boisterous SE trades to reach the smaller islands east of New Guinea. If the destination is one of those islands, Samarai provides a most convenient port of entry.

For the direct passage to Port Moresby from ports in North Queensland it is better to stay inside the Great Barrier Reef until almost due south of Port Moresby. Cairns is the last port in Queensland where exit formalities can be completed and although boats are allowed to day sail inside the Great Barrier Reef after having cleared out of Australia, landing either along the coast or on one of the offlying islands is prohibited.

From Cairns, one has the choice of either taking the inshore route as far as Lizard Island and reaching the open sea through the One and a Half Mile Opening, or going outside the Great Barrier Reef through Grafton or Trinity Passage. In good light the latter can be easily negotiated and is more convenient than Grafton.

The course from the One and a Half Mile Opening (14*25'S, 145'26'E) is free of any dangers all the way to Port Moresby. From WP PS1061 outside of that passage a course can be set for WP PS1062 at the entrance into Basilisk Pass, which leads into Port Moresby. Boats should proceed to the Royal Papua Yacht Club where visiting yachts sometimes find docking space. The captain should then visit the various offices to complete the formalities.

The alternative route to Samarai can leave the Great Barrier Reef by a multitude of passes, Grafton Passage just outside Cairns being one of the best. Because of the direction of the prevailing winds, the more northerly the starting point of this passage, the closer it will be to the wind. As winter passages across the Coral Sea can be quite rough, this is an aspect that should be considered when planning this route. The strong winds coupled with the west-setting current make it necessary to do some easting whenever the winds permit this.

Having left Cairns and gained the open sea through Grafton Passage, from WP PS1063, outside that passage, an initial course is set for WP PS1064, east of Bougainville Island. The route then crosses the Coral Sea to make landfall at WP PS1065, SW of Brumer Island, off the Papuan coast. Sufficient time should be allowed to be able to cover the remaining 30 miles to Samarai in daylight, where entry formalities into Papua New Guinea can be completed. If there is not enough time to reach Samarai in daylight, it is safer to anchor off the mainland coast for the night. A good anchorage can be found behind Deirina Island, close to the Strait.

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