They’re described by some as ‘the most fun you can have sitting down’ but if you’ve never ridden a personal water craft (PWC) – like a Sea-Doo or jet-ski – before, it can be hard to know where to start.
As Kane Piper from the Canberra Motorcycle Centre said to us recently, “PWCs are not a huge part of our business yet, but like many other aspects of our range, we’re really excited about growing this part of our business.”
“A lot of people are interested in a Sea-Doo, but aren’t sure where, when and how they’ll be able to use it.”
“Now with a greater range of Sea-Doos we have in-store, we’re getting more involved with the local watersports community and looking for opportunities to make sure our customers get the most out of their new toy!”
“Riding a Sea-Doo is great fun for the thrill-seeker, but they’re also ideal for people who like fishing, or just cruising down the waterways checking out the scenery. And there are plenty of different models available to suit whatever you want to do,” he said.
“So making sure our customers know all about the best places to hit the water on their PWC is an important part of that as well,” said Kane.
So once you’ve sorted out your licence, and tried on a few Sea-Doos for size at the Canberra Motorcycle Centre, you’ll soon be ready to hit the water.
There’s still plenty of warm, sunny days left for you to catch a few waves, so we’ve compiled a list of the best spots to take your PWC around the Canberra region.
Lake Burrinjuck and the Good Hope Resort
We’ve written about the excellent facilities for PWCing at Good Hope Resort recently.
It’s a great option because it’s close to Canberra (just over an hour’s drive from the CBD, towards Yass).
From powered and unpowered camping spots and cabins, through to the swimming pool, kiosk, BBQ facilities and tennis courts on site, plus there’s a marine store selling water sports and fishing products, accessories and equipment.
It’s ideal to keep the non-skiing members of your family entertained for the day as well.
Just as importantly, there are a number of boat ramps that are open and accessible all year round.
South Coast – the Eurobodalla region
If you’re keen to stretch a little further afield, the Eurobodalla region takes in South Durras (just up from Batemans Bay) through to Narooma and Tilba.
After about an hour and 45-minute drive, your first stop might be the quaint little town of Nelligen, located on the Clyde River, which you might have driven past on your way to the Bay previously.
Perhaps you’ve stopped for a meal or drink at the pub and cafe, stayed at the Big4 caravan park, or taken off from here on a houseboat adventure.
But it’s a well-known spot for PWCers as well.
The vibe here is pretty relaxed, so we’d suggest it’s not the spot to try out your maximum speeds and jumps.
Think more along the lines of a scenic cruise up the river, shooting the breeze and checking out the wildlife.
If you’re feeling the need for speed, head into Batemans Bay and specifically to Corrigan’s Beach, about a 5-minute drive along Beach Road.
This is not only a great spot to launch your own craft, but there are a few different businesses here that hire out jet skis and PWCs.
It’s a great way to get your confidence up if you’re new to the sport, or to try out some other models before buying one of your own.
South Coast – the Shoalhaven region
If you turn left at the roundabout, rather than right into Batemans Bay, you’ll be heading up into the Shoalhaven region.
This will take you through Milton and Ulladulla, to Nowra and up toward Moss Vale.
You can take your pick from some of the amazing spots along the coast here, but it’s hard to go past Jervis Bay for a place to hit the water.
I’ve written before about how much I love this place – and you should still feel free to ‘stay away’.
Important note though – this is not the place to go nuts on your PWC. The area includes a complex and thriving marine sanctuary and is visited by migrating whales and bottlenose dolphins.
Just take care to respect the wildlife; don’t disturb or stress them out. Make sure you know where you can and can’t ride (the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) website is a good place to start), avoid the marine park sanctuary zones, and – as tempting as it may be – enjoy any wildlife you do see from a safe distance.
If in doubt, there are plenty of good tourism businesses along the waterfront in Huskisson – including jet ski hire – so just have a chat with the locals. Or better still, give the local DPI office a call.
While I have clearly a soft spot for Jervis Bay, many road trips through this incredibly pretty area when I was working further down the coast mean the Kiama and Gerringong region is actually one of my favourite parts of the world.
This is a busy area with a sizeable population – both in the holiday season and throughout the rest of the year.
So while PWCs and the people who love them are very welcome, the local government has put a few rules in place to keep everyone safe and happy.
There are at least four spots around here where you can safely and easily launch your PWC – including Kiama Harbour, Gerringong Harbour and the famous Seven Mile Beach.
But just be mindful of the exclusion zones – you can find all the info you need here.
Lake Jindabyne and Talbingo
Had enough of all the sand and salt, and happy to drive a bit further?
You might want to head south, but inland, instead.
You can choose to follow the highway through Michelago, Bredbo and Cooma; or take the ‘scenic route’ through Namadgi National Park and Adaminaby, to reach Lake Jindabyne in 2.5 to 3 hours.
There are several boat ramps located around the area, and alongside the PWCers you’ll find many happy canoers, kayakers, windsurfers and boaters (both sailing and powered).
Remember, you’re at the gateway to the Snowy Mountains here. And that means conditions can change rapidly, and it can get pretty darn cold (both in and out of the water).
Always check conditions, weather, road access and other important information before you go, to avoid disappointment.
And you might want to invest in that wetsuit or look into hiring one when you get there.
A little further north, and to the west, you’ll find the picturesque little town of Talbingo – right near Tumbarumba.
You might not have heard of it before, unless you’re already a water-sports enthusiast. Then you’ll probably know it pretty well.
The Talbingo Reservoir is a great spot where there are no restrictions on power boating.
So you can feel free to – safely – really let your hair down.
If all that adrenalin gets to be too much, you can check out the awesome Snowy Hydro Scheme in operation, or try your hand at trout fishing.
Squeeze in a visit to the Talbingo Dam Wall, and the Dad Joker in your family will finally be able to rock out a few of these great lines.
Do you know of any great PWC spots we’ve missed? Are you willing to spill your secrets?