Entering/departure Maneuver Port Chalmers, NZ

Entering Port Chalmers

Port Chalmers is one of the three ports which comprise Port Otago and it is a custom port and port of entry serving the Clutha-Central Otago Region of New Zealand.

Otago Harbour is entered at the SE end of a bay between Heyward Point and Taiaroa Head, almost 2 miles SE, on the NW side of Otago Peninsula.

Approaching the entrance into Otago Harbour

Taiaroa Head, Port Chalmers– Taiaroa Head –

From North and East Otago Harbour may be identified by the gap its entrance makes in the coast, and also by Spit Beach, a remarkable bank of dazzling white sand heaped at the base of a steep cliff forming the West entrance head, and fronted by Lion Rock.  From the entrance, Otago Harbour extends about 11 miles SW as a narrow inlet indented by bays. Much of the harbour is occupied by shallow or drying sandbanks.

Shallow waters and sand islets Port Chalmers

Approaching Port Chalmers

About six miles within the entrance, the harbour is divided into Lower Harbour to the NE, and Upper Harbour, to the SW, by Halfway Islands which lie between Port Chalmers and a peninsula.

Port Chalmers’ entering and departure maneuvers are among the most interesting and beautiful maneuvers I have ever seen so far. The landscape and seascape are amazing, especially when weather is fine and visibility good.

The vessel has to follow the dredged navigational channel, keeping a safe distance from the shallow waters and long stretches of sand, running ahead with slow speed, curving to the right and to the left, accordingly.

Approaching the pier in Port Chalmers Port


Before getting alongside, the vessel has to swing to starboard side (or portside) and comes portside alongside one of the two available berths.


HS Beethoven alongside in Port Chalmers

The departure maneuver is as interesting as the entering, but a little faster; the vessel leaves the pier and follows the same dredged channel, towards the exit.

HS Beethoven departure from Port Chalmers

HS Beethoven Departure from Port Chalmers



If you are interested, you can watch the departure maneuver from Port Chalmers:     Port Chalmers departure

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