Before you kick the Bucket, try these boating paradises

Port Stephens NSW looking pretty in a pink sunset.
Mark Rothfield
The so-called Bucket List, otherwise known as 'things to do before I die', is conceptually brilliant but for one fatal marketing flaw … the bit about dying.

Just as youth is wasted on the young, so life’s richest experiences can be squandered by old coots. On their do-or-die list should be 'benefit from medical research' or 'book room at Hilton for final fling' … leave the Bucket List to those enjoying the rudest of health.

In that vein, and with New Year’s Resolutions still daisy fresh, I hereby present 'Ten places you must go boating while very much alive':

Port Stephens (NSW): Fame Cove, Fingal Bay, Jimmys Beach, Broughton Island. Say no more if you’re into swimming, fishing and nanna naps.

Myall Lakes (NSW): Pitch a tent, boil a billy and enjoy the serenity of a freshwater paradise. The shallowness of the river and speed restrictions discourage the very big and very fast.

Broken Bay (NSW): Do yourself a favour, as Molly used to say, and buy some fish and chips at Patonga before nipping across to Refuge Bay for the evening. The waterway has a Jurassic Park feel, so a final taste of civilisation is a real treat.

Sydney Harbour (NSW): Sure there’s the bright lights but you don’t have to venture far to find raw beauty either. Slip under The Spit Bridge and it’s like entering The Chronicles of Narnia wardrobe to find a place full of trees and wildlife within stone’s throw of a maddening metropolis.

Gippsland Lakes (VIC): 20,000 waterbirds from as far afield as Siberia and Alaska call this habitat home … and there are almost as many houseboats. It’s actually a network of lakes – Lake Wellington, Lake King and Lake Victoria – fed by the Thomson, Latrobe, Mitchell, Nicholson and Tambo rivers.

Wineglass Bay (TAS): Gruff granite mountains form an imposing backdrop to this horseshoe-shaped stretch of sand that’s consistently rated among the top 10 beaches in the world. Row ashore and cook your freshly caught fish over a fire.

Whitsundays: For whatever kind of break you’re after, the 74 islands of the Whitsundays are your oyster. You can sample different resorts or stay at a Whitehaven Beach long after the oily tourists have gone.

New Caledonia: The natives of Noumea have one less roussette to worry about because I ate the little fruit sucker. Yep, a bat … delicious, he was too, with French herbs and a red wine jus. Nowhere else can you get that French Polynesian mix so close to Australia.

Croatia: Everyone who’s done the Med and the West Indies reckons this bountiful nation on the Adriatic coast has more to offer in the way of historic charm, new-age luxury and eye-watering scenery.

Antarctic: See an iceberg at least once, and a penguin before Happy Feet 3 exploits them to death.

Cruise ships depart from Hobart, while charter sailboats often run 'expedition style' voyages to the Antarctic Peninsula from South America.

New Zealand and Asia will get their own list shortly.

Next week: Ten boats to own while alive.