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Sail the Whitsunday Islands

Australia's Tropical Island Sailing Paradise

The Whitsunday Islands lie off Australia's North Queensland Coast, getting there a flight of less than two hours from Brisbane. These 74 tropical islands, most uninhabited, are protected from the ocean by the outer Great Barrier Reef, a true wonder of the natural world.

The majority of the Whitsundays have national park status, with sufficient controlled development to provide visitors with a healthy balance of resort accommodation, leisure pursuit and wilderness activity. The cruising grounds of the Whitsunday Islands offer an almost infinite number of anchorages suitable for charter boats, with spectacular beaches set against an aquamarine sea teeming with marine life.

Sailing the destination is line-of-sight over short distances, with generally moderate, reliable winds to send you on your way.

Great boat, knowledgible friendly staff, awesome charter vacation. Highly recommended!

 Thomas, March 2023

A Yachting Holiday in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Your Whitsundays sailboat charter gives you all the best in a tropical island sailing vacation, but with a uniquely Australian flavor. Lying within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and just offshore coastal North Queensland, this sun-drenched group of islands is easily the most popular charter yacht cruising destination in Australia. Because of their location inside the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday Islands offer some of the most sheltered waters in the South Pacific for charter cruising and sailing with friends and family.

The Whitsunday Islands are renowned for their lush rainforest and sandy deserted beaches. Countless uninhabited islands entice you to slip away and enjoy lazy private days in the tropical sun. And when it's time for some exercise, a short walk just beyond the white sand will normally bring you to a spectacular hiking trail in the national park. Come aboard and explore this wondrous coral kingdom and all the marine life that calls it home.

Around the Whitsundays, secluded anchorages are seldom more than thirty minutes apart, and finding that idyllic one all to yourself is surely the answer to every sailor's dream. And once the sailing, snorkelling and swimming are done, set sail for the bright lights of one of the Whitsundays' up-market island resort, for fine dining, entertainment and fun Australia-style, into the wee small hours. 

Climate and Sailing Conditions

The weather here is tropical, with the Trade Winds that blow most of the year keeping temperatures pleasant. Daytime averages range from 23° C (73° F) December to February up to 31° (88° F) from June to August, and the water remains around an inviting 25° C (77° F) throughout the year. With such a wonderful climate for holiday making, the best times to go sailing tend to be determined by Australian school holiday dates rather than by the weather. For yachtspeople looking for a charter holiday, that means some of the best conditions occur during off-peak periods.

North Queensland summers (December to March) are warm and humid, with frequent rain showers occurring. The winter here (June to September) is considered by many to offer the perfect climate - warm by day and cool by night. The trade winds usually blow slightly stronger from May to August, but the weather is generally very settled then. In March the brief 'wet' season arrives, with August/September the driest months.

Winds are generally moderate, making for excellent conditions throughout the year. And if you are there at a time when the breeze gets up a bit too much for the crew, there is always good shelter and a nice beach nearby. Spring and early summer are popular months for cruising. Cyclones if they do occur are most commonly expected in the late summer.

Our client reviews about charter sailing in Whitsunday islands

Rating: 5 / 5
A very commodious boat, especially since there were only 3 of us. Easily short-handed. We didn't do a lot of sailing (either too little or too much wind during our charter) and what we did was under jib alone where we were able to maintain a solid 7 knots. The systems all worked, though at times the freezer was too warm and the refrigerator too cold. The fold down swim platform is a very cool feature of this design.

Nara Inlet and Butterfly Bay were beautiful, and the cave paintings at Nara were fascinating. Border Island was going to be a lunch stop, but we liked it enough to stay overnight. Border had the best snorkeling of the trip, even with stinger suits and poor visibility, although the overnight anchorage got a little rolly in the wee hours. Our last stop was Sawmill Bay with a nice hike on shore, though no swimming due to recent shark attacks.

The service staff were great, and provided everything we needed, and nothing we didn't. The twice daily VHF check-ins were cheerful and informative. Our travel schedule required us to arrive too late for a same-day briefing so we had our first night in the marina. It would have been nice if the provisioning service could have loaded the boat before our arrival, instead of making us wait until the following day, but that is our only very minor complaint.
Tom, USA, Mar 24th, 2023
Rating: 4 / 5
The design and layout of the boat suited us as a group of 4 very well.

Weather was perfect although not much wind for sailing but that suited us fine. The whole Whitsunday area is a great cruising ground.
Your service was very good especially all the changes that were made over several years due to Covid. I would definitely use you again.
Ralph, New Zealand, Sep 6th, 2022
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