Already sailed the Caribbean? Want to try something new? Head to Airlie Beach in Australia. Charters there cruise in the Whitsundays Islands, which is a chain of 74 islands located in the middle of the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. These islands are pristine, with 66 in their natural state. Added bonus, the area is well protected for future generations through programs such as the Ecotourism Certification, administered by Ecotourism Australia
DAY 1: DEPART AIRLIE BEACH TO NARA INLET
Welcome to day 1 of your Whitsunday sailing itinerary. You’ll depart from marina in Airlie Beach, where you’ll have had your briefing beginning at 9am. Within a few hours, you will be sailing off, with your first destination: Nara Inlet. Nara Inlet is found 13nm away on the southern end of Hook Island. The verdant greenery of the islands rises on each side as you sail into this stunning, secluded bay. In the wet months, waterfalls tumble down the hillsides. Nara Inlet is a great spot for history lovers and has fascinating cultural significance. Head inland through the bush to explore the ancient Aboriginal caves dating back thousands of years. The caves are adorned with Aboriginal paintings and the walk through the bush to see them feels like a step back in time. Nara Inlet offers anchorages only with good holding in all conditions.
DAY 2: TO BUTTERFLY BAY
On day 2, you’ll stay on Hook Island and head to its northern side. Sailing 11nm, you’ll end up in Butterfly Bay, an outstanding spot for snorkeling and diving. It’s a popular destination, with public moorings available.
DAY 3: CATERAN BAY
Another day for marvelous snorkeling. Some of the best is to be found among the corals of Cateran Bay, 10nm away on Border Island. Teeming with marine life, this area is a “Green Zone” protected from anchorages and fishing. Much like in Butterfly Bay, you can opt to anchor outside of the reef protection area, but ensure a well set anchor to avoid gusts in strong southerlies. You may wish to spend some time onshore Border Island, as well. A hike to the highest island peak delivers tremendous views over the water.
DAY 4: TO WHITEHAVEN BEACH
Your sailing itinerary for the Whitsundays takes you to a very special place on day 4. Today, you’ll visit Whitehaven Beach, the 7km white sand beach that is one of the most famous spots in the region, and one of the most photographed beaches in the entire world. You will sail 8.5nm to reach the beach, located on Whitsunday Island. If time allows, stop at Tongue Point for the walk up to the lookout, rewarding you with amazing views over Hill Inlet.
DAY 5: TO HAMILTON ISLAND
Your Whitsunday sailing trip is half over, but there’s still so much to see! Day 5 brings you to Hamilton Island, one of the main resort islands in the chain. Many of our guests enjoy this stopover on their yacht charter itinerary as it is a great opportunity for a taste of the Whitsundays resort experience. Enjoy dinner in one of the tempting restaurants, or enjoy some of the activities to be found onshore including mini golf, carting, and swimming pools. Note: You will need to pre-book your berth at the Hamilton Island Marina. This island is also great spot to top up your water tanks and to dispose of garbage.
DAY 6: TO CID HARBOUR
Day 6 is all about the beach. You’ll sail a short distance (7nm) from Hamilton Island to the western side of Whitsunday Island, arriving in Cid Harbour/Sawmill Bay. If you’re ready for some relaxation in the sun, the beach here is wonderful, or you can take an easy walk to Dugong Beach. But if you’re after more action, hike to the top of Whitsunday Peak for unparalleled views.
DAY 7: TO PALM BAY
Today, you head Palm Bay, Long Island. Here you’ll find the Palm Bay Resort. You can pick up a mooring for a fee, and certain fees also include use of the pool and the resort kitchen. There is also a bar/café. This will be the last night of your Whitsunday sailing itinerary, so be sure to have a relaxing evening and enjoy every moment.The next day, it’s a short sail to return your vessel in Airlie Beach.
Then? Time to start planning for your next charter!
For more information and pricing, please email me at email@example.com or give me a ring. Can’t make it all the way to Australia? Ask me about sailing closer to home.