The Whitsundays - An All Aussie Adventureland
Protected from the ocean by the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays offer one of the most interesting waterways in the world for cruising or sailing. They are situated within the bounds of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and there are available a large variety of sea going activities, not the least of which is diving.
You can enjoy superb snorkelling on this living national treasure where quiet anchorages abound, all within a pristine setting of coral and semi-tropical forests. And, because you are always within sight of land, secluded anchorages are seldom more than 30 minutes apart.
The Whitsundays are situated north of the Tropic of Capricorn and are on the same latitude as Tahiti and the Cook Islands – needless to say, the weather is good one day, perfect the next.
The waters of the Whitsunday passage are unpolluted and some of the beaches are the most amazing in Australia. A stroll along the massive expanse of clean, white silica sand that is Whitehaven will dazzle you.
Many of the islands among the 74 in the Whitsundays group are superb for bushwalkers, offering tracks that will take you into unspoiled bushland. Most are uninhabited and proffer a solitude unimaginable to most city dwellers. Fish and bird life is abundant. And you will see an array of fish in all shapes, sizes and colours of the rainbow which makes it a paradise for scuba divers and snorkelers.
Magnificent sea turtles frequent the area for their leisurely feeding and can often be seen in the shallows. Ever friendly dolphins almost become constant companions to human presence and often play alongside the yacht as you sail by.
Obviously used to the intrusion of man, the fish at Butterfly Bay and many of the other reefs and bays come from nowhere when you take to the water. They are looking for a handout and relish scraps. You will quickly, and quite literally, have them eating out of your hand.
The area offers everything from the solitude and history of Nara Inlet with its ancient aboriginal cave drawings to the nightlife and restaurants of Hamilton Island.
Airlie Beach is the main service town to the area and gateway to the Whitsundays. It is a delightful resort town, still fairly small and compact, but growing rather quickly because of the incredible developers’ attention it has attracted.
Hamilton Island has developed into a township in its own right with a dozen different restaurants, bakery, laundromat, post office and general store surrounding the marina complex. The thrill of seeing your cruising area from a jet makes a flight into Hamilton Island a worthwhile alternative to Proserpine.
You can spend the night anchored off an isolated island or moored at the Airlie Beach Marina and venture into the town to dance the night away. Many of the resort islands welcome yachties and offer safe overnight anchorage as well as the use of restaurant and bar facilities.
A nominal charge per yacht for a mooring provides access to the land and water sports facilities, so a game of tennis or gold or swim in a resort pools offer some interesting and diverse activities.
A yacht charter holiday on the Whitsunday Passage is like no other holiday you could imagine. The temperature rarely drops below 25 degrees; the water is clear and inviting, the sights and sounds are unique – the whole area is a holidaymaker’s dream. Be sure to pack sunscreen.
The local cruising guide and charts make sailing the Whitsunday Passage quite simple. All the bays, reefs and safe sailing channels are clearly defined. Anchorages that will give a calm and comfortable night in all weather conditions are clearly marked.
The local authorities operate a 24-hour radio service which provides up-to-the-minute weather forecasts, issues warnings if necessary, checks your overnight position and can put you in touch with the local charter company representatives by radiophone.
Whitsunday Passage offers islands and islets which are totally unspoiled natural parks and, for this reason, remains near the top of the list of the world’s best cruising grounds.
Whitsunday Islands National Park