Reason #1: Our Winter is Their Summer
Dreaming of a luxury yachting vacation in the glorious Land Down Under? You might need to turn your sense of weather upside-down. July is Australia’s winter, and it’s the perfect time of year to explore the magnificent Whitsunday Islands or, as we Aussies say, “the Whitsundays.”
If you want secluded beaches, coral reefs and natural beauty then the Whitsundays are definitely for you.
Spanning over 4,000 kilometers along the eastern coast of Australia, the Whitsunday Islands extend from the northern tip down to Melbourne.
That’s a lot of exploring. Don’t expect to see all of the coastlines on one yachting vacation. Pick and choose, and enjoy every mile of your journey.
Things to Do in the Whitsundays
8 million tourists visit the 74 Whitsunday islands every year. They come here to enjoy the water, fishing, sunbathing, SCUBA diving, snorkeling, shopping, dining, bushwalking or simply relaxing with a cool drink on hand while anchored near Daydream Island or Hamilton Island.
You can expect anything from bareboat charters where you Skipper any of the fabulous catamarans available in the Whitsundays, to deluxe superyachts with top-notch crew to meet your every whim. H2O Luxury Yachts in Australia can help you plan it all for a perfect Whitsundays yachting experience.
December, January, and February, which coincide with Australia’s summer, are the hottest months in the Whitsunday Islands. It is worth noting that summer in Australia is also the wet season, characterized by an increased likelihood of cyclones occurring around the Great Barrier Reef.
September is the ideal month for sailing the Whitsundays, with July, August, October, and November being almost as perfect. Plan your vacation around the time you have, and don’t focus too much on the “perfect” week.
The Exquisite Hamilton Island
Hamilton Island is a highly popular and delightful destination to explore. Notably, it is home to Australia’s only 18-hole golf course situated on its very own island. Additionally, you can enjoy a plethora of entertaining bars and restaurants. It’s worth mentioning that the entire island is car-free, mostly covered by lush bushland, and surrounded by fringing reefs.
Don’t forget to hike to the summit of Hill Inlet and take in the view of not only Whitehaven Beach but also the entire Whitsundays group of islands
Nara Inlet on Hook Island is one of our favorite spots. It’s well-protected, quiet, and perfect for swimming, paddleboarding fishing, and kayaking.
Head to the cave at the far edge and after a gentle bushwalk, head to the Ngaro Aboriginal Cultural site to see the ancient paintings inside.
Reason #2: Superior Snorkeling in the Whitsundays
SCUBA diving in Australia is a treat! Here are some favorite snorkel spots for you to explore in this World Heritage site with fringing and barrier reefs around the Whitsundays.
Manta Ray Bay on Hook Island
Found on the northern side, in winter you can find Manta Rays. Hook Island is a popular snorkeling destination. It features a wide diversity of soft and hard corals, with plenty of nutrients brought in by the tides. Hook Island is fairly close to a major jumping-off destination for a yacht charter of the luxurious Airlie Beach.
Blue Pearl Bay
Blue Pearl Bay off Hayman Islands is known for its colorful coral and fish. There are many parrotfish chomping on the coral that you can hear quite clearly underwater. Also a good SCUBA dive with Maori Wrasses. The waters in this location are between 3 and 32 meters which will satisfy both new and advanced divers.
Located close to Hayman Island is your own white sand piece of paradise with a bonus feature: a sand spit that grows and shrinks with the tides. Picnic on the sand, take a stroll and then snorkel off the beach back to your waiting yacht at anchor for you.
Hardy Reef is a great stop on the outer Great Barrier Reef. Reef walls and coral lagoons will greet you here with it being a great place to see large groupers, reef sharks and turtles in crystal clear water.
When you’re yachting Australia in the Whitsunday Islands, be sure to wear a stinger suit for snorkeling and diving between the months of October to May. Box jellyfish and Irukandji are more prevalent at these times. A stinger suit will keep you safe.
For those SCUBA and SAIL loving Catamaran guests take a look at Levante here.
For your Snorkeling and SCUBA diving Australia trip, we’re ready to help you book your perfect Australia yachting vacation.
Reason #3: Diving the Whitsundays is Divine
Let’s talk about sea turtles. (Because who doesn’t absolutely love sea turtles?) There are seven species of turtles in the world. Australia and the Whitsundays have six species of sea turtles!
Not only does Australia have green sea turtles, olive ridley turtles, hawksbill turtles, loggerhead turtles, leatherback turtles, and the ONLY turtle’s nest of flatback turtles in the world, it also has some of the largest breeding grounds in the Indo Pacific.
Green turtles, made famous from the Pixar movie, Finding Nemo, are the most abundant in the Whitsundays. You may think they’re called green turtles because of their color, but their fat is also green and you can often find them anchored anywhere by seagrass, as that’s their main diet.
Now let’s talk about every Australian’s favorite water sport, SCUBA diving.
Diving the Whitsundays
The Whitsundays, Cairns, and the Great Barrier Reef are top diving destinations. Liveaboard diving snorkeling tours abound so if you’re a diver, then you’re going to love yachting in Australia.
The Great Barrier Reef is a destination that every SCUBA diver should put on their bucket list in big bold letters. Whales abound June through September.
SCUBA diving sites like the Stepping Stones which are a series of 18 flat-topped pinnacles that look like stones from above leaves you a myriad of channels and caves to explore. On top of that expect to see Gorgonians, Sea Whips, and Sea Fans to complement the marine life, over 400 species of fish!
Or check out the Cathedrals on Whitsunday Island, an iconic dive site, which is truly a SCUBA diver’s wonderland with coral outcroppings and swim-throughs. You won’t have any problem finding fish that swim along right with you here.
The Pinnacles on Hook Island is another iconic dive site with coral bommies (an Australian word meaning coral outcrops and large heads) that nearly reach the surface from 20 meters below. Manta rays are common in the cooler months between June and September and also Maori wrasses with a few reef sharks as well.
Reason #4: Because the Food Down Under is Tops
Fresh is a very important word in Australian Cuisine. Maybe with more than a touch of United Kingdom influence.
Fish and Chips is varied and found on just about any settled shore side. Try the Australian favorite of barramundi crumbed and fried with chips.
It may be called “shrimp on the barbie” in North America but in Australia, they’re called prawns. They can be enjoyed fresh and peeled just about anytime. These prawns are large too! You won’t be getting any little cocktail-sized prawns here! Dig in with your fingers — everyone else does in Australia with these gigantic prawns.
Enjoy great food and wine at the Airlie Beach Esplanade while shopping at the colorful street markets. Or opt for fresh Australian cuisine with an Asian flare at Infinity Restaurant featuring Waygu eye steak and lobster at the Teppanyaki Bar on Daydream Island.
You can also head off to Shingley Beach near Airlie to have a beach BBQ in the soft grass with a great view of the marina. This is an option if you’re staying overnight on a bareboat catamaran.
Whitsundays Local Treats
Do you know what a Lamington biscuit is? Plan to try one while sailing in the Whitsundays. A truly original Australian dessert, with two halves of butter sponge cake with strawberry jam or cream layered in between, then rolled in chocolate sauce and desiccated coconut.
Don’t forget the Aussie meat pies that are found at every servo (service station in Aussie slang). Enjoy Australian “snags,” which are sausages, usually done on the BBQ, too.
Don’t forget the Aussie meat pies that are found at every servo (service station in Aussie slang) or Australian “snags,” which are sausages, usually done on the BBQ, too.
Of course, the Aussie favorite of Vegemite on toast is found on about all store shelves. Did you know Vegemite is more popular in Australia and Marmite is more popular in the United Kingdom? Vegemite is made with leftover brewers yeast and then seasoned with veggies, salt, and spices. Everyone has to try this once in Australia!
If chili mud crabs and rum mojitos or local seafood with fresh seasonal products are your food style, we have the restaurants for you.
The food area around the Whitsundays abounds in sugar cane, tomatoes, mangos, melons, capsicums (another Aussie word meaning peppers of any color), bean and corn for many miles around. Pack up your picnic basket and go.
Mango season around here is in November and December. You won’t want to forget to put those on your preference sheet if you’re taking a crewed charter yacht, or get them with your provisioning supplies if you’re taking out a bareboat catamaran.
Reason #5: Dress Up or Get Down ‘n Dirty
From the Glitz and Glamor of Hamilton Island to sitting on a deserted beach with nothing with a swimsuit and cover-up, the Whitsundays have you “covered.”
Aussies tend to be casual in their dress outside of the main cities, and you’ll find that Northern Queenslanders take this to an entirely different level. Thongs (flip flops in North America), shorts and singlets (no sleeve t-shirts) abound.
You’re likely to find yourself looking for one of the colorful fishing shirts that are worn for sun protection here.
Aussies are mad keen fishermen heading out to fish every chance they get. You’ll see many SPF-designed shirts with brightly covered fish all over the front and back. Get one to feel like a true Aussie.
If you don’t have a wide-brimmed hat on in the hot sun, Aussies will be happy to remind you that you need one. They know how strong their sun can be under the clear blue skies with minimal pollution and small fluffy white clouds.
Stylin’ in the Whitsundays
In the evening, “dress up” in the Whitsundays. Men may find a clean pair of shorts, and a clean fishing shirt. The women usually go for a sundress but maybe with a flash of rhinestones on it. Yes, that’s about as dressy it gets outside of Sydney or Melbourne.
There are a few resorts in the Whitsundays where you wear “smart casual” for going ashore for dinner. Make it light, though, and you’ll fit right in.
Packing for your yachting vacation in the Whitsundays should include:
- Sunscreen (+30 or more please!) and zinc cream if you are from northern climates and quite fair
- Polarising sunglasses so you can spot those Maori wrasses and turtles in the water
- A clip or strap to keep your sunnies connected to your hat or around your neck
- Wide-brimmed hat and sand or water shoes
- Light clothing in summer with the addition of a pair of sweat pants (“track pants” in Australia) pants and a wind/rain breaker for winter
- Bring something good to read while you lounge on the deck
- Phone or camera to capture the amazing photographs
- If you wear a prescription mask for snorkeling, it’s always a good idea to bring that along and if you don’t, if you have a particularly well-fitting one, bring it
- Any prescription medication that you take
Dressing for the Whitsundays
Sundresses are a standard for the women down under. Remember loose and cool, and “dress up” in the Whitsundays is no more than a clean pair of shorts and shirt for the men. Go with the flow, and you’ll be looking like an Aussie!
Is there anything you’d love to know about a yachting vacation in the Whitsundays? We’re happy to help! Just send us a message or check out our frequently asked questions here.
Do you need more reasons to visit the Whitsundays? Check out Tourism Whitsundays link for more ideas on what we can help you plan!
Let’s Plan Your Yachting Vacation in Australia’s Fabulous Whitsundays
Did you know the Whitsundays has 74 islands?
The Whitsundays and far north of Queensland are popular for fishing. Perhaps you may want to go fishing or snorkeling in Australia.
How about a trip on Phoenix One Motor Yacht?
This superyacht can take you winter yachting in Australia. It travels the Gold Coast in Queensland all the way up to East Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory between April and July. Expect fabulous fishing charters and travels to the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef for some fabulous SCUBA diving.
Take a trip over to Moreton Island which is the third-largest white sand island in the world. In fact Queensland has the four largest sand islands anywhere, and snorkel or SCUBA dive the Tangalooma Wrecks.
A favorite snorkel site in Moreton Bay Marine Park is the Sandhills. The Sandhills has astonishingly clear water, and fish and rays greet you as you are snorkeling through the mangroves. Tip: No stinger suits needed at any time of the year generally in Moreton Bay!
Australia Super Yachts
H2O Luxury Yachts can find you the perfect yacht for your yachting vacation.
The Australian Superyacht Rendezvous takes place on the Gold Coast in May for the last few years.
About two dozen superyachts attend this prestigious event and show their beautiful yachts to media, charter brokers, and marine industry professionals. Look for the next Super Yacht Show to take place IN the Whitsundays!
Contact our professional yacht broker team in Australia or the USA. You want your toes in the water and in the sand and to sea the world and so do we!
Check out our Australia Yacht Charters Cruising Grounds Blog
The Whitsunday Islands are waiting for you!