Take the wheel, hit the throttle and explore the 74 islands of the Whitsundays – all in the comfort of your own yacht.
There are 74 islands in the Whitsundays and with a yacht, only time restricts how many can be explored. In some bays, you’ll be the only ones sidling up to shore. At others, there will be groups of ocean enthusiasts. The choice is entirely in the hands of the skipper.
The cabin area is where the living is done, but there are plenty of ways to escape. Steps at the back of the catamaran lead to the water for swim or snorkel. At the front of the boat, there are mats on which to sit and soak up the sun and the sprays from the gentle waves. About 30m of anchor takes the boat close to shore of the islands, and a dinghy does the rest. Picnic, swim and stroll on an isolated beach. Traffic jams suddenly seem a very long distance away.
Sail or motor at a comfortable speed. In the cabin, there are seats and a table which comfortably accommodate six people. There are three bedrooms, each with double beds and a kitchen, which those with their sea legs on will be calling the galley in no time. There’s a fridge, freezer, all the equipment of a home kitchen and a gas cooktop. On the top deck, there’s a barbecue and comfortable seats from which to pick up the breeze. The bathroom has a small shower and toilet, and the boat carries 650 litres of water. There are fans in the bedrooms, and ports which open to let in the night breeze.
Jack Sparrow says in Pirates of the Caribbean: “Not all treasure is silver and gold, mate.” Travelling in a yacht allows freedom which can’t be found in city living. Queensland Yacht Charters will teach you to drive yourself, how to report in each night as a safety precaution, and how to navigate your way through the islands. Stop at will, move on at will. There are no timetables or limitations. There’s something liberating about this type of travel.
There’s no 7-Eleven on deserted beaches, so self-catering is the go. While living in the lap of luxury, it’s tempting to fill up the fridge with beer and wine, but leave some space for drinking water. There are a couple of options for food. Either stock up at the supermarket. Alternatively, caterers like Whitsunday Provisioning have extensive menus which eliminate the need to think about each and every meal. They’ll do everything from pepper steak, marinated prawns and hamburgers through to sausages and bacon for breakfast. It’s a hassle-free option.
WORTH STEPPING OUT FOR
Unless you’re taking the dinghy to shore, there aren’t many options to escape. And there won’t be much inclination either. But be sure to explore many of the bays, beaches and bushwalks. There are some beauties among them, with varying types of sand. Importantly, most are untouched and remain in their pristine state.
Another quick Jack Sparrow quote: “I think we’ve all arrived at a very special place. Spiritually, ecumenically, grammatically.” Sharing confined spaces isn’t for everyone, but there’s something special about waking up each morning to a new remote part of paradise, palm trees blowing in the breeze, cooking breakfast with guaranteed 360-degree ocean views. Beware that for many, sailing can be addictive and a 30-foot luxury catamaran can set you back about $500,000.
HOW TO GET THERE
Queensland Yacht Charters is at Abel Point Marina North, within walking distance of the Airlie Beach town centre. Meet at the office in the N1 building for lessons before drifting off into the blue yonder.
Queensland Yacht Charters, Building N1, Abel Point Marina North. A 30-foot catamaran such as Gypsy Rose can hire anywhere from $700 to $950 depending on season. There are more than 20 yachts of various sizes, so rates vary. There are discounts for weekly hires, particularly in the quiet season. Phone 07 4946 7344, see yachtcharters.com.au.
- The writer was a guest of Queensland Yacht Charters.
- View other great Queensland escapes