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There are lots of great things to do in Australia, but if there is one stop that I would recommend to absolutely everyone, it’s The Beautiful Whitsundays!

The Whitsunday Islands, affectionately known as β€œThe Whitsundays”, are a group of 74 islands that lie off the coast of Queensland, right in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.  Discovering the Whitsundays can be as relaxing or adventurous as you’d like, but in my opinion, there is no better way to explore the beauty of this area than on the boat, right in the heart of it all!

The yachts await in Airlie Beach. Sailing in Whitsundays, Australia
The yachts await…

Imagine spending your days lazing around the deck enjoying the fresh ocean breeze, as the boat sails through one of the most beautiful places in the world. When the boat docks in Tongue Bay, you are free to grab a snorkel and jump off to explore the beauty of the reefs and the crystal clear waters below you.

Dinner is served on the boat. Freshly cooked roast chicken, pumpkin and potato mash with a fresh salad. A simple meal that tastes so much better when served right on the boat. Maybe it’s the fact that you are drinking wine, or maybe it’s the intoxicating views around you. There is something really amazing and unforgettable about watching the sun go down at the Whitsundays.

One of the many yachts in the Whitsundays
One of the many yachts in the Whitsundays
Sunset over the Whitsundays. Sailing the Whitsundays, Australia
Sunset over the Whitsundays
And then the sky turned red. Sailing Whitsundays, Australia
And then the sky turned red…
Incredible light show at the Whitsundays. Sailing Whitsundays. Australia
Incredible light show shortly after the sun disappeared over the horizon.

The night is spent exchanging stories with fellow travelers while listening to the sounds of the ocean and admiring the absolute peace and quiet around you. Whether you choose to sleep in the cabin below or opt to remain on the deck gazing at the stars above you, it won’t take long for the lullaby of the wind and the gentle rocking of the boat to cradle you into a deep sleep.

You awake to the sound of waves hitting the boat. Grab a cup of tea (or coffee, if you must) and join the rest of the crew on the deck. The sun will welcome you with its warm kisses, energizing you for the day ahead.

Morning at the Whitsundays. Sailing the Whitsundays. Australia
Morning at the Whitsundays

After a short sail, you arrive at the Whitsundays Islands National Park. You take time to explore the Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail, a collection of walks ranging from 630 meters to 3.6 km. And just when you think the Whitsundays can’t get any more beautiful, you are greeted by breathtaking views of Whitehaven Beach…

Views of the Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Australia
Views of the Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Australia
Views of the Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Australia
Views of the Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Australia
Views of the Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Australia
Views of the Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Australia

The waters in Whitehaven Beach couldn’t be clearer and the sand –  whiter! The 7 km of the Whitehaven Beach are home to the finest white silica sand in the world and you’ll feel it with your toes the second you step out of your flip-flops. Despite the hot beaming sun, the sand is cool. Unlike regular sand, white silica does not retain heat, making it comfortable to walk on even on the scorching hot days. Whitehaven Beach is the cleanest and most eco-friendly beach in all of Australia! It feels surreal…

If there is paradise on earth, you have found it!

White silica sand on Whitehaven Beach. Sailing in Whitsundays. Australia
White silica sand on Whitehaven Beach
Clearest waters you've ever seen, right? Sailing Whitsundays. Australia
Clearest waters you’ve ever seen, right?
Despite many travelers visiting the Whitehaven Beach on a daily basis, it never seems to get too crowded. Sailing Whitsundays. Australia
Despite many travelers visiting the Whitehaven Beach on a daily basis, it never seems to get too crowded
Whitsunday Islands National Park in the background. Sailing Whitsundays. Australia
Whitsunday Islands National Park in the background

After a few hours of lazing around Whitehaven Beach, you are back on the boat, sailing away to another beautiful spot for another impeccable sunset.

The deck of our maxi sail boat. Sailing Whitsundays, Australia
The deck of our maxi sail boat.
Wet suits drying in the sun after a long day . Sailing Whitsundays. Australia
Wet suits drying in the sun after a long day
Finns, masks and other gear. - everything you need for a good snorkeling session in the Whitsundays.
Finns, masks and other gear. – everything you need for a good snorkeling session in the Whitsundays.
Sunset. Sailing Whitsundays. Australia
Awaiting the perfect…
Sunset. Sailing Whitsundays. Australia
…Sunset
Sunset. Sailing Whitsundays. Australia
And then the show is on…
Sunset. Sailing Whitsundays. Australia
Eventually the sky turns pink…

It’s another night under the stars, sharing laughs and memories of an amazing day exploring the Whitsundays! Tonight, there are games on board, bottles of wine shared with new friends, and more travel stories!

The next day there is more snorkeling, more sailing (you can give it a go yourself if you’d like), and many more hours relaxing in the sun. But it’s not long until the boat docks back at Airlie Beach, leaving you with amazing memories, new friends, and a camera full of wallpaper-like shots!

But don’t just imagine…visit the Whitsundays and experience it all for yourself.

Essential Travel Information

Getting there: There are a number of boat companies serving the Whitsundays offering overnight sailing on maxi yachts, modern catamarans and traditional tallships. Many organize pick ups from Airlie Beach, Bowen, or Proserpine. Check out Sailing Whitsundays, Cruise Whitsundays, Whitsunday Catamarans, and Pro Sail to get started.

Getting around: Getting around the islands on a private boat isn’t easy, so if you want to explore the islands, be sure to join one of the organized sail boats mentioned above. 

Accommodation: Most of the Whitsundays Islands are protected areas and thus lack all accommodation options. However, for those wanting to extend their stay beyond the sailing experience, Hamilton Island and Daydream Island offer resort type of accommodation options. Camping is also possible on some of the islands. To book a campsite, visit the Queensland National Parks site

Have you ever been sailing in the Whitsundays? Did you love it as much as I did?

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Discovering the Whitsundays can be as relaxing or adventurous as you'd like, but there is no better way to explore the beauty of this area than on the boat!

6 thoughts on “Sailing in the Whitsundays”

  1. That sunset, that white sand! You are killing me with these photos (Already over winter, though just hit December). I’ve never been to northern Queensland, but hopefully I’ll make it some day!

  2. Ever since I saw photos of the Whitsundays from above I’ve wanted to visit there. The water just looks so cool with the sandbars showing through! Sailing there seems like it would be equally fun though– even though I’ve never sailed!

    1. You definitely don’t need to know how to sail to enjoy the Whitsundays! The crew on our boat were great at getting us involved in the sailing and trying to teach us the ropes. Some travelers got really into it, while I preferred to soak up the rays and dangle my feet off the side of the boat instead.

  3. Looks like you had a great time sailing in our backyard. Your pictures from hill inlet lookout at the north end of Whitehaven beach are awesome πŸ™‚

  4. hi Oksana, We are off to Australia this August and while planning the trip I came across your website, We are from India and most of us do not know how to swim. SO was not sure if need to travel to this White heaven or should be content with the other lovely beaches. But after reading your views, I am waiting to be there. Thanks so much Oksana . We are in Australia for 10 days trying to cover Melbourne, Sydney and Cairns. Can you help me decide how many days should we keep for each of these places and the ones that we should definitely cover. We are a family of 5 , my husband, daughter ( 19 yrs) and my parents( 79 and 69 yrs old)

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