Sailing holidays in Australia

Sailing holidays in Australia

The Ultimate Guide to Yachting in Australia

A complete yacht charter guide that has everything you need to know about your next sailing holidays in Australia.

Want to know more? Keep reading…

If you are familiar with the "the Land Down Under" and want to look at boat options for your next yacht charter, then skip to: 

Ready to set sail from Australia? Request a tailor-made quote for free

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Sailing a glance

Sailing heaven on earth is the only way to describe the Whitsunday Islands. Made up of 74 islands, mostly uninhabited, here you can discover total tranquility.

Hamilton Island is perhaps the most commercialized of all the Whitsundays and its ever-developing marina is a major draw for sailing enthusiasts.

The beaches you’ll find on your yacht charter Australia are some of the most spectacular in the world, particularly Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island.

Nara Inlet is very popular for a trip to the small cave displaying Aboriginal paintings on the roof and the more recent graffiti additions close by!

Cast off from South Molle and chart a course for Airlie Beach on the mainland, a lively little town with a charming little beach. 

Sheltered by the magnificent Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays offer smooth seas for spectacular sailing all year round.

Best time to sail in Australia & weather conditions

The best time for yachting in Australia is year-round!

Because the Whitsunday Islands are located between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer, you can enjoy a subtropical climate comparable to that of Honolulu or Mauritius. The average temperature on Whitsundays is 27.5°C all year.

In the winter months, June through August, the temperatures drop to around 24°C to 25°C.

In the summer, January through March, temperatures range from 27°C to 32°C. 

While the temperatures remain fairly constant, there is a rainy season to take note of. From January to March, you can expect high temperatures, but with short periods of rain.

However, don’t let this deter you, as these bursts of rain are usually quick and will not mess with your sailing holiday! 

Where to start your Australia sailing trip from & how to get there

To begin your sailing holidays in Australia, Yacht4Less recommends flying into Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney, or Melbourne, and taking a domestic transfer to one of the regional airports.

Once you are in Australia, you can fly regionally into the Great Barrier Reef Airport, Whitsunday Coast Airport, Shute Harbour, or Lindeman Island. 

For the quickest way to the Whitsundays, it is best to get a connecting flight to the Whitsunday Coast Airport in Proserpine.

This airport is well serviced, with daily direct services from most major Australian cities with Jetstar and Virgin Australia. From there you can have a short drive to Shute Harbor, or take the bus. 

Transfer time from Whitsunday Coast Airport to base: 45 minutes

Alternatively, from the more major airports in Australia, you could take the train or bus to the Whitsunday Islands.

Greyhound and Premier Motor Service run from Brisbane and Cairns to Airlie Beach daily. For train travel, it is recommended to take the Spirit of Queensland train from Brisbane, which operates 5 times a week.

Australia Boating Holiday Tips

For your yacht charter Australia, AU$ is the official currency of Australia and you can, of course, use Credit/Debit cards almost everywhere.

Mooring during your sailing holidays Australia will be very easy.

The Whitsunday Islands have 100+ public moorings and 90 reef protection markers for use by recreational boat users, bareboat charterers and the tourism industry operators.

To protect the Great Barrier Reef from the damage caused by vessels’ anchors, the government established many public moorings at popular locations.

You can research your moorings before your trip at the Moorings Register. 

If you’re looking for more full-service marinas with all the amenities, Yacht4Less recommends Hamilton Island Marina, Palm Bay Resort, or the Mackay Marina Village.

For some Whitsundays sailing tips, be aware of the 3-4 meter tides which can cause currents through the passages between islands.

This can create bumpy sailing at times and might influence your movements. Also, be sure to account for the large difference in water height, when anchoring.

Navigation will be easy, as there are many landmarks by which you can find your way. 

As many come to the Whitsunday Islands looking to snorkel amongst the flora and fauna of the Great Barrier reef, it is important to read up on the rules and regulations in place to protect marine life. 

Recommended 7-day Sailing Itinerary from Shute Harbour

⚓ Day 1. Shute Harbour / Whitsundays - Nara Inlet (Hook Island) 12NM

⚓ Day 2. Nara Inlet - Stonehaven Bay (Hook Island) 12NM

⚓ Day 3. Stonehaven Bay - Butterfly Bay (Hook Island) 7NM

⚓ Day 4. Butterfly Bay - Tongue Bay (Whitsunday Island) 16NM

⚓ Day 5. Tongue Bay - Whitehaven Beach (Whitsunday Island) 17NM

⚓ Day 6. Whitehaven Beach - Cid Harbour (Whitsunday Island) 13NM

⚓ Day  7. Cid Harbour - Shute Harbour 9NM

Recommended  10-day Sailing Itinerary from Airlie Beach

⚓ Day 1. Airlie Beach to Cid Harbour 14.5NM

⚓ Day 2. Cid Harbour to Whitehaven Beach 12NM

⚓ Day 3. Whitehaven Beach to Cateran Bay 8.5NM

⚓ Day 4. Cateran Bay to Nara Inlet 10.5NM

⚓ Day 5. Nara Inlet to Daydream Island 11NM

⚓ Day 6. Daydream Island to Stonehaven 11NM

⚓ Day  7. Stonehaven to Butterfly Bay 4NM

⚓ Day 8. Butterfly Bay to Blue Pearl Bay 6NM

⚓ Day 9. Blue Pearl Bay to Macona Inlet 11NM

⚓ Day  10. Macona Inlet to Airlie Beach 20NM

Prices: How much does it cost to charter a yacht in Australia?

It depends. For example, the most important ones are the type of boat you will choose and whether you require a professional crew on board (e.g. skipper, hostess or cook). So, as you can see, there are many factors that can shape a price for a boat rental.

Check our full guide about yacht charter cost and how you can save much money in your next sailing holidays.

Sailing destinations nearby

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Sailing holidays in New Caledonia

Sailing holidays in Malaysia



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