How to see Australia by superyacht

31 August 2020

Offering luxury, freedom and a totally customised experience, chartering a superyacht is possibly the ultimate way to discover Australia.

If there’s one thing better than visiting amazing places, it’s visiting amazing places in luxury. On a yacht – on which every meal and activity has been customised to your exact needs.

If that yacht is cruising around Australia, you will have access to some of the world’s most pristine waters, stunning natural environments and unforgettable onshore experiences, as well as impeccable service and world-class food and wine.

Welcome to the world of Australian superyacht charter.

First things first

A superyacht is a luxury yacht that’s more than 24 metres in length. It’s professionally crewed, with a high crew-to-guest ratio and superb facilities and service.  Chartering a superyacht is like floating in your own luxury, boutique hotel with outstanding accommodation, service and food – but it’s also so much more than that.

“It’s quite different to other luxury travel in that in terms of quality of stay and service it’s akin to a world class hotel, but it also offers a completely customised experience,” says Joachim Howard, Managing Director of the luxury yacht agency, Ocean Alliance.

Everything from the itinerary to the wine list will be just how you want it.

Customised just for you

When you charter a superyacht, your route, and onshore and offshore experiences and activities, are all set in pre-charter planning with your agent or charter broker (although you can change things mid-voyage as well).

“Some guests wish to enjoy the privacy of the yacht in a secluded anchorage while others want us to curate a jam-packed itinerary including land-based experiences,” Howard says.

On-board dining is customised too. Discovering Australia’s remarkable food and wine is a huge part of the superyacht experience, with talented, innovative chefs using the finest, freshest produce to create incredible culinary events. Dinner is not just dinner; it’s a premium, exclusive dining experience, at which the menu has been designed just for you.

Whether you want fresh oysters and lobster, marbled wagyu beef, vegan haute cuisine, a degustation inspired by Australian bushfood flavours, or a simple beach picnic with fresh ingredients and a beautiful bottle of Tasmanian sparkling wine, just about anything is possible.

“We always receive incredible feedback in terms of the chefs and the freshness and variety of local Australian produce,” Howard says.

Even the crew can be matched to you and your needs. While some crews are outgoing, others are more formal. Some might be sports and activity specialists, while others are great with families. But they all have one thing in common: they offer a warm welcome and impeccable, intuitive, personalised service.

Welcome to the spectacular

Australia is a vast, extraordinary nation, and home to some of the world’s most spectacular sailing locations – from the protected waters of Sydney’s iconic harbour and the serene beauty of Queensland’s Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef to the dramatic gorges and waterfalls of Western Australia’s Kimberley coast.
“We’ve got an incredible diversity of cruising options,” Howard says.

There’s not just an abundance of stunning natural landscapes – there is also an endless variety of inspiring experiences to soak up if you want to venture off your luxury yacht.

Thanks to private anchorages you’ll often have exclusive access to secluded places and unique experiences, all while travelling at your own pace and enjoying complete privacy on board.

Australian superyacht charters are also very flexible. You can hire a vessel for as little as a couple of hours or a day – perfect for exploring the beauty of Sydney Harbour, for example – or for longer periods, such as a week.

And you can charter a superyacht in Australia at any time of year.

To do, or not to do

It may be that you just want to enjoy every minute of your holiday on your luxury superyacht, looking out for dolphins and whales and soaking up the sunsets, cocktail in hand. Perhaps you want to scuba dive every day, or spearfish with the help of an on-board guide.

But if you want to get off your yacht and explore everything that Australia has to offer, you won’t be short of options. In Sydney, that might mean jumping on a seaplane and flying to an iconic waterfront restaurant.

On the Kimberley coast, you might head ashore for an Aboriginal cultural immersion, where you’ll discover rock art that’s tens of thousands of years old. Or, in the Whitsundays, you could board a helicopter and be whisked off for a romantic daytrip to a remote island beach.

Australia also happens to host some spectacular events, and you can charter a superyacht to coincide with them. New Year’s Eve in Sydney? The Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne? Anything’s possible.

The bottom line

Australia has a diverse range of superyachts available for charter, ranging from 24 to 56 meters (78 to 184 feet) in length, and accommodating up to 100 guests for events and sleeping a maximum of 12 guests in luxuriously appointed cabins.

It will cost you between $AU50,000 and $AU400,000 to charter a superyacht for a week, plus a Goods and Services Tax (GST) payment of 10 per cent.

You’ll also need to pay an Advanced Provisioning Allowance (APA), usually set at 25 to 30 per cent of the charter fee (this is not subject to GST).  This enables the crew to adequately provision the vessel in accordance with the preferences and requirements you have communicated to your charter broker.  It also allows the yacht to react swiftly to the client’s changing requirements during the trip.

The APA is used for food and drinks, and to pay for port and communication fees, fuel, onshore transport and extras such as dive instructors and helicopters.   The funds are managed by the Captain on behalf of the client and any surplus is returned accordingly.

For short charters, expect to pay between $AU800 and $AU5,500 an hour (with a minimum hire of three to four hours), plus catering and staff.

Where to find your superyacht

It’s recommended that you (or your agent) charter a superyacht through an experienced and charter broker. The charter broker will work with you to find a superyacht that’s perfectly suited for your needs and customise your itinerary so that’s it’s exactly what you want.

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