by Ocean Alliance.
The Whitsundays are located on the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef National Park, in Queensland, Australia. Named by Captain Cook, the group of 74 islands were discovered in 1700 on the second Sunday of Easter. Nowadays, only 8 of them are inhabited with resorts and the Whitsundays represent the largest group of offshore islands in Australia.
With an array of activities offered in absolutely unique surroundings, the area offers some of the best cruising experiences. Commercial and private flights directly into the Whitsundays allow guests to be immersed in the contrasting white and turquoise colour pallet even before boarding a superyacht.
Thanks to the close proximity of all islands, voyages take guests clockwise or anti-clockwise around the Whitsundays.
Our sample itinerary is designed to be fluid and can be changed according to your wishes throughout the charter.
DAY ONE: Hamilton Island
Guests can fly in to the small airport located on Hamilton Island, transferred from Brisbane (1.5hour), Sydney or Melbourne international airports or directly with a private jet charter. Abell Point Marina is another great boarding location, located within 40km of Proserpine.
Board in Hamilton Island Marina after your Crew welcomes you with the traditional island buggy or air-conditioned vehicle. Hamilton Island is the largest inhabited island of the Whitsundays, although it only measures 5km2. While the guests settle down and take in their relaxing surroundings, a lunch or dinner at the stunning Yacht Club is a great start to the holidays, followed by a short walk around the island.
We could also cruise around to Perseverance Reef or Dent Island for the first swim and snorkel in the heavenly water.
DAY TWO: Neck Bay
Located in the Lindeman Group, Neck Bay is a Captain’s favourite and likely your first secluded experience of the Whitsundays.
Fantastic snorkelling is renowned along the coast, tucked between Shaw and Lindeman Island.
What could you see?
The Whitsunday is home to 1,500 species of fish, 360 species of hard coral, one third of the world’s soft corals, 7,000 species of molluscs, 500 species of marine algae, 600 species of echinoderm (eg. Starfish), 22 species of sea birds, 13,000 dugong, 6 species of marine turtles (all listed as threatened), 30 species of cetaceans (eg. whales and dolphins).
When you step out of the warm water, take a walk across the bay and the “neck” from west to east, sprawl on a secluded beach covered by unusual polished shells and coral varieties. We will be spending the night at anchor sheltered in Neck Bay.
DAY THREE: The Narrows and Cid Island
Waking up to admire a tropical sunrise, we will make our way West towards Long Island.
Continue onto Cid Island, where kayaking through the mangrove is a popular activity in the afternoon. Katoomba Bank, on the North of the island sets scene for some jaw-dropping sunsets, before we drop anchor in front of Hill Rock Reef or Cid Harbour for a quiet evening and overnight.
DAY FOUR: Whitsunday and Hook Island
Start your day with a fitness kick, walking up the trail to the Whitsunday Peak. The hike is approximately 1.5 hour to the peak before soaking in the spectacular views over Cid Harbour.
Heading back on board, watersports enthusiasts can enjoy an afternoon of fun along the west coast of Whitsunday Island where jetskis and other personal watercrafts are authorised.
We then cruise onto Hook Island for our next overnight shelter. Separated from Whitsunday Island by a narrow, deep passage, Hook Island combines a “wilderness” styled resort with soul-refreshing forest walks, pure blue waters and white silica beaches. The Aboriginal rock art at Nara Inlet, created by the original Ngaro people, is superb. Nara Inlet also features a stunning 30minute walk leading to breathtaking views.
DAY FIVE: Hayman Island to the Outer Reef
Get ready for an out-of-this-world experience today!
We depart Hook Island towards Langford Island or Blue Pearl Bay on Hayman Island. The western area of Langford Island reveals a sandbank which appears at low tide, and is a great spot for a beach barbecue. Blue Pearl Bay on the other hand will offer some of the best swimming and snorkelling surrounded by rich coral life.
After lunch, we head back towards Hook Island to explore the Northern tip: Butterfly Bay’s underwater world is covered in coral outcrops and rubble with shallow walls, and populated by many small colourful reef fish species.
Depending on the general feeling on board, the option is to make our way towards the Outer Reef for our first night in the wide open ocean. Rendezvous diving is organised for the next morning, or your dive guide will be recounting his reef stories over dinner that night. 30nm (approximately 3 hours) will take us to Hardy Reef for our overnight, where we will safely anchor.
DAY SIX: Hardy Reef and Hook Reef
These are pretty unusual views to have breakfast around!
Time to go diving and discover what the Australian outer reef is all about. There is spectacular fish life with Trevally, Coral Trout, Snapper and a host of smaller marine life as well as Giant Maori Wrasse and a two metre long Giant Queensland Groper that usually congregate for a free feed. Snorkelling is excellent, as is diving off nearby drop-offs where you’ll find turtles, reef sharks and barracuda amongst a myriad of other intriguing reef species.
If air is more your element, take off on a helicopter tour which will reveal the world-famous and most photographed Heart Reef.
Experience the vertical waterfalls with our tenders, which appear when the tide lowers by 2 to 3 meters.
Our second night on the reef should allow for a fun themed dinner organised by the crew on board, for you to rewind the day and maybe watch a slideshow of all the wonderful photos. If some of the guests are lucky, trawling on the way from Hook Reef resulted in freshly cooked fish!
DAY SEVEN: Dumbell Island and Whitehaven Beach
It is time to make our way back to civilisation. We will first hit Dumbell Island, populated by a wide diversity of birds including sea eagles who can be fed off the aft deck.
6nm South appears the first signs that the world famous Whitehaven is approaching. Before reaching this unique and south-after sight, take a hike up Hill Inlet and indulge in the astonishing views: the inlet below you is a striking mix of aqua and white swirls as the island’s famed sands shift through the waters, creating beautiful patterns. Your yacht will anchor, and let you experience the silica sand with its tenders. The fine sand particles are great for polishing jewellery! We cruise to Hamilton Island just around the corner.
Plan your experience on board the following superyachts in The Whitsundays: