Bays, reefs and wildlife

Visit one of the world’s most beautiful, unspoilt destinations on a sailing holiday around Australia’s Whitsunday Islands. Charter your own yacht and explore a world of bright white beaches and clear blue skies, deserted anchorages and vibrant coral reefs.

You’ll discover 9,000-year-old island heritage, dive and snorkel with graceful turtles, rays and giant wrasse, and relax on three-mile stretches of clean, quiet beach. Explore your own desert island paradise on a Whitsundays bareboat charter holiday.

Whitsundays itinerery

8
Days

Highlights

  • Big game fishing
  • Long Island koalas
  • Snorkelling Hayman Island
  • Manatee and turtle spotting
  • Hill Inlet Lookout photography
  • Relaxing on Whitehaven Beach
Day 1

Shute Harbour to Nara Inlet, Hook Island

The day's sailing

2.5 hr
Sailing time

To be used as a guide only. Based on suggested sailing lanes and average wind speed for area.

Suggested activities

  • Bushwalk Bush walks
  • Fishing
  • Snorkelling Snorkelling
  • Swimming Swimming
  • Exploring Exploring

From our base on sunny Shute Harbour, sail north past the many coves and inlets of Whitsunday Island into the Coral Sea. Beyond Whitsunday Island you'll find green and peaceful Hook Island and the sheltered anchorage of Nara Inlet. Hook Island was formerly the home of the indigenous Ngaro people, and on shore you can see magnificent cave art created by these ancient island dwellers. Cast a line into the peaceful waters of Nara Inlet to catch coral trout, spangled emperor and other game fish species. To see the island’s reefs and tropical fish species up close, strap on your fins and snorkel the warm, clear waters of Nara Inlet.

Discover Nara Inlet

Nara's falls

Visit during the rainy season to see spectacular cascades and waterfalls dormant for the rest of the year.

Suggested lunch spots

Moor off the beach at Cid Island and enjoy a relaxed lunch break in a tropical island paradise.

Day 2

Nara Inlet to Stonehaven Bay, Hook Island

The day's sailing

2.5 hr
Sailing time

To be used as a guide only. Based on suggested sailing lanes and average wind speed for area.

Suggested activities

  • Bushwalk Bush walks
  • Fishing
  • Snorkelling Snorkelling
  • Swimming Swimming
  • Exploring Exploring

Cruise out of Nara Inlet with its towering hills and crystalline waters, banking first west and then north as you make for the northwestern shores of Hook Island. Sail the length of this large, green island haven, pausing for lunch on the sandy peninsula of little Langford Island. You’ll spend the evening overnighting in Stonehaven Bay, where a monstrous tadpole-like sea serpent was ostensibly photographed in the 1960s. You’ll be perfectly safe in this sheltered bay, however, where the only creatures are the beautiful tropical fish you’ll encounter while snorkelling.

Discover Stonehaven Bay

Spectacular sunsets

Stonehaven’s westerly aspect means it offers some of the best sunsets in the Whitsunday Islands, so keep your camera at the ready.

Suggested lunch spots

Langford Island is a tiny islet off the east coast of Hook Island, but a long, snaking tendril of sand makes this the perfect spot for a relaxed lunch in the sun.

Day 3

Stonehaven Bay to Butterfly Bay, Hook Island

The day's sailing

1 hr
Sailing time

To be used as a guide only. Based on suggested sailing lanes and average wind speed for area.

Suggested activities

  • Bushwalk Bush walks
  • Fishing
  • Snorkelling Snorkelling
  • Swimming Swimming
  • Exploring Exploring

Butterfly Bay is on the northern coast of Hook Island, so continue north along the coast until the shoreline runs out. Bank around the headland and Butterfly Bay opens up before you. This picturesque anchorage is aptly named, with colourful butterflies flitting gracefully along the shore. Butterfly Bay harbours stunning wildlife beneath the surface, too, with majestic manta rays and giant Maori wrasse frequent visitors to the bay.

Discover Butterfly Bay

Suggested lunch spots

Detour via lovely Hayman Island to lunch at Blue Pearl Bay. Hayman Island has some of the best diving and snorkelling in the Whitsundays, so be sure to dip a toe in the water during your stop.

Blue Butterflies

Colonies of blue butterflies live at Butterfly Bay year round. Hike along Hook Island’s creek beds to see these beautiful insects fluttering in the shade of the trees.

Day 4

Butterfly Bay to Tongue Bay, Whitsunday Island

The day's sailing

3 hr
Sailing time

To be used as a guide only. Based on suggested sailing lanes and average wind speed for area.

Suggested activities

  • Bushwalk Bush walks
  • Fishing
  • Snorkelling Snorkelling
  • Swimming Swimming
  • Exploring Exploring

Enjoy a long spell out on the Coral Sea as you journey from Hook Island to Whitsunday Island. Whitsunday Island is the largest in the chain, so you’ll enjoy easy line-of-sight sailing along Hook Island’s coast, past Dumbell Reef and towards narrow Tongue Bay. Tongue Bay and Hill Inlet have some of the finest scenery in the Whitsundays, and have featured in a number of Hollywood films. Turtles can often be spied here, as can neon blue lagoon rays.

Discover Tongue Bay

Hook Inlet Lookout

The view from Hill Inlet Lookout is one of the most photographed in all Australia, so get your camera out and start snapping.

Suggested lunch spots

Set your sights for Border Island and take a break on its sandy shores. There’s a fantastic reef here for snorkelling, and the views from Mosstrooper Peak aren’t to be missed.

Day 5

Tongue Bay to Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island

The day's sailing

3 hr
Sailing time

To be used as a guide only. Based on suggested sailing lanes and average wind speed for area.

Suggested activities

  • Bushwalk Bush walks
  • Fishing
  • Snorkelling Snorkelling
  • Swimming Swimming
  • Exploring Exploring

It’s a short journey from Tongue Bay to the wonderful Whitehaven Beach. Sail north out of the bay before turning to the southeast, where you’ll see the shimmering crescent of Whitehaven Beach awaiting your arrival. Almost certainly one of the world’s finest beaches, Whitehaven Beach is scrupulously clean and more than three miles long. Better still, the white silica sand reflects heat, meaning it’s comfortable to walk on barefoot. Make the most of relaxing on this peaceful stretch of bright white sand, or snorkel and kayak the clear, warm waters.

Discover Whitehaven Beach

Hill Inlet

Head to the north of the beach to find Hill Inlet, where the mesmerising swirl of sand and tide creates beautiful, photogenic patterns.

Day 6

Whitehaven Beach to Cid Harbour, Whitsunday Island

The day's sailing

2.5 hr
Sailing time

To be used as a guide only. Based on suggested sailing lanes and average wind speed for area.

Suggested activities

  • Bushwalk Bush walks
  • Fishing
  • Snorkelling Snorkelling
  • Swimming Swimming
  • Exploring Exploring

You’re headed for the western shore of Whitsunday Island today, and the sheltered natural anchorage of Cid Harbour. Sail past Haselwood and Teague islands, pointing your bow to the west along Whitsunday Island Reef. Cid Harbour is a natural harbour formed by Cid Island and Whitsunday Island, used by the Australian navy during the Battle of the Coral Sea. This spectacular harbour is a wildlife haven, and if you’re lucky you might even see dugongs cruising through the shallow, clear waters.

Discover Cid Harbour

Whitsunday Peak

Hike through the bush to the summit of Whitsunday Peak for spectacular views of the Whitsunday Islands.

Suggested lunch spots

Towards the northern end of Cid Harbour, beautiful Sawmill Beach is the perfect spot to enjoy a peaceful picnic, scanning the sea for dugongs and other island wildlife.

Day 7

Cid Harbour to Long Island

The day's sailing

1.5 hr
Sailing time

To be used as a guide only. Based on suggested sailing lanes and average wind speed for area.

Suggested activities

  • Bushwalk Bush walks
  • Fishing
  • Snorkelling Snorkelling
  • Swimming Swimming
  • Exploring Exploring

Head south and leave the mouth of Cid Harbour, sailing out into the Coral Sea for a short spell of blue water sailing. Aim for the narrow green shape of Long Island, part of the Molle Islands National Park. Long Island is home to a huge number of plant and animal species, including the koala—one of few places in the Whitsundays you can see these adorable creatures. Enjoy hiking or cycling the many trails of long island, keeping your eyes peeled for its unique wildlife.

Day 8

Long Island to Shute Harbour

The day's sailing

1 hr
Sailing time

To be used as a guide only. Based on suggested sailing lanes and average wind speed for area.

Suggested activities

  • Bushwalk Bush walks
  • Fishing
  • Snorkelling Snorkelling
  • Swimming Swimming
  • Exploring Exploring

Take the short journey from Long Island back to our base in Shute Harbour. Make the most of your last day, leaving early to enjoy the water sports and onshore activities available or take your time exploring the Whitsundays on your return journey.