3 days aboard a private yacht in the Whitsundays, Australia
Earlier this year in February 2014, we hired a private yacht to sail around one of Australia’s most stunning islands, the Whitsundays. The Whitsundays are off the coast of Queensland, and is home to Hayman and Hamilton islands and the stunning paradise that is known as Whitehaven Beach.
|Airlie Beach Lagoon
|Mantra Boathouse Apartments
|Pacific Blitz Bavaria
|Blue Pearl Bay
|Pacific Blitz Bavaria
|Nara Inlet Dugong Beach
|Waterfront Whitsunday Retreat
cost 2700 AUD
We booked the yacht through a daily deals website which featured the Pacific Blitz Bavaria charter, including our skipper and hostess for the 3 days and 2 nights.
Day 1 Sailing
We were picked up around 08:00 from our hotel accommodation and taken to Shute Harbour which was about 15 minutes away. We were introduced to our captain and hostess who gave us a safety briefing, a tour around the yacht, and explained the rules of using bathrooms, water consumption, and what happens if someone goes overboard. Eek! Our hostess had also prepared a fruit platter, cheese, cornichons, cold meats and crackers for us to nibble on before we set off.
Spotting Nemo in Blue Pearl Bay, Hayman Island
Our first day saw us journey towards Blue Pearl bay, Hayman island which is a popular spot for snorkelling because of its colourful sea life. We anchored about 200 metres off the pebbled shore, and were all given stinger suits, snorkels and flippers. It was high season for the deadly box jellyfish so I was happy to don my ninja like suit. We jumped into the warm turquiose waters, and swam closer to shore to be greeted by the abundant sea life swimming around the coral carpet.
We snorkelled here for about an hour and made our way back to the yacht in time for dinner.
Our first dinner onboard was a delicious rice and coconut curry beef with bananas prepared by our hostess. Some of the group who hadn’t got their sea legs yet, opted to eat only the rice – which meant more delicious curry for
me the rest of the group!
After dinner, our captain asked us if we had a specific journey planned out. We hadn’t, but all agreed that the iconic Whitehaven beach would be a must do, and that we were happy to take the captains lead on other places to see.
Day 2 Sailing
The beds in our cabins were very comfortable, however our first night on board was restless – the sound of the buoy crashing against the boat and the loud howling winds kept us all awake. We awoke the next morning, thankful the captain had brought in plenty of coffee to wake us up from our groggy zombie like state. A hearty breakfast of eggs and sausages on toast cooked by our awesome hostess, and a morning visit from some fish gathering around the boat quickly made us forget our sleepless night.
Morning visitors at Blue Pearl bay, Hayman Island
Forget the world at Nara Inlet, Hook Island
After a very satisfying breakfast, we were all very relaxed. iphone hooked up to the yacht speakers and Peronis in hand, we sailed towards Nara inlet to Bob Marleys greatest hits.
We were one of only two yachts in Nara inlet so it felt quite secluded. The boys took the motor boat out to the island to explore the caves on shore which had some Aboriginal rock art from the Ngaro people, while the girls alternated between swimming and working on our tans on deck. I didn’t swim much – after our captain told us he had sighted some sharks here, he only amplified my trepidation of being shark supper. Even after I found out he was joking about the hammerheads – he nailed it, ha! – I didn’t dare look into the deep waters and stayed near the safety of the boat. We spent a good 2 hours here and then made our way off again.
Trek through a tropical island
We left Hook island and sailed off towards Whitsunday island, anchoring at Cid Harbour. Our captain took us in 2 groups in the motor boat to Dugong Beach. From Dugong Beach, we walked along Sawmill Beach track through lush green tropical rainforest. Its an easy 1.5 km walk and at the end of the track, we were rewarded with a sunset.
Spoiled with beautiful sunsets at the whitsundays
We didn’t see any dugongs at Dugong Beach, but got to witness a spectacular sunset
Day 3 Sailing
Marvel at the white sands of Whitehaven Beach
We saved the best for last so spent our final day at the iconic Whitehaven Beach. We attempted to sail north of Whitsunday island from the west side, however the waters were too choppy and we were being thrashed around the boat so sailed south instead between Whitsunday and Hamilton islands instead. We weren’t able to sail all the way to Whitehaven, so we were dropped off at an adjacent beach and trekked another 1-2 km.
We were greeted by a stunning view of the whitest, softest sand I had ever seen and crystal clear waters. There were also a number of seaplanes landing and taking off which was such an awesome sight to see.
Unfortunately, our camera broke after taking a few shots so weren’t able to capture the beauty of it all. After spending a good 2-3 hours at Whitehaven, we sailed back to Shute Harbour where our transfer was waiting for us.
Sad that our trip had come to an end, we were at the same time thankful to be back on stable ground.