Sailing Holidays

Sailing Holidays in Whitsundays

With lush green islands protected by the Great Barrier Reef, calm seas and balmy tradewinds, the Whitsundays is a sailor’s paradise.

The Whitsunday Islands are tucked between the tropical coast of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef so the sea stays calm while the balmy tradewinds are perfect for sailing. No wonder the magical Whitsundays are renowned as the finest region in Australia for sailing.

The Whitsunday Islands are part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Most of the 74 islands are uninhabited pristine national parks, but there are over 7 island resorts where visiting yachtsmen are welcomed ashore. Secluded anchorages are seldom more than 1 hour apart. Go snorkelling over dazzling reefs, walk on lonely beaches, hike on bush tracks or go whale watching from July to December.

Nautilus Yachting can package your yacht charter with flights from the UK or add a yacht charter to your existing holiday plans. Why not add a week’s sailing in the Whitsundays to your trip “down under”.

Lying in the tropics, close to 20° South and cooled by the trade winds for most of the year, the Whitsundays have an excellent climate. The waters are protected by the Great Barrier Reef and most islands are surrounded by a fringing reef system. Good anchorages are plentiful and varied.

Seasons tend to be dictated by school holidays rather than weather, so some of the best sailing & boating can be found in the off-peak periods. Summers are warm with frequent rain showers and winters are said by many to be the perfect climate - warm by day and cool by night.

Situated on the same latitude as Tahiti, you can expect sunny tropical weather all year round, with temperatures seldom below 20°C even in the winter months. The South-east trade winds usually blow slightly stronger from March to May at about 20 knots. Lighter E-NE breezes September-December. July is the coolest time, January the warmest. 

Experience level 1.


DAY 1 : Area and boat briefing at Airlie Beach Marina. Lunchtime departure for Nara Inlet (13nm). Explore waterfalls, Aboriginal caves and ancient rock paintings.
DAY 2 : Sail across the Whitsunday Passage to Cid Harbour (8nm) or Gulnare Inlet (14nm). Quiet and peaceful with wonderful wildlife, bush walks and delicious rock oysters. Cid Harbour is a very large harbour and one of the all weather anchorages of the Whitsundays.
DAY 3 : Set sail for spectacular Whitehaven Beach (10nm) and enjoy miles of soft, white silica sand beaches.Whitehaven is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. If Whitehaven is crowded, anchor at Chalkies which also has a magnificent beach.
DAY 4 : Cruise over to Hamilton Island for fresh supplies or to top up water tanks. Experience a change of pace in the busy marina and a choice of restaurants and bars.
DAY 5 : Reach up to Cateran Bay on Border Island for great snorkelling. Border Island is one of the outlying Islands and reef protection buoys have been installed to prevent further damage to the island's excellent fringing reef.
DAY 6 : Short sail to Butterfly Bay on Hook Island. Use the dinghy for more snorkelling or onshore visits. The reef and sand beaches here offer excellent exploring. Watch out for Sting rays when you walk on the sand flats (shuffle your feet).
DAY 7 : Take a leisurely cruise around the Hayman Island area or southwards across the Whitsunday Passage to South Molle Island or Palm Bay to celebrate the last night of a great cruise!
DAY 8 : Return to marina.

Yachts are based at Airlie Beach Marina. Charters can also start or finish at Hamilton Island for a one-way itinerary.

Charters start and finish any day (minimum 5 nights), giving you total flexibility over your holiday dates.

Whitsundays Sailing

Whitsundays Sailing

Book any yacht or catamaran in Whitsundays more than 6 months in advance and get 5% OFF 1 week + extra 5% OFF for 2 weeks.





Free nights in Whitsundays

Free nights in Whitsundays

LOW SEASON 2017: 1-31 May, 1 Nov-23 Dec: Pay for 5 nights, get 2 free, pay for 7 nights, get 3 free!
MID SEASON 2017: 1-30 Apr, 1 Jun-15 Sep or 9-31 Oct: Pay for 6 nights, get 1 free, pay for 8 nights, get 2 free!
HIGH SEASON 2017: 16 Sep-8 Oct, 24 Dec-06 Jan: 5% OFF 7 night charters!

Prices given below. Click on the yacht names to view yacht layout & specification

Yacht charter rates are shown WITHOUT flights giving you the flexibility to book your own flights.

If you want a flight-inclusive holiday Nautilus Yachting is a fully bonded ATOL tour operator and can book flights from the UK to fit your sailing holiday. Choose from a wide choice of airlines - we are not tied to any particular airline. All flight-inclusive holidays are fully bonded for your financial protection under our ATOL 3016. Airport transfers can also be pre-arranged.

British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Qantas have direct flights to Sydney. Jetstar and Virgin Blue operate onward connections to Proserpine. Transfer time to marina 45 minutes.


Whether you are an experienced sailor or setting foot on a yacht for the first time, we can offer you a holiday afloat to suit you. We have given all the sailing areas a level with 'Experience Level 1' suitable for less experienced crews and 'Experience Level 3' for the experts.    

This takes into account the wind strength, tidal range and currents, distances between stops and ease of mooring. Of course even experts may choose to sail in Level 1 areas as they still offer stunning scenery and great sailing.

Experience Level 1: Whitsundays

Generally light winds Force 2-4, line of sight navigation, shorter sailing distances under 20nm. You will be Day Skipper standard having sailed at least 1 week or 100nm as skipper

Experience Level 2: Thailand, Malaysia

Stronger winds up to Force 3-5 with some longer passages up to 30nm. You will be Day Skipper standard having sailed at least 2 weeks or 200nm as skipper

Experience Level 3: Seychelles, Tahiti

Stronger winds up to Force 4-7 which can lead to bigger seas on long passages between the islands. You will be Coastal Skipper standard with experience to a higher level having sailed at least 4 weeks or 400nm as skipper.

To charter a yacht bareboat or on flotilla you should be Day Skipper standard and be assisted by at least one competent crew.

At present you need an RYA Day Skipper qualification or RYA International Certificate of Competence (ICC) for charters in Croatia, Mallorca, Tenerife and Malta.

The RYA ICC will be ever more required by overseas port authorities but if you have skipper experience it is easily obtained in a day from RYA sailing schools in the UK such as Hamilton Sailing or Brixham Sea School 


Whitehaven Beach is a definite "must-see" in the Whitsundays. The crystal clear aqua waters and pristine silica sand of Whitehaven stretch over seven kilometres along Whitsunday Island. As soon as you arrive it’s easy to see why it is the most photographed beach in Australia and has been named "Queensland's Most Beautiful Beach". At the northern end of Whitehaven Beach is Hill Inlet, a stunning cove where the tide shifts the sand and water to create a beautiful fusion of colours.

 If diving is your passion, then this is your paradise. Home to tens of thousands of species of brilliantly coloured fish, coral and other marine life including whales, dolphins and turtles enjoy the diversity of your underwater playground. If snorkelling is more your style, then the warm shallow waters of the Whitsundays provide some of the most colourful fish and coral formations anywhere in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Hayman Island is the northern most of the Whitsunday island resorts, the epitome of tropical paradise. Boasting one of The Leading Hotels of the World, Hayman is Australia’s most awarded private island destination. The excellent snorkelling off the island’s northern beach, Blue Pearl Bay, makes it a popular spot for yachts to anchor.

"Service from Nautilus Yachting was very satisfactory. Excellent on all counts."
Antigua 2014 - T.C.


Phone 01732 867445 or


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