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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”.

Whitsundays Yacht Charter

  • Overview

    Whitehaven Beach


    Hamilton Island

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    South Molle Island

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    Airlie Beach

    Sailing holidays in the Whitsundays

    • Flights to Prosperine via Sydney
    • Witness the breathtaking white sands of Whitehaven Beach
    • Dive or snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef
    • Explore the tropical paradise of Hayman Island
    • Great for families, groups and couples alike
    • Average distances of 13nm
    • Level 1 sailing
    • Temperatures rarely dip below 20 degrees-warmest weather Nov-Feb
    • Average winds force 2-4
    • A mixture of anchorages and marinas in this area
    • Flexible start and finish dates possible
  • 1 Wk Itinerary

    Suggested 1 week sailing itinerary in the Whitsundays

    DAY 1 : Nara Inlet (13nm)

    Area and boat briefing at Airlie Beach Marina. Lunchtime departure for Nara Inlet where you can explore waterfalls, Aboriginal caves and ancient rock paintings.

    DAY 2 : Cid Harbour (8nm)

    Sail across the Whitsunday Passage to Cid Harbour 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 : Whitehaven Beach (10nm)

    Set sail for spectacular Whitehaven Beach 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 : Hamilton Island

    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 : Border Island

    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 : Hook Island

    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 : South Molle Island

    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 : Airlie Beach

    Whitsundays 1 week sailing holiday itinerary

  • Sailing Conditions

    Sailing conditions in the Whitsundays

    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.

    We have rated this destination a 'Level 1' (levels info)

  • Getting There

    Getting There

    Getting to the Whitsundays

    Bonded for your financial protection under ATOL 3016British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Qantas have direct flights to Sydney. Jetstar and Virgin Blue operate onward connections to Proserpine.

    Yacht charter rates are shown WITHOUT flights giving you the flexibility to book your own flights. If you would prefer a flight-inclusive holiday then 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.


    We can arrange transfers for you with the base in Airlie Beach. Transfers take approximately 45 minutes. Please ask a member of staff for pricing.

"Our two weeks in the BVIs lived up to expectations and beyond, the wind was consistently 13-18 kts with the odd period in the 20s but the icing on the cake for all of us was the snorkelling which was diverse and absorbing with rays, turtles, squid and an array of fish to mesmerise. Thank you to your team for putting it all together for us."

BVI 2015 - J.W.

Whitsundays Yacht Charter prices

Yachts from Airlie Beach Marina Prices shown are in GB£ per yacht for 1 week

Yacht details 1-31 May
1 Nov-23 Dec
7 Jan-31 Mar
1-30 Apr
1 Jun-21 Sep
15-31 Oct
22 Sep-14 Oct
24 Dec-6 Jan
Model / layout Year Cabins WC


Yachts from Airlie Beach Marina Prices shown are in GB£ per yacht for 1 week

Yacht details 1-31 May
1 Nov-23 Dec
7 Jan-31 Mar
1-30 Apr
1 Jun-21 Sep
15-31 Oct
22 Sep-14 Oct
24 Dec-6 Jan
Model / layout Year Cabins WC


Yachts from Airlie Beach Marina Prices shown are in GB£ per yacht for 1 week

Yacht details 1-31 May
1 Nov-23 Dec
7 Jan-31 Mar
1-30 Apr
1 Jun-21 Sep
15-31 Oct
22 Sep-14 Oct
24 Dec-6 Jan
Model / layout Year Cabins WC


Yachts from Airlie Beach Marina Prices shown are in GB£ per yacht for 1 week

Yacht details 1-31 May
1 Nov-23 Dec
7 Jan-31 Mar
1-30 Apr
1 Jun-21 Sep
15-31 Oct
22 Sep-14 Oct
24 Dec-6 Jan
Model / layout Year Cabins WC


FREE end cleaning, dinghy with outboard, bedlinen & towels, snorkel gear.

Extras payable:

Damage waiver £143-315 + refundable deposit £315-1147
Base handling fee £26/charter
Charge for outboard fuel & gas £25/week
Great Barrier Reef Environmental and admin charge £17/person and per charter
Optional extras (i.e Outboard, SUP's etc) available on request.
SKIPPER: GBP1,480/week + food and drink + own cabin

Sailing Qualifications

To skipper a bareboat charter or flotilla yacht, you need to hold a practical sailing certificate equivalent to RYA Day Skipper Practical qualification or RYA International Certificate of Competence (ICC). You must also be assisted by at least one competent crew member over the age of 18.

For charters in Croatia, Malta and the Canaries, at least one member of the crew or the skipper will also need a VHF licence.

RYA qualifications can be obtained by RYA sailing schools in the UK or alternatively choose from one of our overseas centres in Gibraltar, Greece or Turkey.

For Caribbean and Tropical charters, formal qualifications are not compulsory, however, you should be Day Skipper standard and be assisted by at least one competent crew. A brief sailing resume should be provided to outline your experience.

If you don't hold the relevant qualifications then why not add a skipper?

Sailing Levels

Level 1

Winds force 2-3 (4-11 Knots)combined with generally shorter distances. Good for beginner or intermediate sailors. Line-of-sight navigation but basic knowledge of charts and ability to plot your position required.

Level 2

Winds force 3-5 (7-21 Knots) with approximately 15-20nm per day. Intermediate experience required. Predominately line of sight navigation but an understanding of how to sail in open water.

Level 3

Winds force 4-6 (11-27 Knots) with mileage of approximately 20nm+ per day. Ideal for experienced skippers looking to venture out to new destinations. Day skipper standard but with experienced crew would be recommended.