There’s no limit to the wonder of the Whitsundays! Lying in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, in the warm waters of Australia’s Coral Sea are 74 tropical islands. It’s a true Queensland paradise where you can expect the unexpected and feel the freedom to make it your own experience. Be the master of your own destiny; charter a yacht and skipper yourself, or take a cruise and let someone else do the sailing for you — either way, let the grandeur of the landscape and the endless horizon dotted with islands wash over you.
If you charter a boat, you can start from the Abel Point Marina near Airlie Beach or from the Hamilton Island. The Whitsunday Islands have enough anchorages to keep you busy for months of happy cruising! Some places to visit:
— Hook Island
— Langford Island
— Hamilton Island
Hook Island is a rugged island, mostly national park, with breathtaking lookouts and excellent snorkelling and scuba diving. The diversity of coral in the fringing reefs on the northern shores offers excellent opportunities for snorkelling and diving. A visit to the historical observatory is a must-do, descending nine metres below sea level to view coral and marine life. Several Aboriginal cave shelters can be found on Hook Island by following the island walking tracks. For the night stop we recommend Stonehaven — anchorage in sheltered waters on the north-western shores of Hook Island.
This island is a long and mostly sand. The beach at Langford Island mostly disappears at high tide but is ready to receive visitors any time other than within 2 hours of low tide. Langford is a fun daytime stop for a beach and for snorkeling on the western end. Currents do run along Langford in the middle of tides, so some caution and a buddy system are important. Navigating through extensive reefs is best in good light with a lookout on the bow.
Hamilton is a good mid-charter stopover to fill water tanks, drop garbage and shop. The island’s Marina Village has restaurants, bars, specialty shops, a bakery and supermarket to take care of any needs, food or otherwise. You can rent a golf cart and explore the island, or take advantage of an opportunity to stretch your legs on enjoyable walks.
Although located in the tropics, the Whitsundays have an excellent climate because they are cooled by trade winds for most of the year. The trade winds usually blow slightly stronger from May to August. July is the coolest month; and January is the warmest. Cyclones, if they do occur, are most likely between February and March.
In “Winter Season” (May — September) seas are generally slight to moderate, with trade winds E/SE to S at 15 — 20 knots. Winds generally continue throughout the night. 20 knots in the morning, through afternoon, dropping slightly later afternoon.
In “Summer Season” (October — April) seas mostly smooth to light. Winds NW to NE at 10 — 15 knots. Winds are more fluky and can come from several different directions during the day. Often drops off at night. Rain squalls are more frequent with reduced visibility and gusts.
Tidal information is based on Shute Harbour and tides in this region are greater than in most parts of Australia. You will find a current tide table on board your charter boat.
Remember: FLOOD tides rise and flow SOUTH towards Mackay
EBB tides fall and flow NORTH towards Bowen
Note: At Unsafe Passage, tides flood from South Molle Island towards Daydream Island and ebb from Daydream Island to South Molle Island. At Fitzalan Island, tides flood from Henning Island to Perseverance Island and ebb Perseverance Island to Henning Island.