Sailing in the Whitsundays: The debrief

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So now that we have seen all of the pretty photos of our weekend of sailing now it’s time to give the low down on the how it all went. The ins and outs of spending time on a boat sailing for any length of time up here in these beautiful Whithsunday Islands. I have always wanted to do this trip – have seen plenty of friends of ours come up and do it with groups of friends and wondered how it would all go.  While I do enjoy being out on the sea I certainly wouldn’t call myself a sailor or someone who needs the salty air through my hair so I was keen to see how it all went down with 48 hours on a catamaran.

We arrived at our boat on Friday afternoon and had a quick safety chat with Charlie our Skipper and part owner of Cumberland Charter Yachts who hosted us for the weekend. If people are getting a boat like we had for the weekend you have to have some sailing experience and the safety/boat overview session takes about 3 hours. Cumberland Charter Yachst are an Australian owned company who have been running since 1985. They pride themselves on good personalised service and a commitment to environmental best practices. Charlie was SUCH a lovely bloke – very patient and kind and read the situation well over the weekend – gearing us up to help on deck, or snorkelling, taking us into Whitehaven and letting us be to just read and chat when we wanted. You can choose to have the boat skippered or take it out by yourself (if you have a guided cruise you obviously share the tight living areas with them (they get a bedroom and you will have to share a bathroom).

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The boats come equipped with everything that you would need. They provide linen, kitchen gear, wet weather jackets, snorkelling, TV & Radio, Dingy & outboard etc with you providing travel insurance, sunscreen, hats, clothes, beach towels and books, sound system etc. You can also get a whole lot of optional extras like paddle board & kayak hire, SCUBA gear, airport transfers/helicopter or sea plane trips. The rooms were surprisingly comfortable – each couple sharing a bed (and we were lucky enough to have a spare room that Nikki and I used for our suitcases). The beds were super comfortable  – the main concern for me was that I would feel claustrophobic and this was not the case at all.

The kitchen and sitting areas were also spacious and comfortable – we ate out on Friday night at a restaurant on the Island Coco Chu (which was SERIOUSLY amazingly good food) but ate on the boat breakfast both days, lunch and cooked dinner on the BBQ and kitchen on the Saturday night and they were very easy to cook in and clean up. The bathrooms are well, bathrooms on boat. You have to watch the toilet doesn’t get blocked and when it’s rocky, well, it’s best to wait to go. We had a hot shower on deck after were snorkelled and then just spent the rest of the time with the salt on our skin. That’s the point right? We completely overpacked, if I was on this for a week you would need NOTHING. All food provisions were provided to us by Whitsundays Provisioning  who cater for people on boats, or even if you are staying in an apartment or house. There are plenty of options on Hamilton Island too if you need them – a chemist, supermarket, bottle shop etc.

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Be prepared to get into the action and get dirty – the boys had to help our skipper out when the anchor winch stopped working and they had to pull the chain up by hand!


A boat like the one we had (Lipari 41) will cost you from $900 per night. It has 4 double private cabins and 2 toilets and showers. It has plenty of refrigeration space and over 700 litres of fresh water on board. For me I’m not sure this is something I would do with the kids being the age they are now. For me I reckon a 3 night stay with some couples would be the best – a taste of the high seas without being trapped for too long. On the boat each hour equals about 8 of relaxation – I felt like I had been away for MUCH longer than the 2 days we were.

A special birthday, girls trip, trip with friends or family would be the perfect time to enjoy one of these boats. This part of Queensland is RIGHT on our doorstep and really is there any reason to head OS when you explore this beauty right here? I am SOLD.


Have you ever sailed or cruised in the Whitsundays?
Got any good tips to or stories to share?

We were guests of Tourism Queensland and Tourism Whitsundays staying onboard Cumberland Charter Yachts for 2 nights. All food provided by Whitsunday Provisioning. We paid for our own alcohol and dinner out on Friday night.


  1. Lisa Mckenzie says

    It all looks lovely Beth I’m not sure if like being on a small boat for 2 days though! I think I would get seasick,it all looks amazing!

  2. We spent some time on Hamilton earlier in the year. A sunset sail was enough to convince us there’s a bareboat charter in our future!

  3. We used to sail the Whitsunday’s for family holidays when I was a kid, my uncle was a keen sailor – who also happened to be a fantastic cook and didn’t drink, so basically my parents and my aunty would drink like fish and eat like royalty for a few weeks of school holidays and us kids would run amok amongst the islands in our dinghy. My dad is a pilot so we would fly up to Shute Harbour in a few days through western NSW/Qld in the start of the school holidays. On the boat the adults would send us off to shore for the evening with half a dozen sausages and we’d make a fire on the beach and entertain ourselves, puttering back to the boat in the dark. Beautiful childhood memories of jumping off the bow every morning, snorkeling with dolphins and sometimes a bit of kid vomit with seasickness! I swear my love of oysters and champagne are imprinted on me from those family holidays amongst my mum and aunty!

  4. We spent a number of days sailing a yacht with friends about 17 years ago in the Whitsundays.
    We moored the yacht at Hamilton Island for two nights and had another couple of nights at Narra Inlet etc.
    It was the perfect combination as our friends had their two year old and mooring at Hamilton meant we could hang at the pool and he could have a break from the yacht. We could have dinner at one of the restaurants there, use their facilities for showering and still do day trips to Whitehaven etc.
    It was a lovely holiday, especially being bc (before children) for us.
    I must say he was an exceptional two year old. There is no way since having my four that I would have taken any of them on a yacht at the same age!!
    Looks like you have had a fabulous and relaxing time!

  5. I went sailing in the Whitsundays on a Cumberland yacht with a group of 5 others about 23 years ago for a week. We self-skippered, which was both good and bad. Sea-sickness was surprisingly not a problem but when we got off the boat we couldn’t stand up. We stopped at the facilities on a little island and fell over in the showers when we closed our eyes. What a gorgeous place to go though. Brings back memories.

  6. your lovely photos reminded me of our boating adventure in the Cayman islands earlier this year, just like yours our boat was amazing, with generous room for all. and also like yours, the toilets were a little tricky, maybe theyre all like that on boats? I strongly recommend sailing in the caymans! Boating like this is just amazing isnt it?

  7. Our so in Australia wants us to charter in the Whitsundays with he and wife. I had no idea it is so pricey. We are a sailing family from way back, and he is a mariner (Sea Link). We used to charter in the British Virgin Islands in dead of winter for a nice warm getaway, and took him along. He played football in school, and we needed him to hoist the anchor as there was no electric winch!

    • Handy to have around!

    • Hi Cyndy, Thanks for sharing please don’t be put off by the price quoted here, we have a range of vessels to suit all budgets and crew requirements. When you divide the cost between a few couples its really a very inexpensive but decadent way to see the Whitsundays.
      Once you have hired the boat and stocked with food, kayaks and gear, there is really nothing more to spend. The Whitsundays are a large marine park so all you’re activities are available from the boat snorkeling, bush-walks, beach combing, stargazing..etc ..etc.You set the pace and destination. Imagine a beautiful hotel apartment with 360 degree views and constantly changing amazing scenery. Bliss! Check out our website if you would like too compare pricing. We would be happy to send you a complete quote. – CCY Crew.

  8. I loved the Whitsundays, we stayed at Airlie Beach as we were driving around QLD at the time. Hubby and I are looking at going back for a week to Daydream Island soon, just us….no kids….ahhhhh bliss!! I would love to do it your way one day though!

  9. Hi colleagues, its wonderful post on the topic of cultureand entirely defined, keep
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