With 74 islands off Queensland’s coast, the Whitsunday Islands are situated at the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. The warm waters and great scenery have to make a Whitsunday Islands cruise one of the most relaxing cruising experiences available.
There are two options for cruising in the area; the first is to take one of the larger cruises ships departing from Sydney or Newcastle which make their way up to Port Douglas, or secondly take one of the smaller yachts or schooners that concentrate between 3 and 6 days sailing around these beautiful islands.
The schooners are something a little different. Built in the style of old fishing vessels these ships have large open decks with outdoor dining areas and comfortable shady lounge areas, so you can top up your tan or find a shady spot to read a book. For those who like to get involved there are opportunities to ‘hoist the main sail’, take the ships wheel or if you’re feeling brave climb the ratlines to a height of 70 feet above the deck to position the sails. Your crew aboard will consist of the captain, a host, deck hands and an all important chef who will prepare some truly mouth watering meals. The sleeping accommodation will be smaller than one of the cruise liners but treat is as an adventure, some cabins will offer private facilities, others will have to share a bathroom, but with only 8 people aboard that really won’t be too much of a problem.
Top Whitsundays Cruise Destinations
A number of cruises start from Hamilton Island where you board your cruise at around midday and spend your first afternoon getting to know your surroundings. Relax on deck whilst you travel towards your first destination, Hook Island, this where you will lay anchor for your first night at sea. In the morning have the chance to snorkel in the beautiful Blue Peal Bay off Hayman Island before setting off for the outer barrier Reef. Today will be spent exploring the area famous for its coral reefs and wonderful array of fish. The Nara Inlet is the first destination where you will once again be able to put you feet on terra firma. Take a hike into the rainforest and view some aboriginal cave paintings before returning onboard to set sail for Shute Harbour. This is where some of your fellow guests may disembark after their 3 day cruise and others may join, later set sail for Cataran bay on Border Island. From here you can take a hike up the Mosstrooper Peak, do some snorkelling or just time to relax on deck. Whitsunday Island, the biggest of the islands, is our next stop. Here there will be time to stroll along Whitehaven beach, great for beachcombing, or simply lazing in the sun. The last stop before disembarking is South Molle Island; this area has many great walking trails to explore.
These are just a few ports of call with each operator having something different to offer, whichever you choose, being on a small vessel will mean that you can escape the crowds get to visit some of the more out of reach islands that this wonderful area has to offer.