If you only do one thing on the East Coast of Australia, it absolutely, 100% must be sailing The Whitsundays! It’s the ultimate all-in-one experience, with beaches whiter than Fraser Islands Lake Mackenzie, it’s colourful coral is classed as the Great Barrier Reefs (inner reef) and the marine life is unreal! Lets take a look at what sailing the world famous Whitsundays will offer you.
♦ Whitehaven Beach. Welcome to the best beach in the world. Walking to the beach will take around 10 minutes and you will be lead through the national parks luscious forests. Firstly, make your way to the viewing platform and take in that mind blowing view. We have never, ever seen water as blue and sand that white! Once you’ve seen the beach you’ll find yourself running down to it. Upon arrival you’ll be greeted by an all round picture postcard view. It is amazing!
♦ Snorkelling. If you have got yourself a good tour you will visit one of these snorkelling spots, or if your lucky enough like we were you’ll visit all three – Manta Ray Bay, Blue Pearl Bay and Black Island. All three offer amazing hard and soft coral alongside an abundance of marine life. Be sure to pack an underwater camera as you will want to remember these places for the rest f your life.
♦ Marine Life. As you have just read above, Manta Ray Bay offers excellent snorkelling – During the winter as the name suggests you’ll find yourself swimming alongside Manta Rays. Black Island is a popular spot if you wish to swim with turtles. If your looking for sharks (harmless Lemon Sharks) and stingrays then a visit to Whitehaven will provide, they tend to swim in the calmer shallower water so keep an eye out. The reefs are packed with hundreds of fish, you will be surrounded – Literally!
♦ Sailing. Sailing was great- Sitting on the edge of the boat, hanging your legs over the side with the water rushing past splashing your feet as it goes, is something not to be missed. It’s a feeling of freedom that we have never experienced before.
♦ The Cost. Tours vary from half day ($99 AUD) to a 3 night 2 day ($499 AUD) trips. A day trip can be had for around $150 AUD which is enough to experience the Whitsundays if you travel in a speed boat rather than a sailing boat.
Another way to get a cheap trip is to book on a tour on ‘standby’, this means that if a passenger fails to show up you’ll be the next in line, 20% can be saved by doing this.
We booked our trip through Bookme.com.au. At $240 AUD per person we managed to get a 2 day 2 nights sailing experience – We scored a half price deal! This however required advanced booking, flexibility and a little luck.
♦ What to expect on a multi-day sailing trip? Awesome sailing, yummy wholesome food, lots of sun, a 30 second shower and small beds. In reality, sailing has two, maybe three drawbacks that you need to be prepared for:
- Small living spaces. Expect small beds and even smaller toilets, space is at a premium on these vessels.
- Limited fresh water. The fresh water is limited, there is ample for drinking however, there isn’t enough for each person to have a long shower. Be prepared for a 30 second shower throughout the entirety of your trip.
- Sea Sickness. If you are effected by the rocking of a boat then we must regretfully inform you that you will be rocking the whole time (its a lot better in the evening). Be sure to take ginger biscuits and sea sickness medication.
♦ What to pack for a multi-day trip? Remember pack small – We had a 20 litre pack each and its contents were:
- Swimming clothes
- Lots of sun cream (Min SPF 30)
- Spare clothes including a warm jumper
- Sandals (no footwear worn on the vessel)
- Photography gear (including underwater equipment)
- Sunglasses and hat
- Toothbrush, toothpaste
- Large water bottle
- Wear your provided ‘stinger suit’ whenever you go into the water. There are two jellyfish in the sea that can kill you, the Box Jellyfish and the Irukandji. Not only are these respectively the number 1 and 2 most deadly jellyfish on the planet, but if you don’t wear the suit and you get stung, your travel insurance will be void.
- Cream Up! We applied a lot of sun cream and still managed to burn a little. There isn’t a lot of shade on the boats so be sure to apply that sun cream liberally in order to avoid turning into a crisp.
- Worried about not having shower? Grab a large water bottle, fill it up and have a buddy slowly pour it over your head once you get out of the sea. Scrub hard and fast and you’ll find that 1 Litre will get most of the salty water off. Easy!
- Download an awesome playlist. All of your fellow sailors will love you to bits if your the one that can provide the great tunes. Do everyone a favour and take your iPod along.
- If your prone to sea sickness then go for a catamaran rather than a single hull boat. They are much more stable, think of a car compared to a motorbike.