The WhitsundaysGreat Barrier Reef
Glowing with beach-glamour and dripping in first-class hideaways, the group of islands known as the Whitsundays are both indulgently luxurious and stunningly beautiful.
Made up of 74 picture-perfect islands and bordered by the Great Barrier Reef, their brilliant seas and underwater delights are hard to resist.
Located just off the east coast of Queensland, Australia’s sunshine state, the Whitsunday Islands lie amongst the Coral Sea; rightly earning their place among the South Pacific’s most majestic island groups. National parks, coral cays and sublime beaches make up the majority of the landscape while wilderness retreats and hedonistic spas also have their place.
The Whitsundays are widely regarded as one of the true yachting pleasure grounds of the world with smooth waters, spectacular reefs and balmy rainforests that are just as amazing to gaze upon as they are to explore. Paired with superb deep water anchorages and five-star resorts, there is no surprise as to why this region continues to attract the yachting elite.
The region is excellent for both crewed and bareboat charters with its easy navigation, close proximity of the islands and a first-class combination of untouched natural sights and modern indulgences. Most yacht charters will often start at Hamilton Island where guests can fly in, or the small but lively boho town of Airlie Beach known as the gateway to the Whitsundays.
Both Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island boast world-class superyacht infrastructure and luxury amenities to act as a base for exploring the region. Coral Sea Marina Resort in Airlie Beach is a state-of-the-art superyacht marina driven by an owner with a strong passion and vision for the superyacht industry. Hamilton Island Marina places superyachts in the centre of the Whitsundays cruising grounds, and is very much a destination within a destination with an array of bars, restaurants throughout a phenomenal luxury resort.
Luxury Island Resorts
The Whitsundays are truly blessed with immersive luxury experience which take superyacht charters in the region to the next level. Only eight of the islands are inhabited, with the most popular being the exclusive Hayman, the water-sports mecca of Hamilton Island and the appropriately named family favourite Daydream Island. For something a little more off-beat, sail down the Cumberland Channel to visit the lesser-known islands of Goldsmith and Tinsmith in the Sir James Smith Group.
Hamilton Island is the largest of the islands and is easily accessible for superyachts due to its fantastic marina facilities. The Qualia Resort on Hamilton Island is one of Australia’s esteemed Luxury Lodges, and is in itself a reason to visit the Whitsundays. Hamilton Island is a hive of water-based activities and opulent spas, and even has its own golf course for those keen to play a round in this paradisiacal setting. This is a favoured destination for superyachts in the region, and is often a reason why guests tend to either extend their stay or find themselves returning promptly.
In Airlie Beach, Coral Sea Marina is also linked to its own luxury resort by the same name, which it merged with in 2019 to complete an all-encompassing offering for visiting yachts. Coral Sea Resort has benefitted from significant investment to provide an enticing array of indulgent facilities, backed by outstanding hospitality and a passionate team. Airlie Beach town itself is a vibrant base filled with an eclectic mix of bars, restaurants and shops, perfect or both short of long stays.
Beaches and Diving
Diving, snorkelling, whale watching, and fishing are all there to be enjoyed in the Whitsunday Islands and it’s not uncommon to come face-to-face with turtles, sea eagles and ospreys during your journey. The soft white-sand beaches are another of the region’s biggest draw cards; perhaps the most breath-taking sandy stretch is Whitehaven Beach, coined “Heaven on Earth” by locals.
One of the most famous dive and snorkel sites in the Whitsundays is Heart Reef. This stunning coral has been aptly named after its natural formation into a heart shape, and sits in its own mesmerising reef lagoon. Throughout the Whitsundays, there are opportunities for divers and snorkelers of all levels to enjoy the wonders and colours of the reef. Gary’s Lagoon and Manta Ray Bay are both exceptional novice dive sites with abundant coral, while sites such as the Stepping Stones offer more advanced diving opportunities. Found in Bait Reef, the Stepping Stones are a unique diving experience made up of 18 flat-topped coral pinnacles lined up in a row, each rising from a depth of 15-25 metres up to one metre below the surface.