When we decided we were going to travel up the east coast of Australia there were some things that we just HAD to do. Sailing the Whitsunday Islands was one of those things. As any keen ‘Googler’ will discover there are simply hundreds of different options available.
sailing the whitsunday islands
We like a bargain and often struggle to click the ‘book’ button when looking at doing the most popular activities. This time round we knew exactly what we were looking for. We wanted to go sailing the Whitsunday islands, we wanted to see Whitehaven Beach and we wanted a water based activity ie kayaking or snorkelling. We therefore opted for the ‘1 Day Whitehaven Beach Camira Sailing Adventure – Awesome Whitsundays’.
Cost: AUD$159 per person, total cost $318. We booked our tour through Backpackers World, which resulted in decent a discount.The Tour is operated by Cruise Whitsundays and the full price should be AUD$189 per person.
– A full days sailing on board a bright purple catamaran called Camira
– On board commentary providing information about the islands and wildlife
– All you can drink soft drinks and alcohol (beer and wine)
– Hot drinks and biscuits in the morning
– An amazing all you can eat BBQ for lunch
– Mask, fins and stinger suit for snorkelling
– A couple of hours to relax on Whitehaven Beach (and sports equipment)
– Sun cream
overview of the tour
We arrived at the Port of Airlie cruise terminal at around 7:45am. Just before 8:00 am the tannoy sounded to announce that it was our time to board. So we strolled down the ramp and were welcomed on board by the enthusiastic and friendly crew.
The catamaran Camira looked amazing. It was bright purple and even the customers not coming on our tour were stopping to take photos. Before long the fairly small group of people were all on board and the tour could begin!
Teas, coffees and biscuits were ready almost immediately and naturally we helped ourselves. For the first hour or so we simply enjoyed the wind in our hair, as the boat powered away from the Port towards our first destination. We made a brief stop off at Day Dream Island to pick up a couple more passengers and were swiftly off again.
We carried on sailing round the headland of Whitsunday Island, through the relatively narrow gap between it and Hook Island. Before we knew it, it was time for our first proper activity – Snorkelling! As it was stinger season we donned stinger suits, masks and fins and climbed into the tender. A James Bond style reverse roll out of the smaller boat followed into the water, just off of Dumbell Island. The beautifully clear water meant we got to see loads of awesome fish and coral, there was even a turtle sighting. Sadly not by us!
After about half an hour or so it was time to get back on the boat. We sailed towards the glistening white sands of Whitehaven Beach. We stayed here for a couple of hours; there was time for a stroll along the beach, some swimming, sun bathing and getting those all important photos. The sand is so soft and due its incredibly high silica content, doesn’t absorb the heart of the sun! As we’re basically big kids we spent some of the time building sand castles.
Whilst we had be sunning ourselves on the beach, the crew had been busy cooking lunch. Everyone was excited for the food especially me! The offering for meat-eaters was mouth watering with kangaroo steaks, chicken, mackerel, and huge sausages which I think were Goanna (a big Australia lizard). In addition there were salads and pasta dishes galore all of which were vegetarian friendly. There were also yummy veggie burgers. It was an absolute feast.
Once the food was done, all that remained was to sit back and enjoy the sailing. With an ice cold beer from the Esky in my hand, I was in heaven.
We had an absolute whale of a time! We couldn’t really have asked for a better day out, in spite of the few spots of rain we got caught in. The on-board staff were all super friendly and enthusiastic. To top it all off we won some prizes (See pic) for successfully completing a game involving untying ourselves from a knot.
Our only disappointment was that the trip didn’t go the Hill Inlet lookout point to get the classic postcard photos of the wavy sands. However, we knew that going in and there are other tours that do go there.
Overall I think it was excellent value in context with other tours available and would highly recommend it to anyone thinking of going sailing in the Whitsunday Islands. I would give it a score of 9 out of 10.
Have you experienced sailing the Whitsunday Islands? Did you opt for a single or multi-day trip? What was your favourite part? Get in touch in the comments below.