Discover the Beautiful Whitsundays

The Sailing Capital Of The Southern Hemisphere


Ask someone who is into yachting or sailing why the Whitsundays are so popular, and their eyes may glaze over and they seem to enter a dream like state.

To a sailor the Whitsundays is a slice of heaven on earth. It is one of the most popular sailing locations.

Located within the lagoons formed by the outer barrier reefs of the area are the 70 plus islands and cays that form what is known as the Whitsundays Island group or simply the Whitsundays.

The group takes its name from the largest island in the group, Whitsunday Island.

Technically the island takes its name from the Whitsunday Passage which was so named by James Cook as they sailed into it on Whitsunday in 1770.

The largest islands are a part of an undersea mountain range while the cays are formed by wave action over top of the reefs.

Eventually this action results in land forming on the reef surface and expanding into a small island.

Sailing The Whitsundays

Few of the islands have permanent structures and all of them have fringing reefs.

A fringing reef is a reef that is associated with a land mass and is very close to it and often touches in places.

Most of the cays and islands also have coves with pure white sand.

The distant barrier reef and the large number of islands and cays make most of the Whitsundays waterways calm.

Off shore winds provide the gentle push necessary to sail around the islands. Sailing between the islands provides a remarkable experience.

Boaters and non-boaters alike come here from around the world to experience sailing here.

Barefoot (no crew) and crewed charters are easy to find and is one of the main draws to the area.

Day trips to some of the islands with a day on an isolated beach is a dream turned into reality.

The fringing reefs become home to a wide range of marine life.

While Fringing reefs do not attract many of the larger pelagic in large numbers they are attractive to turtles and rays.

From the shore of some of these cays you can look into the water 30 metres away and see a manta ray swimming by.

A Different Type Of Liveaboards

When a scuba diver thinks of a Liveaboard they are generally thinking about a large dive boat with accommodations, lounges and a professional dive staff.

When a boater thinks of a Liveaboard they are thinking of a vessel designed for long stays even a permanent home.

It could be a 30 metre yacht or a 24 foot sail boat.

In Cairns if you see an advertisement for a Liveaboard most likely it is scuba diving, In the Whitsundays the ad is most likely for a sail boat.

If you are a couple that scuba dives together or a few friends together then one of these Liveaboards might be ideal for you.

Some of them come equipped with tanks and weights and have compressors on board to refill the tanks.

Both Sailing and power can be found. There will be no dive masters on-board so it up to you to find the right spots

Scuba Diving Liveaboards

There are a few scuba diving Liveaboards that operate on a schedule instead of a charter base in the area.

Most operates on an overnight or two night schedule.

These generally stay along the islands. The Outer reefs are about 50 miles away and dive Liveaboards doing a three of four day schedule will