We’ve all dreamed about it: living the good life, drifting from one perfect island to the next on board your very own yacht, doing whatever tickles your fancy. And all kids have wanted to be a pirate, viking or sailor at some point, right?
The Whitsundays are the perfect place to make the dream a (temporary) reality, thanks to ‘bareboating’: where the people lucky/hardworking/crazy enough to own yachts and catamarans are so busy earning the money to keep their babies, they don’t actually have too much time to spend on them. This means their boats are left happily bobbing in the ocean, ready for you to come along and rent them for your perfect family sailing holiday. You don’t even need a boat licence (you’ll be briefed when you pick up your chosen boat).
Between the six Whitsundays charter companies, everyone is catered to – from large groups and families to couples – with a range of sailboats and catamarans. If you’re so inclined, catering companies will even organise your food and drink for the holiday (with special kids’ meals and the option to add lobster or mud crab to your menu) to take one more thing off your, ahem, plate.
It’s all surprisingly affordable – from around $120 per person per night, plus additional costs like food and drinks, daily marine park fees, insurance waivers and gear hire.
With 74 islands to discover, ranging from the biggies (Hayman, Hamilton, Daydream) to the lesser-known (Lady Elliot, Long, Hook), your only worry on this holiday will be picking a spot to anchor and explore each day.
The experience is a lot like having the world’s most stunning natural playground all to yourselves. Snorkel, swim, dive, hike, or choose from the myriad of activities on offer at various islands – from quad-biking on Hamilton Island to parasailing at Daydream or Long Islands. Then drop anchor, watch the sun set on another perfect day and fall soundly asleep to the gentle sway of the ocean. tourismwhitsundays.com.au