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Called bareboating – the boat is ‘bare’ because it has no skipper or crew - you can set your own course in these stunning waters by being your own skipper and crew! So it’s just you, your family and your friends.
But never fear, the friendly and professional bareboat team will give you a full briefing before you start, including the boat itself, the operating equipment, the sails and motor.
The bareboating team will also help you plan an itinerary that is perfectly tailored to your needs, as you carve out your own adventure amongst the Whitsunday Islands.
Sail from island to island, with near-perfect ‘line-of-sight’ navigation (this means you can clearly see your intended destination with no obstacles to obscure your view).
The Whitsunday Islands are mostly uninhabited National Parks, so you can stop off and walk the many bush trails that criss-cross them. Look out for native wildlife including lizards and butterflies.
Whether you are after a secluded romantic getaway or a more adventure-packed holiday, bareboating is a wonderful option for exploring this amazing part of the world.
Great for families too, it is a time to switch off those appliances and get back to nature.
You can enjoy the freedom of choosing your own route, and going at your own pace, as you discover untouched beaches and cascading waterfalls, and you can scuba dive and snorkel amongst hundreds of different species of colourful fish and giant manta rays.
There are also stand-up paddle (SUP) boards provided with many bareboating vessels and they are a great way for getting around and exploring the coastline. Kayaks can take you even further afield and are fun and safe for all ages. Check with your Whitsundays Holiday Specialist if kayaking and SUP-ing are something you’d like to include on your bareboating adventure. Fishing tackle is also provided on most bareboat yachts and you can fish at your leisure off the back of the boat – just be sure to check the fishing zones in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park so you are legal!
This is a frequently asked question with bareboating. Well the good news is, very little! Pack light clothes suitable for the tropics and of course plenty of swimmers (bathers, togs - depending where you’re from!). Pack beach towels and sun cream (eco-friendly of course) and some books and your favourite tunes. Everything else is on board including a fully equipped kitchen, bed linen and bath towels, as well as CD player, TV, fishing gear and snorkelling equipment. Food is either BYO – talk to our Whitsundays Holiday Specialists for tips – or you can pre-book everything you need from the caterers that work alongside the bareboating companies.
Sailing Yachts – also called monohulls because they have one hull - are more streamlined and therefore easier to dock (and they take up less space). They manoeuvre better because you’re not dealing with two hulls. They can make sharper turns and navigate more easily through narrow channels and tight spaces.
Sailing Catamarans, on the other hand, provide a more stable platform, with little to no heeling over when sailing. Also known as multi-hulls, catamarans have two – or sometimes three – hulls. This means extra space both above and below decks - larger catamarans can comfortably accommodate up to 10 people. Catamarans have a much shallower draft than monohulls, which allows anchoring close to shore.
Power Boats are great for seeing a lot of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in a relatively short space of time! So if you don’t have long but want to explore this amazing living structure – one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World – a powerboat could be for you. They are also a good option for people who don’t feel comfortable hoisting the sails and are very popular with larger parties, such as families on holiday together, who want a complete holiday experience.
Well, no licence is required for bareboating but you are expected to have some boating experience. You will receive a detailed and comprehensive briefing before you start your holiday and help is always only a call away on the VHF radio, with calls to HQ scheduled twice a day, every day.
Vessels accommodate between two and 10 guests – there are literally dozens of different options with different layouts and cabin configurations. They are all fully equipped with everything required for a comfortable stay – just bring your sunscreen, swimming gear, a hat and sunglasses…and a sense of adventure!
You also have the option of going it totally alone or you can ask for a sail guide and hostess to accompany you - either for a day or two, or the whole trip – the choice is yours.
One of the most beautiful things about bareboating in the Whitsunday Islands is pulling up at the end of an action-packed day, showering off the salt and sitting at the back of your boat looking over a spectacular beach or out to the seemingly never-ending horizon.
Stunning sunsets are a way of life in the Whitsundays and there is always one waiting for you at the end of a sun-soaked day. Savour those last rays with a glass of chilled bubbly or a cold beer and snack on some seafood delights while you cook up a barbie on your personal BBQ.
With more than 40 anchorages amongst the Whitsunday Islands, there is always a tranquil spot to lose yourself, and at night you can gaze up at the endless expanse of starlit sky, sheltered from the breeze in an inlet or secluded bay.