How to choose a Whitsundays Overnight Sailing Tour

Ever wanted to try your hand at sailing? Well, the Whitsundays are the perfect place to do it, with so many overnight sailing trips you’ll be spoilt for choice!

Crewed overnight sailing cruises are the perfect way to immerse yourself in the Whitsunday Islands and you can take a turn at hoisting the sails and steering the boat. Or maybe you just want to kick back, laze away the day on the deck, and enjoy the odd sunset cocktail or two! Whatever you are looking for, the Whitsundays has it in spades! Following are our Top 5 Tips on what to consider when booking an overnight sailing trip in the Whitsundays, according to your holiday needs.

1. Length of trip

There are many different options for overnight sailing trips in the Whitsundays, offering a choice of one, two and three-night stays on board, amongst the islands and fringing reefs. The decision will obviously depend on how much time you have available – they are all great and, if you do have time, then yes, obviously stretch it out to 2 or 3 nights! There is even an option to be out on the water for 6 nights, if you have a week to spare in paradise. There are dozens of snorkelling spots and, with more than 40 anchorages in the marine park, there is always a tranquil spot at night from where you can gaze up at the endless expanse of starlit sky.


2. Type of boat

Whitsunday overnight sailing cruises come in all shapes and sizes and you can choose between modern, sleek sailing vessels, or the charm and grace of old timber yachts….and everything in between. There are literally dozens of different boats to choose from - you can choose a cruising yacht, a catamaran, a power cruiser or a maxi sailing yacht that has earnt her stripes in famed races such as the Sydney to Hobart. Things to chat to our team of Whitsundays Holiday Specialists about include whether you are looking for a budget/backpackers style of trip, a family-friendly cruise or a more romantic option for you and your loved one. The Whitsundays fleet of vessels can also accommodate small groups and private charters if you are holidaying with friends or family.


Overnight Sailing - Type of boat

3. What they include

All overnight sailing cruises have vessels with spacious decks and are fully equipped with everything for a comfortable and relaxing holiday, including freshly prepared meals and snacks, and friendly, fun crews keen to share their local knowledge with you. The boats are fully equipped with all the necessities for a comfortable stay on board including crockery, cutlery and bed linen. Snorkelling equipment, sun suit hire and Marine Park Fees (which help to maintain the pristine marine environment) are all included. Most tours do ask that you pack your belongings in a zip-free, soft bag made of canvas or cotton. But you won’t need much, that’s for sure – just bring your swimming gear, a hat, casual clothes for evening including a light top, your sunglasses and sunscreen, and you’re set! Oh, and a sense of adventure too, of course.


4. Additional activities

There are plenty of on-water activities to choose from in addition to the sailing. The Great Barrier Reef protects the Coral Sea that surrounds the Whitsunday Islands, creating a safe and calm aquatic playground in which you can swim, snorkel and scuba dive. The Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef are known for having some of the best snorkelling locations in the world - visitors flock to the region to experience the stunning coral gardens – and the good news is, most overnight sailing cruises include at least one snorkelling adventure. A couple of Whitsunday cruises also offer scuba diving as part of the package including one free dive per person. Diving in the Whitsundays is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, whether you are a complete novice or have some diving time behind you. With several scuba diving options available in the Whitsundays, you can choose your diving adventure to best suit your experience, expectations and timings.


Overnight Sailing - Type of boat

5. What to look out for

You will literally not know which way to turn your head next on your overnight sailing cruise, the Whitsunday Islands are so stunningly beautiful, pushed up out of the turquoise Coral Sea by volcanic eruptions thousands of years ago. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, in which you will be sailing, hosts one third of the world’s coral species and is home to more than 1,500 species of fish, as well as turtles, whales, dolphins, dugongs, reef sharks and manta rays – so keep your eyes peeled. The Whitsunday region also boasts one of the best beaches in the world – the 7km long Whitehaven Beach, made of pure-white silica sand. If you haven’t already seen this magnificent stretch of sand, ask one of our Whitsundays Holiday Specialists about overnight sailing cruises that include a stop at Whitehaven Beach. One Whitsunday overnight sailing cruise also goes to the Outer Great Barrier Reef – again, talk to one of our friendly and knowledgeable team members.

Something different

If you’d like something slightly different – and sleeping on board the boat is not a priority – then there’s a tour that offers all the fun of the Whitsunday Islands’ fringing coral reefs and stunning beaches, while staying in the comfort of an idyllic mainland resort. A custom-built vessel will take you on a smooth ride to the icons of the Whitsundays during the day, including Hill Inlet Lookout, Whitehaven Beach and multiple Great Barrier Reef snorkelling locations. You will then spend the night amongst the natural beauty of oceanfront tropical gardens and the tranquillity of private, white-sand beaches, where relaxing means sipping cocktails lounging in a hammock strung between two coconut palms!


Overnight Sailing - Length of your trip

In conclusion…

Whichever option you choose, your overnight sailing cruise around the magical Whitsunday Islands will be a lifetime memory that you will be talking about for years to come. There is no better way to experience the beauty of the Whitsunday Islands than on a boat - you become invigorated by the sea air as you sail, swim, snorkel and dive in this amazing aquatic playground. Please note, there is no set itinerary for overnight sailing cruises, as your cruise is based on the weather and tidal conditions at the time of travel – this is what makes them so exciting! Also, please check with each cruise what is included and what is extra. You can also request sample menus.