Catamaran hire in the Whitsundays: What you need to know


Everything you need to know about hiring a catamaran in the Whitsundays including information on two leading catamaran brands, Lagoon and Leopard.

Bareboat Catamaran hire in the Whitsundays is akin to or as simple as hiring a motor home. A bareboat is when you hire a fully equipped catamaran, learn how to operate your vessel, and then explore at your own pace.

In this post, we’ll outline common questions about hiring a catamaran in the Whitsunday Islands and the different types of catamarans available for hire in our fleet, Lagoon and Leopard.

catramaran hire

What is the best destination to rent a catamaran in Australia?

The Whitsunday Islands are among the safest sailing grounds globally, thanks to the outer Great Barrier Reef acting as a barrier from ocean swells. But safety is only one of the reasons this group of 74 tropical islands is considered the best destination to rent a catamaran.

  • The Whitsundays are pristine and mostly uninhabited, with many islands holding National Park status.
  • The islands have diverse marine environments, with multiple dive and snorkelling sites.
  • The Whitsunday Islands feature rainforests and countless white sandy beaches
  • Famous locations such as Whitehaven Beach and Hamilton Island are found in the Whitsundays
  • There are several island resorts bareboat visitors can stop at to spend the night and enjoy the facilities
  • Diverse landscapes, flora and fauna can be enjoyed through the many hiking trails traversing the island
  • The islands are safe, close to the mainland and popular among “yachties” meaning help is never far away.
  • The Whitsundays are in a sub-tropical environment; the weather is mild for most of the year.
whitsunday islands

How much does it cost to hire a catamaran in the Whitsundays?

The cost of a catamaran will depend on three factors: When you want to sail, how long you want to sail for, and the type of catamaran you want to hire.

On average, catamarans sleep eight people and usually have two or more bathrooms. In the mid-season, for 5 nights, catamarans cost between $6,320 and $18,416.

If you want to look at vessel prices and availability, just head to our simple online booking system.

What is the best time of year to go to the Whitsundays?

The Whitsundays are a sub-tropical environment with a dry and wet season.

The dry season is in winter, with temperatures around the mid-20s. For Queenslanders, this means just putting a jumper on at night.

In the wet season, summer temperatures are around the low to mid-30s. While it can get hot and humid with some rainfall, the occasional showers provide welcome relief.

Considering the weather, each time of year has different pros and cons. The consensus among tourism operators is the best time of year to sail in the Whitsundays is in early Spring.

Are the Whitsunday Islands safe?

The Great Barrier Reef runs outside the Whitsunday Islands, acting as a protective barrier from large ocean swells; This provides the ideal sheltered location for a boating holiday on any boat.

Catamarans are widely known for their safety due to having excellent stability and excess buoyancy. Yachties will tell you that monohulls are safer for open ocean cruising,  but this is not a concern for those wishing to charter in the calm waters of the Whitsundays.

How does hiring a catamaran as a bareboat charter work?

A bareboat hire means hiring a boat without a crew. You’re the skipper and can sail at your own pace within set charter limits.

In the Whitsundays, you do not need a license or qualification to hire a catamaran.

Before taking a catamaran out to explore the Whitsundays, everyone receives a comprehensive boat & area briefing. The briefing will thoroughly introduce your vessel, its fittings and itinerary tips.

When hiring a bareboat, you must bring your belongings and food. Your vessel comes equipped with many of the comforts of home, including linen, cooking equipment and a BBQ.

Find out more about what’s included on a hired bareboat.

Learn more about bareboating in the Whitsundays: Bareboating in the Whitsundays, how it works

Can I hire a skipper for our charter?

It’s possible to add a sail guide to any of the Whitsunday Rent-a-Yacht fleet boats. A sail guide can join your charter for a few extra hours, a night or even the duration of your trip.

Guides are a great way to assist you with operating your boat and to ensure you’re confident bareboating. They are not responsible for the boat.

Skippered charters are slightly different and not an option on all of our boats. A skippered charter is when a professional skipper is in charge of the vessel. Our Leopard 50, a more extensive and newer boat, is available for skippered charters.

yacht charter australia

Featured catamarans for hire in the Whitsundays with Whitsunday Rent a Yacht

Leopard 50, Point of Sail

Point of Sail is a 2022 Sailing Catamaran. She has four double cabins, en-suites, and a self-contained crew cabin.

Leopard 44 catamaran aerial view - Toy Buoy

Leopard 44 Sailing Catamaran: Toy Buoy and It's All About Me

Toy Buoy and It’s All About Me are two fantastic boats for Whitsunday group charters. They both have four cabins with ensuites.

Lagoon 400 Sailing Catamaran: Chantilly

Chantilly is one of those boats people book year after year. With two double cabins and an owner’s suite, she’s a classic Lagoon Cat with lots of space.

Leopard 46 Powercat: Lady Lynne

A 2022 Powercat straight from the factory to our fleet, Lady Lynne is incredibly spacious and luxurious.

Orion Leopard 42 Shute Harbour Whitsundays

Leopard 42 Sailing Catamaran: Orion

Orion is another new 2022 boat. Sleek and stylish, she has a spacious owner’s cabin and two double cabins with ensuites.

Catamaran Brands in the Whitsunday Rent a Yacht fleet

Catamarans are popular with bareboat charter guests for their excellent performance, stability, comfort, and airy living spaces.

We mainly have two catamaran brands in the Whitsunday Rent a Yacht fleet,  Leopard and Lagoon. Below we’ll go through the unique aspects of each make and feature catamarans from our fleet to consider for your next bareboat holiday in the Whitsundays.

Leopard Catamarans

Most catamarans in the Whitsunday Rent a Yacht fleet are Leopard catamarans.

Superior sailing performance

One of the best examples of balance between sailing performance and interior space. The deep narrow hulls beneath the waterline contribute to enhanced sailing and speed without compromising on room in the cabins, saloon and on deck.

Plenty of living space for larger groups

Perfect for cruising the stunning Whitsundays, Leopards are ideal for friends and family to comfortably live aboard. The large, well-laid cockpit offers direct access into the spacious saloon creating excellent airflow and ease of living.

Two cockpits

Perhaps the most outstanding feature of Leopard catamarans over 40 feet is the forward-facing cockpit, meaning there are two external lounge spaces to kick back and enjoy.

Ease of control for the skipper

Leopard ‘cats have the controls (sails/steering/engine) at the helm and within easy reach of the skipper. The raised helm station of a Leopard provides the best panoramic vantage point of the Island’s surroundings. Comparatively, many other cruising boats have controls in different areas, so you must move around or have multiple people working simultaneously.

Leopards are beautifully designed and spacious and deliver superior cruising performance – it’s hard to imagine a better cat from which to enjoy the Whitsundays.

Sailing the whitsundays

Lagoon Catamarans

Lagoon catamarans, like the Leopards, are famous for being large and spacious.

Comfort and luxury

Luxury is the word that comes to mind when thinking of Lagoon catamarans; the finishes are high quality, and the furnishing are plush.

360-degree views

Lagoon saloons have huge windows at eye level offering panoramic views of the Whitsundays, making it feel like you’re in a deluxe hotel room rather than a boat’s cockpit.

Roomy cabins

Most Lagoon models have 3 or 4 cabins with lots of storage space and roomy sleeping arrangements.

Double-berth accommodations, many with individual showers, are standard in Lagoons, making them a perfect choice for larger charter groups (8-10 guests).

Taller sailors will take comfort in knowing that Lagoon cat’s saloons and cabins are famous for being friendly to those high in stature!

Wide exterior spaces

Like the interiors, the decks are spacious and expansive, with many storage compartments and lockers with trampolines and sunbathing areas;

Most Lagoons have U-shaped seating areas. Sliding doors between the exterior and interior spaces provide extra room and ventilation. All parts on the flybridges are easily accessible.

Lagoon catamarans are great if you’re looking for spacious interiors and exteriors and have a large family to consider. They’re perfect for parties, and the sturdy construction and luxurious looks make you feel like you’re living the dream!

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Own the Adventure. Invest in a bareboat

Did you know that the boats in our fleet are privately owned?

Boat owners/investors place their catamarans in our fleet and earn an income each time the boat is hired through Whitsunday Rent a Yacht.

Owning a bareboat is an affordable way of owning a boat. Plus, it has the added benefit of being maintained and looked after by professionals.

To learn more about owning a catamaran in the Whitsundays, read this article about the benefits of bareboat investment.

Why provision for your Whitsundays holiday

Why provision for your Whitsundays holiday

Several Whitsunday provisioning companies cater for holidays and specialise in bareboat charters. They all offer flexible packages which can be customised to fit the budget-conscious or those who want to indulge. While provision might at first seem like a luxury, it...

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Whitsunday Rent a Yacht acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and in particular the Traditional Owners of the Whitsunday's Region, the Gia, Juru and Ngaro People; We recognise their continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

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