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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.

Catamaran hire in the Whitsundays is akin to or as simple as hiring a motor home. It's called bareboating; you hire a fully equipped catamaran, learn how to operate your vessel and then set out to explore the islands at your own pace.

In this post, we'll outline common questions around hiring a catamaran in the Whitsunday Islands, as well as look at the different types of catamarans available for hire in our fleet, Lagoon and Leopard.

catamaran hire whitsunday islands

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

The Whitsunday Islands are one of 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.
  • There are diverse marine environments to explore around the different islands 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 bareboaters 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 lovely most of the year.

catamaran hire whitsundays

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.

 catamaran hire PRICEs

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, there are summer temperatures 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 a different pro and con to consider. 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 you're able to sail at your own pace.

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 include a thorough introduction to your vessel, its fittings and your cruising area, as well as itinerary tips.

When you hire a bareboat, you need to bring your personal items 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 boats in the Whitsunday Rent a Yacht fleet. 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.

Skippered charters are slightly different and not an option on all of our boats. A skippered charter is when the skipper is fully responsible for the operation of the vessel. Our Leopard 50, a larger and newer boat, is available for skippered charter in the Whitsundays.

catamaran hire whitsundays

Catamaran Brands in the Whitsunday Rent a Yacht fleet

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

In the Whitsunday Rent a Yacht fleet, we mainly have two catamaran brands,  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

The majority of the 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 live aboard in comfort. 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. Comparatively, many other cruising boats have controls in different areas, so you need to move around or have multiple people working at once. Better yet, the raised helm station of a Leopard provides the best panoramic vantage point of the Islands surroundings.

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.

Hire a catamaran Whitsunday Islands

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 plush and pleasant.

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 accommodation, many with individual showers, are common in Lagoons making them a perfect choice 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 have U-shaped seating areas. There are sliding doors between the exterior and interior spaces, providing 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!

Catamaran for hire whitsunday Islands

Featured catamarans for hire in the Whitsundays

Leopard 50: Point of Sail

Catamaran hire whitsundays Leopard 50

Leopard 44: Toy Buoy

Catamaran hire Whitsundays Leopard

Lagoon 400: Chantilly

catamaran hire whitsunday islands


Purchase a catamaran as an investment

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

Boat owners place their catamarans or monohulls in our fleet to earn an income each time they are hired through Whitsunday Rent a Yacht. We maintain the vessel and look after it from our private facilities in Shute Harbour.

To learn more about how you can own a catamaran in the Whitsundays while having it maintained and working for you, head to the investment page of our website.






Hire a catamaran in the Whitsunday Islands and enjoy the freedom to explore.
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