Three generations in my family embarked on an adventure to sail the Whitsundays. Dad is an "old salty" and taking the family on a sailing holiday has always been on his bucket list, so we indulged him and booked dads trip of a lifetime.
It actually ended up being an experience we all loved because cruising the Whitsundays is not just about being on a boat; there is so much to see and do.
We sailed GiGi, 43.4” Beneteau yacht hired through Whitsunday Rent a Yacht. Our crew consisted of my baby boomer parents, my husband and I and our kids aged 2 and 4.
In this post, we share why our family loved sailing the Whitsundays, the advantages of self-skippering (bareboating) your own yacht and why I always tell my friends to add a family sailing holiday to their bucket list.
The Whitsunday Islands are a world-class sailing location comparable to Greece, the Caribbean or Tahiti. The national park islands, water and beaches are paradise on earth and it's an absolute privilege to experience them. I would argue that the Whitsunday Islands is one of the most pristine sailing locations in the world.
With 74 islands to choose from when you and your family sail the Whitsundays, you’re spoilt for choice. By self skippering your private yacht as opposed to going on a group tour, you're able to choose where you want to visit and for how long. You can go at your own pace. There is nothing better than arriving at a beach you love and having the freedom to decided that you want to stay longer.
The team at Whitsunday Rent A Yacht provided us with an itinerary to follow before leaving. They asked us what we were interested in doing and took the weather conditions into account before writing down a guide of the best places for us to visit. I highly recommend getting advice from the staff before you head off to make the most of the weather conditions and your time.
For the members of our crew who were not as salty as my dad, the highlights involved experiencing the islands up close and from the land. It’s not just about sailing when you hire a private yacht for a holiday. We loved taking the dinghy to shore and exploring island beaches no one else had walked on. The boys loved building sandcastles for hours and a few family members enjoyed the walking trails through the national parks.
Activities to enjoy on a family sailing holiday in the Whitsundays include:
Have a chat to the staff at Whitsunday Rent A Yacht in the planning stages of your trip so they can make sure you have all the extra gear you need. Or, you can always bring your own.
A family sailing holiday in the Whitsundays is an opportunity to bring everyone together and to share quality time. When you get the boat under sail, there is a job for everyone no matter what generation they are from.
Sailing is a fantastic activity for school-aged kids who will learn about working as a team and pushing themselves. They will be a part of the crew and take on the responsibility to keep the boat shipshape. Kids who learn about sailing are being given an opportunity to build self-confidence.
We sailed with younger children and thankfully they didn't run out of entertainment ideas and were never bored. The kids loved being with their grandparents 24/7 and we spent a lot of time on the islands so they were always experiencing new places.
Bareboating with kids is definitely a holiday I can recommend.
Any modern parent will tell you that there is a juggle with screen time in their family. One of the things we loved most about our Whitsundays family sailing trip was the opportunity to unplug from devices and the TV. Kids thrive in nature and sometimes as parents all we have to do is provide them with the opportunities to immerse themselves in the outdoors.
Sleeping under the stars was a huge highlight for our kids and they seemed to sleep really well for naps. We think being away from screens and the rocking of the boat with the sound of the gentle waves was soothing them.
You can't sail the Whitsundays without a visit to the world-famous, award-winning Whitehaven Beach. Often voted one of the best beaches in the world, Whitehaven is known for its crystal white sand which stretches 7km. There are a lot of day visitors to the beach, with seaplanes and day charters popping in and out but if you're on your own yacht you can dodge the crowds.
Whitehaven Beach isn't just about the amazing sand. We spotted turtles, hiked to the famous Hill Inlet lookout and took the kids on a mini walk through the bush where they met their first goanna AKA dinosaur.
In our family, we thought the best time of every day on our sailing adventure was at sunset. We would sit on the back deck, share a cheese plater, give the kids a “bubbly drink” and pop a special bubbly drink for the adults too. It’s one of those moments where you get to stop and soak it all in. If you’re like us, you’ll pinch yourself when your family shares a sunset over the coral sea from your own private luxury yacht!
I will admit before we did our trip I had some safety concerns. I was wondering if we were experienced enough to sail the Whitsunday without a professional skipper. However, after meeting the team at Whitsunday Rent A Yacht and receiving our handover and briefing, our concerns were put at ease.
We were also offered the option to have extra guidance from a professional and highly experienced sail guide for an additional day or even the whole trip if we wanted.
Throughout our trip, we were given constant radio support from the head office at Shute Harbour where all of our queries and questions were addressed.
We loved sailing and were able to get the Beneteau working beautifully thanks to the supportive team. But if sailing is not your thing, you can always put the motor on. All of the vessels at Rent a Yacht are motorised.
Sailing the Whitsundays as a family was a holiday mixed with adventure, action, exploration and relaxation. We had such a good time we've started planning our next family sailing holiday!
Emily and her family are currently living in a caravan and travelling around Australia. They make websites from the road and also run a blog about working while travelling Australia called Websites From A Van.
You can follow Emily’s journey on Facebook or Instagram
Join us for a family sailing holiday in the Whitsundays and enjoy the freedom to explore.
Contact us 1800 075 000 or firstname.lastname@example.org