Nara Inlet: The Best Anchorage in the Whitsundays

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Nara Inlet: The Best Anchorage in the Whitsundays

If you’re chartering a yacht in the Whitsundays, make sure you stop in at the stunning Nara Inlet to enjoy protection from winds, incredible scenery and a fascinating cultural site.

What's so good about Nara Inlet? Ask that question to anyone at the Rent a Yacht office and they will tell you, pretty much everything!

In this post, we will share everything you need to know about staying at Nara Inlet and make sure you know about the amazing sites and activities in this special corner of the Whitsunday Islands. 

If you are interested in looking at all of the anchorage options around the Whitsundays, make sure you head over to our interactive anchorage map of the Whitsundays.

Nara Inlet Whitsunday Islands

Why Nara Inlet is the best anchorage

Nara Inlet is easy to get to and being on the South of Hook Island, it’s central to many other popular sites in the Whitsundays. As the name suggests, the anchorage is in an inlet making Nara the most protected anchorage in the Whitsundays. When you spend the night tucked into Hook Island, you’re protected from the north, south-east and west, meaning you're likely to have a relaxing evening.

It’s not only peaceful but incredibly scenic. The waters at Nara are very still with steeply wooded hills on either side. You’ll notice those awesome, craggy hilltops reaching for the sky-high up on the left side as one navigates deeper into the anchorage. Keep an eye out for the goats hanging out on the rocks.

Nara Inlet is spacious.  Dozens of boats can anchor almost anywhere down the two-mile stretch of the inlet and still have masses of swing room.

Perhaps one of the most exciting attractions for nature loves is the abundance of wildlife. Home to many dolphins, turtles, a family of white-bellied sea eagles, brahminy kites, cockatoos, bush turkeys and a variety of egrets and herons you're bound to enjoy getting up close to some of the Whitsundays "local residence". And don't forget, at certain times of the year, you're very likely to be enjoying the company of Humpback Whales around the entrance to Nara Inlet!

Nara Inlet Whistundays

How to access and anchor at Nara Inlet safely

When you enter Nara Inlet, avoid the shallow reefs by staying on the starboard side.

We recommend that you stay clear of Refuge Bay because there are some tricky coral bommies and reef in this area.

You’re likely to be anchoring in a depth range of between 7 to 9 metres, therefore be prepared to have between 30 to 40 metres of chain out even before you connect your mooring bridle (catamarans) or mooring snubber (monohulls). Remember to let even more chain out in the unlikely event of high overnight winds. Golden Rule: “If in doubt, let more out!” 

Nara has heavy-duty mud on the seafloor, which makes for great anchor holding. The downside is you'll need to wash off this mud from your anchor and chain as you retrieve it before leaving, but that's a very small price to pay for the security of a peaceful nights sleep.

Things to Do at Nara Inlet

  • Snorkelling: For fantastic snorkelling spots, check out False Nara Inlet which is to the West of the entrance to Nara Inlet and Ravens Cove to the East of the entrance.
  • Kayaking and stand up paddleboarding: The calm waters and interesting rock formations are perfect for exploring from a board.
  • Fishing for live bait and Giant Trevally is often successful at Nara.
  • Walk in the rainforest: The forest is lush on this end of Hook Island. Make sure you go for a walk in the wet season to hear all sorts of tropical forest sounds.
  • Please note that swimming is now not recommended in Nara Inlet due to revised SharkSmart guidelines.

Nara Inlet Waterfall Whitsundays
Photo C/O Queensland Tourism and Events

Attractions at Nara Inlet

  • Visit the Ngaro Aboriginal cultural site. The site has caves with Aboriginal art stretching back 9 thousand years. At the furthest, Northerly end of the Inlet, you will see a landing which is the beginning of a short 170m walk taking you up to the caves. It’s well-marked and accessible to all fitness levels with interactive displays explaining the significance of the site and artwork.
  • Climb the steep path up to the western side of the inlet for a spectacular view
  • If you visit in the wet season, you will see a waterfall running up near the caves.
  • At the bottom of the inlet, you will find a stunning fresh-water rock pool to take a dip in

Few anchorages in the Whitsundays offer as many attractions and as much protection as Nara Inlet, it's so special you might want to add an extra night here to your itinerary.


Join us in the Whitsundays and enjoy the freedom to explore

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