Sailing Holiday in Australia | Whitsunday Rent a Yacht

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What Sailing Holiday in Australia is right for you?

Are you wondering where you’re next sailing holiday in Australia will be and how a yacht charter works. This post is for you.

If you’re dreaming of a sailing holiday in Australia, you can’t go past the world-class scenery and ideal sailing conditions found in Queensland’s Whitsundays.

With a destination decision made, you need to choose the type of sailing holiday you want -  a skippered or bareboat charter and you'll probably want to find out the costs of a charter too.

In this post, we’ll share how to choose which Australian sailing holiday suits you and details on sailing in the Whitsundays, the best place for sailing in Australia.

Sailing Holiday Australia

What Sailing holiday in Australia is right for you?

Bareboat sailing holidays

Bareboat charters are sailing holidays without a professional crew. You skipper the boat yourself, giving you the freedom and flexibility to set your itinerary.

Pros of a bareboat holiday

  • Freedom to decide where you go and how long you stay
  • Cater for your crew the way you like
  • Plan your holiday to be around the activities you enjoy eg. relaxing, snorkelling, hiking or sailing.

Cons to a bareboat holiday

  • You need to operate the boat yourselves which can be daunting if you have minimal boating experience.
  • Manoeuvring the boat between locations requires "all hands on deck", which means you can't just kick back and let someone else do the driving, anchoring and navigating.

Skippered Sailing holidays

A skippered charter can range from a group sailing trip with other travellers you've never met to privately hiring a high-end yacht with a skipper and possibly additional professional crew members.

You can hire a boat usually reserved for bareboat charters and add a sail guide who acts like a skipper but with more of a focus on helping you learn to operate the vessel. Alternatively, some charter boat operators in Airlie Beach provide a fully crewed boat you can hire as a package.

Pros to a skippered charter

  • Skippers provide peace of mind for those looking to relax. Having a skipper will mean you can kick back and relax.
  • If you hire a boat usually reserved for bareboat hire, a skipper/sail guide will show you how to operate the boat, and if you are confident, they can leave you to continue as a bareboat charter.
  • Skippers are locals and will share local knowledge
  • You can set the itinerary and decide where you want to go, just like on a bareboat charter

Cons to a skippered charter

  • You need to provide a cabin and food for the skipper
  • Skippers are an additional cost on top of the yacht hire

Sailing Australia holiday

Where can you sail for a holiday in Australia?

There are several locations around Australia where you can hire a yacht for a sailing holiday. The Whitsundays, The Fraser Coast and The Gippsland Lakes are the most well-known bareboat holiday destinations, with places like WA's Ningaloo Reef and Sydney Harbour also offering smaller operations.

The Whitsundays in Queensland is Australia’s original yachting mecca and bareboat destination with thousands of private boat owners and sailing holiday guests visiting the region annually. 

The Whitsundays are completely set up for allowing visitors to take out catamarans and yachts for holidays in a safe way. The 74 Whitsundays Islands are protected by the outer Great Barrier Reef providing protected sailing conditions. Furthermore, the Island's proximity to the Mainland makes them easily accessible to holidaymakers, tourism operators and any help that may be needed.

Adding to the spectacular scenery, there are numerous things to do around the islands, opportunities to stop in at island resorts, and premium sailing conditions.

Anyone can enjoy a sailing holiday in the Whitsundays because you don't need a boat license to hire a yacht in the region. Most established bareboat charter companies will train their guests on how to operate their vessels, with the option to add a sail guide for those who need to build their confidence. 

Whitsunday Rent a Yacht is the original bareboat charter company in the Whitsundays. We've been operating from Shute Harbour since the late 70s!

What does a sailing holiday in Australia cost?

When determining the cost of a sailing holiday, the factors you need to consider are duration, number of people, type of boat, and time of year.

Luxury newer boats will always cost more to hire than older vessels. Skippered or crewed charters are more expensive than bareboat.

When you look at boat hire prices, remember to add petrol and your food and drinks on top of the boat hire costs. Also, if you wish to stay at an island resort in the Whitsundays, you will need to pay a berthing or mooring fee.

The cheapest way to charter a yacht in the Whitsundays

You may have heard that renting out boat for a holiday is not cheap, but there are ways to make a sailing holiday within reach for the budget-conscious

  1. Charter in the low season (summer in the Whitsundays)

  2. Adding more people to your crew. A crew of 8-10 ends up being the same if not cheaper than a hotel with sea views.

  3. Charter a monohull; they are cheaper than catamarans

Learn more about what it costs to charter a yacht in the Whitsundays:  How much does it cost to charter a yacht in the Whitsundays


What is a sailing holiday in the Whitsundays like?

The Newton family charted with us in October 2021 for their dad's 60th. Check out the amazing water at Whitehaven, their awesome sailing skills and the tuna catch. Oh, and enjoy the tunes!

4 Boys and a Caravan charter with us back in September. Their boys absolutely loved snorkelling and we reckon they caught one of the best sunsets we've seen captured from the Islands.


Contact Whitsunday Rent a Yacht for your Sailing Holiday in Australia

Contact us 1800 075 000 or