If you’re on a trip around Australia, you’re already living the dream. When you look back, it’s impossible to regret the perspective life on the road creates and the unique experiences you’re able to undertake.
Life on the road is a life of freedom, allowing you to do things you’ve always dreamed of doing; bucket list items such as sailing the Whitsundays.
Read on to learn tips on hiring a yacht while you’re travelling Australia, recommendations on logistics such as van storage and common questions from long term travellers.
Why add a Whitsundays sailing adventure to your trip around Australia
You can get the best rates
When living out of a van or caravan, you have the advantage of being on holiday while everyone else is at work or school. Look for off-peak rates, away from school holidays to get yourself a bargain.
Tick a fantastic experience off your bucket list
While you’re on the road, take advantage of the freedom and time you have to enjoy those once in a lifetime experiences you may not have the chance to do again.
Slow down after being on the move
Life on the road can be a bit hectic, moving to new places every three days, researching where to go and heading into the unknown. Rather than deciding where to go, allocate a week or more to immerse yourself in one location – the natural beauty of the 74 tropical Whitsunday islands.
Share your Whitsundays sailing adventure with your travel mates
Everyone who has made a trip around Australia will tell you that the best thing about living in a van is the people you meet. You will find that you keep seeing the same familiar faces in the most unlikely places and you form some pretty strong bonds.
Why not join forces with your new travel friends and share hiring a catamaran or yacht?
Travelling families will love the kids having other kids to play with, so the adults can have a holiday too. Couples will enjoy the company of a new fishing buddy or ear to chat to.
Common questions from guests on a trip around Australia.
I don’t have any sailing experience, can we still hire a yacht?
We support all of our guests, no matter what their sailing experience, to have the opportunity to charter a yacht in the Whitsundays. All of our guests will undergo a 3-4 hour briefing of their vessel before their charter.
Additional services we offer novice sailors include
Additional training time:
If you have minimal boating experience and you still want to make a self-sail trip without a sail guide, your briefer can accompany you for the first few hours of your charter. They will ensure you’re confident with operating the boat on your own. The cost is $70 per hour with an offering from 1 to 3 more hours.
Adding a sail guide to your booking:
A sail guide can accompany you for a night or more to ensure you find your feet and are comfortable with navigation and picking up moorings. Please note that sail guides will need a cabin on your vessel.
If you don’t have any sailing experience, when making your booking, let our sales staff know.
To learn more about sailing the Whitsundays without any boating experience visit this post on our blog.
Where can we park the caravan or van?
There are several secure parking options available for caravans and vans when you charter with Whitsunday Rent a Yacht.
1 – Park the van and car with Whitsunday Parking in their undercover, secure storage. They offer valet pick up service from our base at Shute Harbour and will have your vehicle waiting for you when you return.
2 – Store your van at one of the local caravan parks (most offer storage for vans, if you are booked to stay onsite before or after charter)
Is sailing safe with kids?
Many families enjoy sailing the Whitsundays with children of all ages. Sailing and exploring the islands is an adventure the kids will love as they take in new sights, exciting water-based activities and wildlife encounters each day
Of course, with kids, you have to set some safety parameters, and if they are little toddlers, one adult will need to be on the watch.
We recommend all children under 12 wear a lifejacket when they are on deck and out of the saloon area at all times.
You can read more safety tips here.
Tips for planning your Whitsundays Sailing Adventure while on a road trip
Plan and book before your trip around Australia
When you’re in the planning stages of your trip around Australia, why not plan your Whitsundays sailing adventure as well. If you book and pay for your sailing trip before you set off, you won’t feel as if you’re blowing your weekly travel budget!
Pick your timing
Time your trip with the seasons. If you’re living in a van, you’ve probably thought about the best time to travel in the tropics considering the wet season. Each season in the Whitsundays has something different to offer, with the most popular times to visit running over winter and spring.
Consider extra activities to do on your charter
We can hire you stand-up-paddleboards and kayaks. All snorkelling gear is complimentary with your charter.
Book fishing tackle with Airlie Bait & Tackle (07) 4946 6632 who will deliver your gear to our jetty.
Book scuba diving gear with Aqua Dive
Van to yacht isn’t a giant leap
Life on a boat is similar to life in a van in some ways. You’ll be used to living mostly outdoors and going where the wind takes you. Packing light, living together 24/7 and planning your meals around limited kitchen space will also be familiar ways of living.
Research where you want to go, flexibly
Have a look at where you might like to go, but be prepared to adjust your itinerary to the conditions.
Popular destinations include:
- Whitehaven Beach: Voted one of the best beaches in the world, everyone should see Whitehaven at least once. Don’t miss hiking up to Hill Inlet for the breathtaking views over the tidal swirling sands.
- Hamilton Island Marina: A great mid charter stop off to top up on supplies, do some laundry and enjoy the sights of this famous resort island. When you berth at the Hamilton Island marina, you have access to several resort pools. Did someone say swim-up bar?
- Nara Inlet: One of the most popular and protected anchorages in the Whitsundays, Nara Inlet is where you can access the Ngaro art cave and a beautiful waterfall.
- Manta Ray Bay: Found on Hook Island, Manta Ray Bay is an excellent place for snorkelling and spotting friendly fish who will come right up to your boat. The kids will love it.
At the beginning and end of every day, charterers will have a radio call with our base. This is so we know what your plans are and can provide location advice if needed. To learn more about itinerary ideas, you can download our sample itinerary brochures or head to our post on places past charterers recommend.
What other Australian travellers have to say
Many of our guests have traded their vans for yachts, here’s what they had to say.
“This has been bucket list for us for a while now, so we bit the bullet and we’re sailing around the Whitsundays over the next week. To say we are excited is an understatement.
I won’t lie I (Aimee) was pooping myself at first but were in the swing of things now, and I smashed my first Anchor up last night as a deckhand.” – Four Boys and a Caravan
” We’re back to the Whitsundays. Is it on your bucket list? It was on ours. We loved it, so we’re going again. – Trip in a Van
” WHAT A VAN FAMILY, we all only just met & decided let’s hire a yacht. It was the best few days sailing the Whitsundays, seeing whales, dolphins, stingrays, fish & the amazing beaches. We all met through using social media to connect with like-minded people which is pretty cool. – Living Simple Van
“Honey lets trade the van for a yacht.”
“How about for a week then?”
“Where do I sign?” – Websites From a Van
Join us in on your trip around Australia and enjoy the freedom to explore.