Review: Two night Whitsunday sailing tour takes guests on a voyage of discovery
The Queensland Whitsunday Islands are endlessly fascinating as a travel destination, and this fully-accommodated two night sailing and snorkelling trip will introduce you to the very best of the region. Enjoy the trademark crystal clear waters, white sandy beaches, languid days and balmy nights of this magical part of the world. Review: Katherine Sellers
Two night Whitsunday sailing tour with Wings Whitsunday Adventures
This all-inclusive two night Whitsunday sailing tour offers the chance to explore the fabulous marine paradise around Queensland’s Whitsunday Islands. Cruise, snorkel and relax in one of Australia’s most pristine natural environments. Duration: 2 days/2 nights
Best price guarantee: If you find this tour elsewhere at a cheaper price, we will beat it by 10%. Some conditions apply. There are no booking or credit card fees when you book this tour with The Big Bus tour and travel guide.
It feels like I’m at an international convention as I meet my fellow passengers for our three day/two night Whitsunday sail and snorkel adventure.
As I climb on board the sleek catamaran, I strike up a conversation with two German girls. They’re on an extended holiday in Australia and have been keen to tick a Whitsunday sailing trip off their list of must-do activities.
It’s a warm morning as we set off from Abell Point Marina in Airlie Beach with Wings Whitsunday Adventures. There are 22 people on board, including two crew and the skipper. As we hoist the sails and relax on deck we are soon cooled by the south-easterly Coral Sea breeze.
It’s about a two hour sail to our first snorkel site at Blue Pearl Bay, Hayman Island. After a safety briefing we pile into the dinghy with our snorkelling gear and plunge into the shallows to enter another world.
There are loads of tropical fish of all shapes and sizes milling around, including the resident Maori Wrasse. He’s as big as a refrigerator and his iridescent green and blue markings are striking as he swims right past us without a care in the world.
We also find Nemo, a clownfish, lurking in the anemone — the only fish protected from its nasty sting. The coral is abundant, in various colours and shades; sprawling purple staghorn, swaying red sea fans and brown tiered coral discs.
A platter of tasty pre-dinner snacks materialises on deck as the sky turns different shades of orange on our way to Hook Passage, the first night’s anchorage on these Whitsunday sailing adventures.
Following dinner our crew presents an informative slide show of typical marine life in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, before we stretch out on deck for some quiet star-gazing.
Early the next morning as we round the hoop pine covered rocky outcrop at the northern end of Whitsunday Island, we see a white-breasted sea eagle soaring above with its enormous wing span of around two metres. Then in the shallow waters of Tongue Bay, the odd turtle bobs to the surface for air.
Donning hats, sunscreen, shoes and swimwear we are transferred by dinghy to Whitsunday Island National Park to spend the morning lazing in the sand and paddling in the aquamarine sea.
It’s a short uphill walk through the dry vine forest teeming with butterflies for the most spectacular view. Whitehaven Beach stretches out before us — seven kilometres of 99.89% pure white silica sand that sweeps its way up into Hill Inlet, in perfect contrast with the brilliant blue water. It’s one of the absolute highlights of these two night Whitsunday sailing tours.
Feet washed and back on board, we weigh anchor and head north for another snorkel, this time at Manta Ray Bay. As the name suggests, these harmless majestic creatures can often be spotted in the area, usually in the cooler months, along with humpback whales that have migrated from the Southern Ocean to the warmer Whitsunday waters to breed.
It’s a pretty snorkelling site with many bomboras topped with large plate coral and bushy corals of varying shades of purple, surrounded by neon blue Damselfish and shimmering blue-green Chromis.
After such a big day, the BBQ dinner on the back deck is a welcome feast. We all retire early, the only sound the water lapping gently against the hull.
Langford Island is a last opportunity for snorkelling on these Whitsunday sailing adventures, before the boat heads home to Airlie Beach. This tiny national park is a long sand spit, dependent on the tide level, with abundant coral and fish life in the shallow water running parallel.
I help hoist the sails for the final leg of this journey, bringing to a close the trip of a lifetime in this beautiful marine park. It feels too soon to be back in civilisation and I have no doubt I will return.
Additional images: Bigstock
About the writer
Katherine Sellers has a background in hospitality and tourism around Australia and the UK. She has travelled to over 30 countries and has worked in country pubs and resorts in England and Wales, been a travel agent in Sydney and Brisbane, a croupier for high rollers on Christmas Island, a reservationist at Jenolan Caves House and Palm Bay Whitsundays, a guesthouse manager on Lord Howe Island and in Victoria’s High Country and a hostess on board a luxury catamaran sailing the Ningaloo Reef. Recently Katherine completed a lap of the country with her husband in their Toyota Coaster motorhome, taking about two years to do so. When she’s not flitting about the country visiting new and familiar places, she cruises the calm azure waters of the Whitsunday Islands and puts pen to paper.