The Whitsunday Islands are one of the best sailing destinations in the world.
Whitsunday Rent A Yacht has provided skipper-yourself cruises of the Whitsundays for some three decades. Our fleet includes the best yachts, catamarans and motor cruisers in the business. So…get up and go!
We’re a Whitsunday Tourism Awards finalist
WRAY was a finalist in two categories – Unique Accommodation and Adventure Tourism – in the prestigious 2012 Whitsunday Tourism Awards announced on October 20.
We were also one of 21 businesses nominated in the inaugural People’s Choice award. Congratulations to the category winners – Whitsunday Escape (Unique Accommodation) and Whitsunday Jetski Tours (Adventure Tourism and People’s Choice).
Classic styling – the top of the fleet
For those who prefer to be top of the fleet, the BAVARIA 46 is the yacht to take you there. The rich African mahogany timber interior conveys the sense of the classic yacht.
This outstanding monohull vessel provides four private cabins; three with double beds and the other with two single beds, bunk-style. Skylights and cross-ventilation give a sense of openness.
Facilities include a well-equipped galley for easy food preparation. Enjoy outdoor living on the expansive decks and well-designed cockpit. The BAVARIA 46 is perfect for the discerning yachtie who likes to sail in comfort.
Holiday your way
A Whitsundays charter is one of the most amazing holiday adventures … but you don’t have to take our word for it! Our past charterers include families, groups of friends (old and new), graduates, honeymooners, former sailing buddies … they’ve all relaxed, fished, snorkelled, sailed, bushwalked, spotted whales and more with us.
WRAY has vessels to suit all budgets, so anyone can charter our vessels and have the holiday of a lifetime.
As we move into summer and the northerly trade winds become predominant, don’t forget to try fantastic bays such as Chance Bay on Whitsunday Island for overnight anchorage.
With beautiful beaches and good snorkeling, it’s a great anchorage for staying the day. Part of the new walking track, the Ngaro Sea Trail, leads from Chance Bay to Whitehaven Beach offering sublime views from its look-out vantage points.
Learn the ropes
We’ve recently formed affiliations with some highly respected sailing schools, which allows their students to test and hone their skills in the country’s premier sailing destination.
But it also encourages our valued charterers to brush up on their sailing skills with the experts before they arrive for charter. Find out about our local Whitsunday Marine Academy, or other sailing schools Australia-wide. Courses are also available in power boating.
Recommended anchorages. Where to go, what to see, where to anchor overnight
Bauer Bay (South Molle Island)
Bauer Bay, home to Koala Adventure Island Resort, is the best anchorage from which to explore the kilometres of National Park walking tracks on South Molle Island.
There are moorings available in the bay, but you can also anchor on the eastern side of the jetty and access the walking tracks at no additional cost. If you intend visiting the resort, make contact on VHF channel 16 and announce your arrival before going ashore. Take the dinghy to the jetty, not the beach.
Cateran Bay (Border Island)
Cateran Bay, on the northern side of Border Island, is the perfect anchorage from which to enjoy lunch on board your vessel before walking to the top of the grassy island ridge (Mosstrooper Peak), which boasts 360-degree views of the area.
The island appears surreal with its low shrubs and grass trees ‘standing guard’ amongst the bushy thicket. Exotic bush orchids, with their metre-long flower spikes, cling to the rocky outcrops and the bird life is abundant. On the northern side, Cateran Bay is well protected from the Whitsundays’ trade winds and offers excellent snorkelling.
Reef protection buoys have been installed to prevent further damage to the island’s excellent fringing reef.
Blue Pearl Bay, Hayman Island Resort (Hayman Island)
On the north-western side of Hayman Island – a private island of astonishing natural beauty – is lovely Blue Pearl Bay, offering another superb overnight anchorage and and some of the best snorkelling and diving opportunities in the Whitsundays.
The water here is deep, just off the fringing reef, gradually shelving to the shore while it meanders its way around countless bommies and coral ledges.
What better way to end the perfect day than with a snorkel in the turquoise, warm waters and the chance of spotting a turtle, dolphin, manta ray or a school of brightly coloured tropical fish?
Of course, Hayman Island is the home of Australasia’s most awarded luxury nature resort – the five-star, world-class Hayman Island Resort. Hayman’s pool, in particular, is famous.
For years, Hayman has been the holiday destination of choice for Australian and international celebrities.
Island dress and conduct standards apply. There is no overnight berthing allowed in the marina unless you are booked into the resort.
Butterfly Bay, Maureen’s Cove, Luncheon Bay, Manta Ray Bay, Pinnacle Bay (Hook Island)
The northern side of Hook Island is where you need to be if you want to experience the Great Barrier Reef and all it has to offer.
The numerous bays which line the northern end of Hook Island -including Butterfly Bay, Maureen’s Cove, Luncheon Bay, Manta Ray Bay and Pinnacle Bay – provide some of the best snorkelling conditions of the region and in the right conditions, visibility is superb.
Pinnacle Bay is named for the 12 coral cones which dot the ocean floor of the bay, offering some great hideouts for a range of marine animals.
When snorkelling and diving around this group, expect to see an amazing variety of coral species and marine creatures including enormous clams, huge gropers, sea turtles, dolphins, sting rays and large schools of colourful tropical fish.
After a day of underwater activity, make your way to either North Mackerel on the eastern side of Hook Island or Butterfly Bay on the northern side for overnight anchorage – your choice will be guided by the wind direction.
Butterfly Bay is a one kilometre long, cozy bay which offers great protection from the south east trade winds. There are nine public moorings in the bay – aimed at minimizing the human impact on the coral and the risk of damage to the reef in this sensitive ecological area.
If you venture ashore at Butterfly Bay and explore the creeks at certain times of the year, the bush is clouded with thousands of blue butterflies.
Cid Harbour, Dugong Inlet (Whitsunday Island)
Approximately two hours’ sailing from from the Whitsunday Rent A Yacht base at Shute Harbour is Cid Harbour. Situated on the western side of Whitsunday Island, it is a popular first night anchorage for Whitsunday Rent A Yacht sailors. One of the Whitsundays’ great all-weather anchorages, Cid Harbour was occasionally used as an anchorage by the Australian and allied navies during World War II.
The main anchorage, at Sawmill Beach, is off a shoaling sandy beach edged with reef. If you’re feeling adventurous, climb through the rainforest over spring fed streams and palm forests to the top of the 437 metre high Whitsunday Peak – the perfect activity for cooler Whitsunday days. Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time before the sun sets for this walk and take plenty of water and sun screen. Watch for majestic sea eagles swooping the waves for small fish. For the less energetic, the bush walk from Sawmill Beach to a beautiful secluded beach at Dugong Inlet – another anchorage located on the northern side of Cid Harbour – is well worthwhile. Expect to encounter large, lazy goannas, wallabies and lots of bird life!
The next morning, take your dinghy ashore and go for a bush walk through the lush rain forest which will be throbbing with bird song. Then be enticed back on board your vessel by the aroma of a sizzling barbecue breakfast. All vessels are supplied with barbecues mounted on the stern.
At 8am you will be contacted on your first scheduled radio call. These are conducted every morning and provide you with a weather forecast while we record your plans for the day. We also conduct a 4pm schedules to ensure you are safely tucked in for the night.
Hamilton Harbour (Hamilton Island)
Hamilton Harbour, Hamilton Island, is marked by port and starboard beacons.
The harbour is dredged to 2.4 metres at low water throughout, deeper in the channel that runs just off the marina to the main jetties at the head of the harbour.
Radio ahead to the harbour master on VHF 16/68 to arrange a berth. Call again on arrival and you will be directed to a berth or mooring, located beside the Hamilton Island Yacht Club.
Marina surrounds include a wide range of shops, bakery, chemist, general store, restaurants, marina tavern, as well as Hamiltion’s famous ‘Trader Pete’s.’ If the mood dictates, hire a buggy and go exploring. The overnight fee entitles you to ‘the keys to the island’.
Near Hamilton Island is Gulnare Inlet, a very protected anchorage with a few shallow spots on the way in – it is best to enter on a rising tide.
From Nara Inlet and Cid Harbour, cruise to the western side of Hook Island (the second largest island in the Whitsunday group) then north to Langford Island – a delightful day time stopover with the reef and sand spit emerging at low tide and disappearing at high tide.
Langford Island has the feel of both a continental island and a true coral quay. The long sand spit is a great exploration, picnic and sunbathing spot.
The diving is sensational with easy, beach water entry – absolutely perfect for first time scuba divers. The best diving is found on the north-western end of the beach where scattered bommies offer an interesting maze to explore and there are a few shallow walls at the eastern end of the island. The abundant fish life is mostly small.
Snorkellers will enjoy the ability to snorkel straight off the length of the beach, with the best areas to explore being closest to the island.
Navigation can be tricky here, so refer to your chart and the ‘100 Magic Miles’ guide book.
Lindeman Island, Shaw Island
Lindeman Island boasts about 700 hectares of World Heritage National Parkland and you can explore some of the more remote parts via more than 20 kilometres of bushwalking tracks.
Take the time to walk to the top of Mount Oldfield, which is 212 metres above sea level, and be rewarded with breathtaking, 360-degree views of Pentecost, Hamilton and Whitsunday Islands.
Lindeman Island has seven stunning beaches with Gap Beach a fantastic location for snorkelling and oystering.
Golden orchids grow on the mangroves at the end of the beach and over 90 species of birds dart through the trees.
Dolphins can often be spotted all through the year. Watch for humpback whales from July to November.
There are a number of tiny islands dotted around Lindeman – all a short dinghy ride away and perfect for a day of personal paradise.
The jetty is public and may be used for unloading/loading passengers or to tie up the dinghy.
Nearby, uninhabited Shaw Island is rugged and spectacular. Cruise to the south-west to anchor off Burning Point.
Historically, Happy Bay at the northern end of Long Island and home of the Long Island Resort, has been a popular first-night anchorage for bareboat charterers.
It’s perfect for those who haven’t time to get to another overnight anchorage after their briefing at Shute Harbour but want to get on their way rather then spending their first night at Shute.
If you wish to overnight at Happy Bay, radio ahead on VHF Channel 16 to advise of your arrival time and book a mooring with the watersports manager.
Long Island itself is a national park and boasts several good walking tracks through vine forests with views of the Narrows (between the island and the mainland) and of the Whitsunday Passage to seaward. The walking tracks are suitable for all ages and abilities and offer a chance to spot some wonderful bird life and local fauna.
Nara Inlet, Macona Inlet (Hook Island)
Nara Inlet is a narrow, deep, three kilometre, fiord-like inlet with steep, heavily wooded embankments.
If there have been recent showers, small waterfalls tumble down the rocky faces to the shore and provide a refreshing bath – perfect if you’ve just tackled the climb to explore the Aboriginal cave site with its ancestral aboriginal rock paintings.
It’s easy to get to for anyone with reasonable health and adequate footwear.
A short, 300-metre walk past the caves is a flat, rocky outcrop – perfect for taking stunning photos of your vessel looking back down the inlet. An opportunity not to be missed.
Nara Inlet is very protected and suitable as an overnight anchorage in all weather. The fishing conditions are excellent and there are lots of oysters to gather from the rocky shores at low tide – providing the perfect freshly caught seafood dinner on the deck of your boat as the sun sets over the Whitsundays.
Choose anchorages right at the top of the inlet, as they are the most protected. Surrounded on three sides by steep, rocky faces covered with ferns, palms and other rainforest plants, they are near both the main waterfall and the Aboriginal cave site.
Nearby Macona Inlet is a sister bay to Nara Inlet and also provides protection in most weather conditions.
Shute Harbour, where Whitsunday Rent A Yacht is based, is the focal point of communications between the mainland and the Whitsunday Islands.
Protected in all weathers, it is surrounded by the lofty hills of the Conway Range. It is the best mainland natural harbour for some kilometres along this stretch of the south-central coast of Queensland.
When you arrive at Whitsunday Rent a Yacht’s base, you’ll meet your briefer in our comfortable reception area and be prepared for charter with a three-hour briefing.
Before your briefing, you may load your personal belongings on board your vessel. If we have organised your provisions, these will already be stowed for you.
The briefing consists of an area brief and a practical boat familiarisation session.
Your personal cruise guide will take you for a test run of your vessel to ensure you and your crew are confident in its handling. Then you are ready to cast off for your first overnight anchorage, either Nara Inlet or Cid Harbour.
The one you choose will depend on the amount of time left after your briefing before the 4pm VHF radio schedule – as all vessels are required to be anchored by then.
Stonehaven (Hook Island)
Stonehaven, to the east of Langford Reef, on the north western shores of Hook Island, is an expansive three-kilometre long open bay with a 400-metre mountain range on the eastern side and the best sunsets in the Whitsundays to the western side. Be sure to sit back on the deck with a refreshing drink and your camera at the ready as the sunsets are not to be missed. There are three anchorage areas to choose from.
Between Baird Point and Ian Point is a small beach split in two by a large rock outcrop. This is probably the best anchorage to minimize the often very strong bullets of wind coming down of the hills in strong southerly conditions.
The next anchorage, between Ian Point and Anchor Point, has a small coral lagoon with two public moorings located inside.
The next anchorage is located north of Anchorage Point. You’ll find a row of public moorings here.
Stonehaven can be a little gusty in very strong winds but is a very secure anchorage and well worth the visit. Put down plenty of anchor line.
Tongue Bay (Whitsunday Island)
After a relaxing lunch stop at Border Island, head to Tongue Bay, Whitsunday Island – a large overnight anchorage offering a secure haven for keel boaters.
The depth is fairly shallow and the holding is good.
Tongue Bay is where you will find access to the lookout loop and recently upgraded viewing platform to the amazing Hill Inlet, with its pure white sandy shoals and pristine beaches.
Here you are likely to see an array of lagoon rays and green sea turtles bobbing in the clear blue seas, so don’t forget your camera.
It is here at Hill Inlet that you will experience for yourself the picture perfect turquoise waters and white silica sand that has become the trademark of the Whitsunday Islands.
Take the time to descend the walking track onto Betty’s Beach and experience for yourself what it is like to feel the tropical warm waters on your toes whilst gazing out over the inlet to Whitehaven Beach in the distance.
If the tides are in your favour you may even be lucky enough to catch this amazing vista at sunset. Simply spectacular.
Turtle Bay, Chance Bay (Whitsunday Island)
Turtle Bay, on the craggy shores at the bottom of Whitsunday Island, is made up of a beautiful series of bays just east of Fitzalan Passage.
Chance Bay, also on the southern end of Whitsunday Island, is a double bay with two beautiful sand beaches.
As with other south-exposed anchorages along these islands, this one is risky for overnight use during the April to September trade winds season.
The largest island in the group, Whitsunday Island is uninhabited and blanketed in lush green vegetation dotted with majestic Hoop pines.
You will notice Whitsunday Peak, which reaches 437 metres above sea level and is a great landmark for navigation as it can be seen from virtually all directions.
As you cruise through the narrow Fitzallen Pass, you will also skim the northern side of Hamilton Island.
Whitehaven Beach (Whitsunday Island), Chalkies Beach (Haselwood Island)
On a calm day, the northern end of Whitehaven Beach can provide a suitable anchorage for you to explore the beach and Hill Inlet from a whole new perspective.
As soon as you arrive it’s easy to see why it is the most photographed beach in Australia and has been named ‘Queensland’s Most Beautiful Beach’ by ‘Keep Australia Beautiful’ and Queensland’s Friendliest Beach more than once.
At your leisure, stroll the length of Whitehaven’s six kilometres of pure white silica sand and clear turquoise sea to experience Australia’s most famous beach,
The best overnight anchorage is off the rocky point at the beach’s south end.
Spend the day relaxing on the beach itself, take a picnic, your esky and enjoy a game of beach cricket, a swim in the shallows or an hour or two of peace and relaxation. Then, return to your vessel for a delicious dinner with indisputably one of the best views in the world.
For an alternative overnight anchorage or day time stop in certain wind conditions, head east to Haselwood Island and anchor at Chalkies Beach on the western side. Some call Chalkies Beach a mini Whitehaven as it too is blessed with pure white silica sand.
Apostle Bay, to the north of Whitehaven, is a good alternative if Whitehaven is crowded.