Departing from Airlie Beach you’ll never forget this magical two day, one night sailing eco-accredited Great Barrier Reef tour.
Your eco-guide will take you to explore the stunning Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef.
Your safari beach boat is 17.5m (57ft) long and provides spacious, comfortable accommodation. She has large open decks, allowing sunbathing under the tropical sun and plenty of deck seating with also large shaded areas for those wanting to stay cool.
The Whitsundays boast an amazing 74-150 islands (depending on source), which are scattered like a jewelled necklace amongst the shimmering blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef.
The area is rich in marine life and teeming with bio diversity. This makes it the perfect location for discovering the beauty of this pristine wilderness and being immersed in it.
Depending on weather conditions will determine which bays and inlets are visited. One place for sure, is the world famous ‘best beach in Australia’ – Whitehaven Beach.
Guaranteed iconic Whitsunday Island points of interst include Hill Inlet and a guided tour of the wonderful Nara Inlet.
On your Great Barrier Reef tour you can learn how to sail, kayak in pristine coves and bays and snorkel in some of the most stunning snorkel sites in Australia.
For the less active you can recline on the spacious sun decks on pristine beaches and soak up tropical rays or read a book under the shaded area on the boat.
The endless horizon and dots of islands is the backdrop to this amazing safari adventure.
This is your Great Barrier Reef tour on a Whitsundays sailing safari so you can choose just how much or how little you would like to do depending on how your mood takes you and how active you feel like being.
Your knowledgeable guides can take you on a tour into the forests and to stunning look outs.
Learn about Aboriginal culture and the indigenous inhabitants at the Ngaro Sea Trial cultural site, swim in rainwater pools and crystal waterfalls.
Walk to one of the most amazing views in the world of Whitehaven Beach.
Beach Games and Activities
Join the crew in beach fun and games. Play volleyball, beach cricket or just enjoy beachcombing on the pristine beaches.
What a great opportunity whilst you are on a sailing vessel to learn about sailing.
Under the expert tutelage of the crew you will learn how to pull up the sails and have time on the helm steering.
You’ll certainly not wish to be out of the water for long when you see the amazing diversity of exotic fish and coral gardens showcased in the clear aquarium-like conditions of the Great Barrier Reef.
Whether you are a beginner or have a little more experience, the knowledgeable crew will help you to master the techniques involved so you can explore and get the most enjoyment from your safari activities.
At each stop you will be advised on the best places to snorkel and where best marine life is.
All snorkelling equipment is provided with the tour and the crew will ensure that all masks and fins fit properly.
If you don’t swim then buoyancy aids are provided to support you in the water.
Of course, if you just want a quick, cooling dip off the back of the boat in the crystal clear warm tropical waters then that’s fine too!
Keeping dry activities
For a more relaxed experience you can choose just to laze on the decks of the boat and soak up the tropical sun or why not take a kayak to the nearest pristine beach and sunbathe or read on golden sands to the sound of gentle lapping waves.
If you have bought your own wine and beer then have a toast over the azure waters and under the warming sun as you celebrate another day in paradise.
As you anchor in secluded bays, kayaking is the perfect way of exploring your pristine surroundings.
The tour has double seating ocean kayaks, so you can go off and explore with a friend.
The waters in the bays are tranquil, so you won’t have any adverse conditions to contend with.
Paddle over translucent crystal waters and you won’t need a mask to see the beautiful coral formations and the myriad of colourful fish darting under your oars as you paddle.
Your sailing vessel will be a 22m (72ft) single hull ‘beach boat’ that has been specifically designed to cruise these types of seas in comfort and style.
On board, she has plenty of space to accommodate the maximum of 24 passengers that she is licensed for.
The decks are large and open and allow for plenty of room for sunbathing and walking.
For those wanting to keep out of the sun there is a huge aft deck that offers permanent shade for those wanting to hide from the sun.
Living accommodation on your sailing vessel
There are various sleeping berths available on board:
1 x twin bed
1 x three bed
1 x four bed (Galley)
1 x five bed
There are two heads (toilets) and two showers
The snorkelling and mooring destinations on your trip will be dependent on the weather conditions of the day.
The route of your sailing cruise will take you around Langford Island, Bali Hai or Black Island and Hook Island.
This Great Barrier Reef tour specialises in offering an extended stop at Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet and a guided tour of Nara Inlet.
Langford Island is located in the northern Whitsundays and is a popular and stunning spot for sailors and snorkelers.
Langford Island is a small island but it does feature a long sand spit that you can walk on at low tide.
This is a wonderful place for sunbathing, snorkelling and swimming.
The majority of fish life here is of the small reef fish kind, but there are many colourful shoals that will keep any snorkeler entranced by the myriad of colours and reef life.
This Island has many popular snorkel locations with its clear, calm waters, fringing corals and bustling marine life.
Compared to other islands in the Whitsundays this is a baby but because of its shallow aquamarine waters and vast array of marine life it is perfect for snorkelers and a good place to see green sea turtles, colourful corals, exotic fish and giant clams.
Hook Island is surrounded by excellent snorkelling sites and is one of the largest with its 58 sq km size.
It hosts sheltered, deep fjord-like inlets, picturesque bays and ideal kayaking and sailing conditions.
Boasting pristine fringing reefs with turtles, shoals of darting reef fish, dolphins and between June and September you might be lucky to see frolicking humpback whales.
This island also attracts kites, sea eagles and ospreys all taking their pick of the bounteous choice of fish in the waters below.
Nara Inlet is located at the southern end of Hook Island and is a deep fjord-like expanse that is surrounded by plunging lush green slopes that dive into the crystal clear waters and fringing reefs.
You will have a chance, once moored, to have a walk with your guide through the bush to view the Aboriginal caves in the woods that surround the inlet that date back over eight thousand years.
This recently Ngaro Sea Trial cultural site is a must on your itinerary and you’ll learn much about the traditional owners and the history of the Whitsunday Island’s indigenous inhabitants.
Piles of shells and intricate markings and paintings border the area as you move onwards to the rock pools and a stunning cascading waterfall (flowing only in rainy season).
There’s no better place to cool down than in the rainwater-filled pools and showering under a cool crystal waterfall.
Join the crew for a guided walk to the look out at Hill Inlet.
This inlet is located at the northern end of Whitehaven Beach and must be one of the most stunning views in the world.
You will stand on the top of the lookout and at your feet you will witness one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Like an amazing piece of abstract art you will see the curls and swirls of turquoise and blue-green hues as the sea channels twirl like smoke tendrils into the brilliant white sands of the beach.
Best seen at low tide to see the full impact of this effect, this is a sight that will be seared into your memory for a lifetime.
Whitehaven Beach has the title of one of the best beaches in the world – and it’s official! Voted in the top five of the world’s top beaches and Australia’s most beautiful this is truly paradise on earth.
With the finest, whitest sand (that still confounds science) framed by the clearest turquoise and emerald waters of the Great Barrier Reef it looks like God had a field day on the day he created this masterpiece.
View the amazing swirls and moving artwork from a panoramic view from Hill Inlet.
This is Australia’s most Instagrammed beach and it’s not hard to see why as you truly will have walked into a postcard.
8.45am depart Airlie Beach.
You will board you Great Barrier Reef tour and be greeted by the friendly crew who will give all guests a safety and sailing briefing.
As the boat departs Airlie Beach to begin your cruise thru the Whitsunday Islands you will have a chance to sail and spend time on the helm under the guidance of the skilful crew.
11.00am Morning tea and arrive at first snorkelling destination.
12.30pm Buffet lunch – cold meats, salads, rolls. All from local produce and freshly made.
After lunch the cruise will head to its overnight anchorage.
On arrival you will have a chance to kayak or explore with a swim and a snorkel.
Enjoy a hot shower, afternoon hors d’ouevres, a refreshing beer or sip of wine and banter with the crew.
Listen out for friendly dolphin pods that might be looking for their squid treats.
Star gaze and sleep
Head to the snorkel place of the day.
Kayak tour – get ready for a final race back to the ship!
Sail back to Airlie Beach across the Whitsunday Passage.
3.30-4.00pm return back to Airlie Beach
After Party – join your shipmates and crew for a chance to swop tales of your seafaring adventure in a landlubber’s hostelry.
The Whitsunday Islands consist of mostly uninhabited national park islands that are nestled in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef off the Queensland Coast.
The archipelago of the Whitsunday Islands are mostly World Heritage listed and exploring them you will be witnessing some of the most pristine and beautiful scenery in the world.
In terms of ranking, the Whitsundays is viewed as a highly sought after sailing destinations akin to the Caribbean and Mediterranean.
This is indeed a tropical island paradise perfect for water babies and those wanting a relaxing, tropical getaway.
Intrepid navigator Capt. James Cook must have become a little confused with his Christian festivals and strictly speaking this should have been called the Pentecostal Islands as he visited on the Monday in 1770 not on the Sunday.
The Whitsunday’s consists of a debateable 74-150 (depending on the source) pristine islands and its tropical climate and stunning scenery makes any visit here an unforgettable one. You really will feel like you are exploring a series of picture postcards.
With an array of sheltered bays, white pristine beaches and clear crystal water coves, the Whitsundays also hosts some of the most beautiful and diverse marine life in the world.
From plankton that can only be seen under a microscope to gigantic whales weighing over 100 tonnes the Great Barrier Reef is home to every type of marine life:
· Over 3000 species of molluscs (shells)
· 1625 species of fish, which includes 1400 of coral reef species
· Six of the world's seven species of marine turtle
· 630 species of echinoderm (sea urchins, starfish)
· 215 species of birds including 32 species of shorebirds and 22 species of seabirds
· 133 species of rays and sharks
· One of the world's most crucial dugong populations
· 30 species of dolphins and whales
· 14 species of sea snakes
Even to this day scientists are still discovering new species of marine life and discovering how precious the Great Barrier Reef is to the fragile support of the Earth’s environment.
The Whitsundays is located on the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef, so this tour is perfect to enable you to fully explore its amazing reefs. Whether viewing from the boat, or in the water snorkelling you’ll be witnessing one of the most spectacular wonders of the natural world. Stretching over 2,600 km and with over 2,900 individual reefs it truly is ‘Great’.
It’s amazing to believe that the Great Barrier Reef is the result of tiny animals called polyps that build their tiny ‘homes’ that then turn into a metropolis of reef. These coral polyps belong to the same family as sea anemones and jellyfish and with their tiny stingers they kill and eat their prey.
The coral reefs around the Whitsundays are part of the Great Barrier Reef’s fringing coastal reef system that is protected by the outer reef that runs parallel to the shore.
Corals come in two types:
Soft corals are just that – ‘soft’. These are usually mistaken for waving seaweed or grass. Soft corals feed in the daytime and you can see the tiny polyps if you look closely.
Hard corals are indeed ‘hard’. With a hard limestone outer skeleton that protects the tiny polyps, the corals feed at night. Marine scientists have played a game of word connections when naming coral and with names like brain, elk horn, slipper, table, plate, lettuce it’s not hard to see the resemblance.
Exploring the underwater kingdom and viewing all the different types of corals is like walking onto a Hollywood sci-fi film set.
The stars of your trip have to be the amazing beauty and diversity that you will see on the Great Barrier Reef. The moment you put your mask on and gaze underwater you will be captivated by the stunning new world you are discovering.
You might even encounter a film star and see Nemo (true clown fish) in his anemone home.
Here is the list of the Whitsunday’s ‘Top 10’ fish species:
Alongside the shoals of brightly coloured reef fish you will also encounter giant clams, the shutting tendrils of the Christmas tree worms and other amazing underwater life.
The Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef boasts an amazing six of the world’s seven species of turtles.
Many of the surrounding islands are turtle hatching beaches where turtles migrate many miles to lay their eggs. With the temperature determining the sex of the baby turtles – if it’s warmer it’s a girl and only 1 in 1000 turtles surviving to adulthood, a turtle’s life is indeed a precarious one.
There are many turtles around the Whitsundays and snorkelling with them is one of the great memories you’ll have of your cruise.
Turtles migrate to the warm, crystal blue waters of the Whitsunday beaches between the months of November and February. It’s not uncommon to reach a pristine beach in the morning and see the tell tale tracks of the turtles from the night before.
If you are lucky to visit the beach at night then you might be lucky enough to see them laying their eggs from January onwards (after an eight week incubation period).
The most common turtles you will see are Loggerhead turtles, aptly called due to their broad head at the back and short and round in the front. They can reach up to 84” (213 cm) in length and weigh up to a hefty 1,000 lbs (454kg). These are listed as ‘endangered’ so witnessing their presence in the Whitsundays is a privileged one.
From your vessel you might be lucky to see frolicking dolphins in the wake of your boat.
Dolphin night feeding
The most common dolphin encounters in the Whitsundays are with Bottlenose dolphins. Not only are they an amazing sight in the day, but just as amazing at night.
Dolphins have a penchant for squid and just like children who love sweets; dolphins can’t get enough of them.
The lights from the vessel attract the squid and just like the proverbial bees round a honey pot, in come the dolphins for their special treat! A dolphin pick and mix!
Just like the migrating turtles, whales also visit the Whitsundays between June and August to frolic in the warmer waters, give birth and enjoy the tropical climes. It’s not uncommon to see the sight of a Mother teaching her young whale calf how to swim and take its first whale breaths.
Most of the sightings are of Humpback whales, but it has been known to see Pilot whales too. The Whitsundays even boasts its own whale celebrities as “Migaloo” the famous albino humpback whale visit regularly along with “Chalkie” who was born in its waters.
Book yourself on a whale watching tour on the Great Barrier Reef
The Whitsundays does not only host amazing wildlife in its waters but in the air too! With around 175 species of marine birds any bird enthusiast will love the feathered life.
Some are resident all the year round (terns, plovers and oystercatchers) whilst others migrate in.
The Red Necked Stint travels all the way from the Arctic whilst others coming as far away as Alaska and Siberia.
The bush stone curlew is the most common in the Whitsundays. These nocturnal birds give out a call at night that sounds like a special effect from a horror movie.
A cross between a strangled cry and anguished screech, these quirky birds sound scarier than they look.
The state bird of Queensland is the brolga and is a large grey crane. They have a very funky courtship dance that they perform either as a duet or as a group. If you are lucky you might just witness them doing this amazing performance.
These birds are the naughty teenagers of the bird world. Highly visible with their white plumage and yellow punky crests they gather in rowdy packs in trees where there distinctive squawking lets any passer-by know that they are there.
This iconic bird immortalised by the ‘Kookaburra’ song is another unmistakeable character. With its long beak and a call that sounds like a mad cackling laugh, they can be seen all over Australia – usually eyeing the contents of your BBQ.
White-bellied sea eagle
These large birds are Australia’s second largest raptor. You’ll see them circling in the skies as they eye up their next fish to dive bomb for dinner. The Whitsundays are home to many of these birds and have several important nesting and roosting sites.
January - December
Wednesday, Friday, Sunday
2 Days & 1 Night
Soft drinks and snacks
No guests under 18 years of age
All cancellations must be in writing. Please note that all cancellations will incur an administration fee. Please see our terms and conditions for details prior to booking.