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TRAVEL & LEISURE

Go Bareboating

Wake up with the sun and the sounds of turtles as you cruise around the Whitsundays on your own boat.
By Lauren Vadnjal
July 13, 2020
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Go Bareboating

Wake up with the sun and the sounds of turtles as you cruise around the Whitsundays on your own boat.
By Lauren Vadnjal
July 13, 2020
  shares

Undoubtedly the best way to explore the Whitsundays is by boat — and if you have a group of mates to split the cost with, you should be able to make it happen. The beauty of sailing is that it gives you the unbridled freedom to whizz from island to island, visit secluded coves and drop anchor wherever takes your fancy. Of the 74 islands, only eight are inhabited, meaning that basically everywhere you visit is your own private beach. The Whitsundays is also one of the few places in the world where you don't need a boat licence to hire one, as it's protected by the reef and has heaps of sheltered inlets to drop anchor for the night. Go Bareboating, which is based out of Abell Point Marina at Airlie Beach, is the company that lets you actually do that, and it has a pretty comprehensive fleet of sweet water rides (motor and sailing) that you can rent out for a period of time —around a week is ideal to leisurely explore the islands.

Hiring one of these boats is by no means loose change, but if you're doing this in place of an overseas holiday, it can be justified. A low-range boat like this one costs around $3250 for five nights and can fit four people (plus a skipper). Boats go all the way up to the Open 46 at around $2000 a night for 10–12 people, which is insane luxury. Once you're on the boat and have stocked up on beers and food and snacks for the week (from Whitsundays Provisioning), you won't have any way to spend more money. Most boats will have a barbecue and what you need to cook breakfast, make sandwiches and brew coffee.

Whitsunday Island, Damien Dempsey via Wikimedia Commons

You'll need to do an induction before they hand over the keys but, that said, if you have little experience and want to actually, y'know, relax, it would be best to hire a skipper to steer the ship for you. You can still help out with the cool stuff like dropping the anchor and lifting the sails without worrying that you're going to run aground. This'll cost you around $250 extra per night, but it's worth it to wake up with the sun and the sounds of turtles, then stargaze in serene silence after the sun goes down.

Top Image: Tourism and Events Queensland

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