(The Whitsunday Islands)
Australia's Whitsunday Islands lie at 20 degrees, 15 minutes south latitude, and 148 degrees, 58 minutes East Longitude, off of the coast of Central Queensland. Although located in the tropics, the Whitsundays have an excellent climate because they are cooled by trade winds for most of the year. The waters are protected by the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef, and most islands are surrounded by a fringing reef system.
The trade winds usually blow slightly stronger from May to August. July is the coolest month; and January is the warmest. Cyclones, if they do occur, are most likely between February and March.
The Whitsunday Islands have enough anchorages to keep you busy for months of happy cruising! The following are a few of our favorites with recommended snorkeling sites, either at your anchorage or just a short dinghy ride away, if you choose to include some in your itinerary.
The seven resort islands in the Whitsundays also welcome visiting yachts. Each charges sailors a reasonable fee for a mooring or marina berth, which includes the freedom to enjoy guest facilities of the resort. Each island resort's ambience and facilities are different, which means more variety for you!
Nara Inlet is our recommended first night stop. Nara is easy to reach and its waters are sheltered so you will have a comfortable first night as you get used to the boat. There are several anchorages and moorings to choose from. Stonehaven is popular. And if you are adventure minded, there are waterfalls to explore.
This island is a long, mostly sandy, strip that nearly disappears at high tide! Langford is a fun daytime stop for a beach and for snorkeling on the western end. There are extensive reefs, however. Navigating through them is best in good light with a lookout on the bow.
Hamilton is a good mid-charter stopover to fill water tanks, drop garbage and shop. The island's Marina Village has restaurants, bars, specialty shops, a bakery and supermarket to take care of any needs, food or otherwise. You can rent a golf cart and explore the island, or take advantage of an opportunity to stretch your legs on enjoyable walks.