How to have the best holiday in the Whitsundays. 3:55pm, Wed 14 Sep 2016Planning your holiday takes a little effort, let CCY take the hard work out of choosing where to go whilst you're in the Whitsundays. Get locals tips, experience more of the aboriginal culture and history and immerse yourself with our advice on navigating the Whitsundays.
Unsure where to go? Try our suggested Itinerary:
Depart Abell Point Marina for Nara Inlet
Arrive at Cumberland's Base at Abell Point Marina. Check in at our office and we can loan a trolley for you to load all luggage, food and anything else needed for your cruise. Your briefer will take you to the dive shop to collect your complimentary snorkelling gear. After a thorough briefing on the area and the vessel (about 3-5 hours) you're ready to take off!!
Watch the mainland disappear as you cruise across the glorious Whitsunday Passage to overnight at the fjord-like Nara Inlet. Nara is protected from all winds and is an excellent first night introduction to your vessel. Proceed into the anchorage, refer to map c10b on page 172 of your 100Magic Miles to reference entry to the inlet. Drop anchor and enjoy nature at its best as the sun sets on your first day.
Have your crew organised and your shopping done by our provisioning team. Put a DVD on for the children or take them for a swim at the lagoon. We only need two adults for the briefing
Nara Inlet - Stonehaven on Hook Island
The next morning test out your dinghy and take a boat ride to shore where you can take a short bushwalk to the check out the Aboriginal cave drawings and interpretive display. This gives you a great history on our first settlers to the islands.
Pull up anchor and cruise out of Nara Inlet and head north to a great anchorage second night’s anchorage Stonehaven – refer map c12 page 176 100 Magic Miles. This anchorage has several mooring buoys and is great in south east winds. There are patches of coral and sandy beaches to explore.
As the sun sets in the background it’s time to light the barbie and sit and enjoy YOUR little piece of paradise
Snorkel one - three hours after the tide starts to come in for best visibility and water depth.
If all of moorings are busy you can anchor outside reef protection markers in Anchorage 1 and 2
Be aware of bullets (Wind Gusts) here, hold on to your towels!
Stonehaven - Langford and Butterfly Bay - Hook Island.
Next morning time to explore the wonders of the Whitsundays marine life, you are in the area to snorkel. There are several choices to be made:
One: Blue Pearl Bay – Hayman Island map c13b page 180 100 Magic Miles Pick up a mooring no anchoring permitted. Amazing variety of marine life and coral to see and a very popular dive spot.
Two: Langford Island map c12 mooring buoys only. a long sandy beach appears at low tide see below image.
Three: Black Island map c12 2 mooring buoys only. Fantastic spot for a snorkel with a great beach to explore with picnic tables on the beach. Strong current and suitable in light winds. Watch your navigation and check the 100 magic miles.
After all that activity time to move up to Butterfly Bay for your night’s anchorage – map c14/15 page 181 100 Magic Miles. There are nine mooring buoys and an extremely protected anchorage in most winds. Time to relax and light up the barbie and reflect on the day. Check out the colony of black butterflies, explore the many creeks and coral beaches, beach combing and rock hopping is a common past time. An afternoon exploration by tender or kayak will take you across to Maureens Cove, here you'll see a number of giant clams, more beach combing and fresh water creek. Another swim or maybe an afternoon nap then light the barbie pop the champagne as the sun sets on the west and the moon rises over the hills..
Plan to arrive about 2pm, so you have the best chance to secure a mooring with overnight 'rights'. If pestered by someone that is inaccurately suggesting that you have overstayed on the mooring, smile, wave and say something obscure in a foreign language. Then fall about the place laughing.
Butterfly Bay Hook Island to Cateran Bay - Border Island.
Onto your fourth day - and by now you're totally relaxed and ready for more island exploration, continue east along the top of Hook Island there are several anchorages to choose for another snorkel. Maureen’s Cove and Luncheon Bay both have several moorings to pick up map c14/15 where you can again explore the wonders of what is underneath the water. Both are popular dive spots and both have beaches that can be explored.
On to Manta Ray Bay map c14/15, only 2 moorings available. Here you can snorkel and see the amazing Maori Wrasse that often pops up to say hello.
Motor or sail south down the east side of Hook Island to your night’s anchorage at Cateran Bay which has 5 mooring buoys map c29 page 206 100 Magic Miles. This anchorage is also another site for snorkeling, another swim with the fish, turtles and Coral Bommies or explore the hills above Cataran bay.
Tezza’s Top tip.....
Always snorkel in buddy pairs! It is easy to get puffed out when snorkelling, so stay together.
If you are going exploring make sure you are back at the boat before dark ! Sunsets in the Whitsundays 6-7 pm
Cateran Bay Border Island to Whitehaven Beach Whitsunday Island
For a great cruise down the outside of Hook and Whitsunday Island. Go past magnificent Hill Inlet, see the view up to Whitsunday Peak and then - be astounded by the sight of 7 kilometres of pure white sand. Map c26 100 Magic Miles Whitehaven Beach is the epitome of the Whitsundays.
Totally natural, award winning beach completely un spoilt and picture perfect, it really does have to be seen to be believed!!!
Anchor at the southern end and either dinghy or swim ashore and just stroll along this natural wonderland. There’s a great shady bush walk to Chance bay in the south and a shorter Solway circuit that takes in views over the southern bays and islands, Pentecost and Lindeman.
Whitehaven Beach sand is unlike any other, its pristine silica white sand, very fine and great for exfoliating or cleaning your jewellery. The many day boats will leave after lunch and you with a few other charter boats and a hand full of campers will have the whole beach to enjoy.
Bring a lightweight Esky bag to the beach with you so you have somewhere cool to keep your drinks Also Whitehaven has not got a lot of shade protection, you must remember to slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on hat.
Whitehaven to Cid harbour
Take the opportunity to do the Hill Inlet lookout and Betty's Beach Walk. Hill Inlet is the top 3 photographed place in Australia, Don’t forget your camera!! Make sure you take a towel so you can have a swim at the beach too. Pull up anchor and head north to Hook Passage map c17 and head along the passage passing historic Hook Island Observatory ( now closed). Drop anchor at Cid Harbour map c19, a very safe anchorage that was used during Second World War by the American and Australian Navies. This is a great night’s anchorage to take in the sunsets, do a spot of fishing and possibly see turtles and dugong who feed on the sea grass.
Walk up to the Look out at Low tide, the swirls are even more amazing at Low tide.
Walking tracks are well marked and easy to walk just make sure you have something on your feet as the coral beaches can be brutal on your feet.
Cid Harbour Whitsunday Island
Cid is a stunning natural harbour with several small sandy beaches, a popular first and last night anchorage for bareboats and well maintained sites for campers, Cid is a excellent spot to really relax and wind down enough activities to enjoy for a day.
Up early on Day 7 and a morning stroll around to Dugong Inlet (if you didn't partake yesterday) to work off the skippers cooked breakfast, take in the beautiful fern grove or explore the many beaches by kayak or paddle board. You can spend a whole the day exploring Cid Harbour or drop a line to see if you can hunt up some dinner. Make time for a bush walk to Whitsunday Peak (437 mtrs) is a fantastic hike for sunrise or sunset. Take water and a pack up, comfortable walking shoes are recommended as the hike can be challenging in places, however the 360 degree views are well worth the effort. For the less adventurous a shorter, flatter walk exists from Dugong to Sawmill and return.
If you are walking at sunset take a torch as it will be dark, on the hike back to your boat.
Don’t forget to leave your lights on, on board so you can easily spot your boat.
Cid Harbour to Abell Point Marina
Sadly last day and an early start - time to pull up anchor and Sail or Motor back to our base at Abell Point Marina.
On approach to the marina it is time to radio in for instruction from our staff. Once inside the marina one of our wonderful staff will board your boat and take you to the fuel dock. Your boat will be topped up with fuel and your boat will be brought back to a Cumberland Berth. Our staff will assist with your departure from your vessel. If you do not have an early departure there is still the opportunity to visit the centre of Airlie Beach. You are welcome to leave bags in our office and head to the lagoon for a last swim and lunch before departing us, hopefully with wonderful memories, awesome photos and thoughts of a return visit to continue your adventure. With 74 islands there are so many more places to explore.
Seven nights is never long enough in the paradise of the Whitsundays. You should have booked for nine or more nights to allow yourself to fully unwind and take in this natural aquatic wonderland.
With more nights you can go further south and escape to deserted beaches