Your Whitsundays experience starts here...
Bareboating (skipper yourself) sailing is the kind of holiday that gets addictive and many travellers come back year after year, hire the same boat again and visit the 74 islands of the Whitsundays. Firstly, bareboats really aren't bare at all - it's like hiring a houseboat. You can hire a fully equipped, and generally rather luxurious, vessel for a week or so of sailing in the Whitsundays, where you get to 'skipper yourself' and choose your own course for the duration of your holiday.
Imagine waking up in a secluded bay, framed by the beaches and trees of an uninhabited island. You can don your wetsuit and fins, grab a snorkel and goggles and hop in the water for a quick snorkel before breakfast. Someone might turn on the on-board BBQ and whip up some bacon and eggs for brekky, before picking up anchor and heading off to the next location for the day. You can visit dozens of superb anchorages where you can snorkel or dive, swim, stop off on the beach for a rest, go for a bushwalk, visit Indigenous Australian caves and check out the spectacular lookout at Hill Inlet, overlooking Whitehaven Beach.
You could spend a night in the marina at Hamilton Island for a small fee, and make use of the facilities like restaurants, pools and day spas too. Some of the other islands welcome visitors too, just hop on the marine radio and call in on approach to determine the procedures for visiting the island for the day and if there is a fee applicable.
They come equipped with everything, including the kitchen sink! Included is bed linen, cooking equipment and utensils, TV/DVD player, navigational aids like the book 100 Magic Miles, often they come equipped with spray jackets and stinger suits too. All you really need to do is provide the food, and even then, most companies can help you arrange provisioning so it's all there when you arrive to check in.
Can anyone go bareboating?
While sailing experience is of course an advantage, you actually don't need to be a professional sailor to hire a bareboat. All companies provide a briefing prior to allowing you to take a vessel out on your own. Often basic boating experience is sufficient to get you started. If you know how to navigate, drive a boat, and can lower and raise an anchor, you're halfway there already. For those who don't feel confident hoisting the sails, you can hire a power boat or catamaran too, and simply motor your way around the islands for your holiday. If you would like some assistance, you can hire a skipper and/or host for all or part of your trip. This gives even inexperienced travellers to opportunity to experience this fabulous type of holiday, with the professionals to guide you.