Sailing the Whitsunday Islands is consistently recommended as one of these unmissable things and is, unfortunately, one of the activities I regret the most on my trip to Australia.
Most Whitsundays sailing trips last between one to two nights on a catamaran or bigger boat, usually in a group of around 10 to 15 people. My Whitsundays trip lasted two nights and three days–two long nights spent sharing a very small and awkward bed in a crowded cabin full of crazy people.
The company I had on our trip kind of ruined the whole experience for me. There are only so many times you can listen to a constantly intoxicated Dutch man’s version of ‘We No Speak Americano’ – an abrasive blast from the past at the best of times.
The islands themselves are absolutely incredible; impossibly bright white beaches with beautiful crystal blue waters; truly paradisaical. I spotted turtles in the sea next to the boat whilst sailing along and got to do some pretty awesome snorkeling. I also saw one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever experienced. These parts of the trip, however, could have been condensed into one big day trip, and for about a third of the cost, which for me, would definitely have been a better option.
It’s pretty pricy to sail on the Whitsundays, especially if you choose to do a multi-day trip. If you’re traveling solo, you don’t have any say in who gets lumped on your trip with you. Sometimes it’s good, and sometimes it’s very, very bad.
A lot of people love the trip. In fact, they rave about it. Why else would an extended sailing trip on the Whitsundays make so many lists of Australian highlights?
My advice is to take a day trip. In a day trip, you get all the beauty of the islands, the beautiful sun and amazing snorkeling, but you don’t have to spend two or three weeks of your backpacker budget on sleeping in very substandard accommodation with some of the most annoying people you may ever encounter.