The kids are back at school, the adults are stuck into work, the festive season is but a distant memory and we’re all settled in to 2019.
So now it’s time to look at the year ahead and plan that next adventure.
After all, as Mark Twain once famously said: “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than those you did; so throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour, catch the wind in your sales. Explore. Dream. Discover”.
Here at #GoBareboating we’re here to help you do just that, and what better way to start than by giving you some options on when to charter, in conjunction with what’s on in the Whitsundays this year.
If you’re reading this and think there’s something we’ve missed, feel free to leave a comment and we’ll add it in.
March is a time of summer nights and refreshing tropical showers, when the Whitsundays is arguably looking its very best.
Being at the tail end of the monsoon season it’s when the mountain slopes are a lush green, falling seamlessly into our ocean of technicolour blue.
It’s also a time when you can beat the crowds.
Bareboating can be an “away from it all” experience at any time of the year, but in March you’re virtually guaranteed to find a deserted anchorage and a beach to yourself.
Photo credit: @fancy_photos_whitsundays
April and Easter
Easter falls a little later this year (April 19-22), and April also coincides with national school holiday breaks.
The warmth of summer will still give any charter that tropical feel but there’s a hint of cooling about the breezes at night.
For families with kids, couples, groups of friends – or just about anyone really – Easter is a wonderful time to visit the Whitsundays.
Hot tip for 2019: ANZAC Day falls only three days after Easter Monday, which means you’ve only got to apply for two or three days’ annual leave from work to get a holiday of a week-and-a-half.
We recommend charters of no less then 5 nights’ length (and preferably 7-10 nights if you really want to the Whitsundays justice), so this is an opportunity that’s too good to miss.
Photo credit: @h2obungalow
May is the Whitsundays’ best-kept secret, but we’re here to share it with you.
While Australia’s southern states start to shiver with the onset of winter, the Whitsunday weather is absolutely stunning.
There are balmy days and nights and sunrises and sunsets to die for.
The crowds have dissipated following the return to school and the sailing breezes are generally light, which makes for tranquil times afloat.
This year in May, you could combine your bareboat charter with a trip to the Whitsundays’ inaugural Festival of Motoring from May 3-5 or drop into Hamilton Island for the ‘hilly half marathon’ on May 5.
For more information visit https://www.motoringwhitsundays.com.au and https://www.hamiltonisland.com.au/endurance-series/hilly-marathon.
Photo credit: @julesingall
Jump for joy with the whales in June
June is typically when we see the arrival of the first humpback whales of the season.
Whales frequent the Whitsunday waters from the latter half of the month to the end of September, although these days we seem to be seeing them earlier each year.
There is nothing quite as spectacular as seeing one of these 20-30 tonne marine mammals leaping from the ocean and crashing back into the sea in behaviour we typically refer to as a ‘breach’
And did we mention they come here to breed and give birth?
Like all babies, whale calves are very cute!
Hot tip: The whales aren’t the only ones jumping in June - there’s also an athletic challenge in the form of the Great Whitehaven Beach Run on June 23 (https://www.hamiltonisland.com.au/endurance-series/great-whitehaven-beach-run).
Photo credit: @shazatsea
High season sailing starts in July
By July the tradewinds are fully established and the Whitsundays has become a sailor’s paradise.
The beauty of riding these southeast streams in the Whitsundays in particular, is the shelter you will find every night.
Take an exhilarating ride through the islands by day and tuck into any one of a plethora of calm anchorages in the late afternoon.
Hot tip: Check out the boating bible ‘100 Magic Miles’ before you arrive to plan the perfect itinerary for your trip.
If you’re feeling athletic, why not combine your bareboat charter with the 7th annual Airlie Beach Running Festival on Sunday, July 21 (http://www.runairlie.com.au).
Alternatively bring the family for a winter school holiday bonanza at the beginning of the month.
High-octane enthusiasts won’t want to miss the Bowen Superboats from July 19-21 (https://www.queensland.com/en-au/event/bowen-offshore-superboats).
Photo credit: @riptidecreative
Airlie comes alive in August
August is the month when Airlie Beach comes alive with events - and if you’re into sailing, a couple of these might be on your bucket list.
Airlie Beach Race Week – Festival of Sailing, is one of Australia’s premier mainland sailing regattas, featuring bay and island courses and a raft of complimentary onshore events.
Dates for 2019 are August 8-15 and more information can be found at https://www.abrw.com.au.
Airlie Beach Race Week is closely followed by the prestigious Hamilton Island Race Week, set for August 17-24 (https://www.hamiltonislandraceweek.com.au).
Watching the action from a bareboat can be a highlight of your charter and for each course there are suitable spectator spots.
If you love the reef, be sure to arrive before the race weeks, in time for the annual Whitsunday Reef Festival from August 1-4 (http://www.whitsundayreeffestival.com.au).
This family friendly event encompasses four days of activities across Airlie Beach, which you can enjoy from the comfort of your bareboat at our members’ bases in Abell Point Marina or Shute Harbour.
If health and exercise are your thing, come bareboating in time to also watch or participate in the Airlie Beach Triathlon from August 23-25 (https://airliebeachtriathlon.com.au).
Alternatively, if social sailing and camaraderie floats your boat, why not ask us about the Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club Rendezvous when you book.
Held in the last weekend of August every year, this event sees around 1000 cruising folk from around the globe descending on the Gloucester Passage for a weekend of frivolity and fun.
It’s all in the name of a good cause, with proceeds raised throughout the event donated to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.
For more information or to become a ‘Shagger’ visit https://www.sicyc.com.au.
Photo credit: @shirleywodsonphotography
Sail into September
Like May, September is one of the shoulder seasons when the weather is superb.
Winter has lost its bite, the tradewinds are still blowing, the skies are generally clear, and overall it’s a prime time for enjoying the great outdoors.
With that in mind you could time your charter to start or finish around the time of another of our premier sporting events.
Run the Whitsunday Trail will be held on September 15 and takes participants through some of the best rainforest in North Queensland (http://www.runwhitsundays.com.au).
School holidays for 2019 fall towards the end of the month, when it’s a perfect time to ‘just add water’ for making those memories your family will never forget.
Photo credit: @thesailingyogi
October is another of those months when weather-wise the Whitsundays’ shines.
Blue skies blend into azure waters and with a relaxation of the southeast tradewinds there are many flat calm days.
This is also when the northerlies start to kick in, giving bareboat charterers the chance to explore some of the Whitsundays’ south-facing bays.
Hot tip: Walk to Whitehaven Beach from the northerly anchorage at Chance Bay. From mid-2019 you’ll be able to experience the new track and southern Whitehaven lookout.
Photo credit: @_markfitz
Fancy a bit of music with your bareboating break?
The Airlie Beach Festival of Music (http://www.airliebeachfestivalofmusic.com.au) is held from November 8-10, on the weekend after the Melbourne Cup.
The town literally comes alive to the sound of music, with the live entertainment spread throughout 18 venues over the three days.
In November the weather traditionally remains sublime – if you like it a bit hotter that is.
It’s definitely the start of summer but there is often little rainfall and the sun shines bright.
You can always cool off with the Whitehaven Beach Ocean Swim on November 24.
For more information visit https://www.hamiltonisland.com.au/endurance-series/ocean-swim.
Photo credit: @shazatsea
Get festive in December