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Cruising Australia: Everything you need to know about sailing Down Under

Yachting World

  • July 7, 2020

From stunning coastal routes to unmissable sailing events, Janneke Kuysters shares her top tips for cruising Australia


Anna Caroline moored with iconic Sydney landmarks in the background

“It doesn’t matter where you choose, you can’t go wrong in Australia. There are so many wonderful cruising grounds,” says Hank Rosendal, a Dutch-Australian sailor. His Amel 53 Tempest is currently moored in Albany, West-Australia. And he’s right: you could sail a lifetime around Australian shores and still not see everything.

So for a foreign cruiser there is a difficult choice: how much time do you want to spend in Australia and what can you do and see? Classically, on a trip around the world , cruisers sail from the islands of the South Pacific to New Zealand for the cyclone season: a tough crossing but with the rich rewards of New Zealand hospitality and boat maintenance facilities.

From New Zealand many go back north to Vanuatu or New Caledonia and then on to the Indian Ocean. For those a short pitstop in Australia in either Cairns, Thursday Island or Darwin is logical. Visits to the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef will add the wonderful experience of tropical Australia.


Australia is a vast country: don’t underestimate the distances you’ll sail. From Bundaberg to Sydney is a little under 500 miles; add 628 miles for the trip from Sydney to Hobart. If you go from Hobart to Perth across the Bight, you’ll be adding another 2,250 miles.

East coast cruising

But in the past decade more and more cruisers have viewed Australia as a destination in itself. And that opens up a whole new perspective. The tough 1,000-plus miles crossing from the Pacific Islands to New Zealand is no longer necessary – a downwind cruise of around 700 miles from New Caledonia to the east coast of Australia is much more comfortable.

The boat can be safely left in Australia while you fly home, or you can keep sailing. The most important thing to consider is to stay below 30°S; the official cyclone belt lies to the north of this latitude. Instead of having to wait for the cyclones to pass, cruisers can sail on and explore Australian waters.

There are myriad choices to make depending on the distances you are willing to cover. Two popular options are to make landfall near Brisbane in Queensland and sail south to Sydney and back, or to continue sailing to Tasmania .

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South African cruiser Brent Grimbeek has chosen this second option: “I love the diversity that the Australian east coast has to offer. Most of the distances between ports are short, so we daysailed our Lagoon 44 Impi from port to port. Crossing Bass Strait is always a challenge, but the effort is richly rewarded by the stunning nature and landscapes of Tasmania.”

His wife Ana adds: “There is the annual Go West rally between New Caledonia and Australia. Although we have made this crossing a few times now, we enjoy participating in the rally: it makes entry into Australia easier and it is fun to meet like-minded people.”

British solo sailor Thom D’Arcy sailed his Vancouver 28 Fathom along the east coast from Bundaberg to Sydney and back up north, all the way to Darwin. “I’m very pleased I took Fathom to Sydney. The sense of achievement on entering such an iconic port is fantastic.”


Thom D’Arcy sailed his Vancouver 28 Fathom along Australia’s east coast

For those with a taste for speed and endurance, sailing south along the east coast of Australia can be ‘spiced up’ by entering the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race . Paul Billingham, Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia explains: “We encourage foreign yachts to participate in ‘the Hobart’ as part of their trip around the world and extend all the necessary help and support to make it happen for them.”

There is also a lesser used track to cruise around the south of Australia and up the west coast. After studying the weather patterns closely, we saw that the tough westward crossing of the Great Australian Bight is feasible in the summer months of February and March.

A succession of high-pressure systems chases the prevailing south-westerly winds away and makes for periods of four to seven days of nice easterly winds. A cruise ‘along the bottom’ of Australia not only gives the opportunity to visit Tasmania’s lesser known cruising areas on the wild west coast, but also puts cities such as Adelaide within reach.


The start of the Sydney Hobart Race means a congested Sydney Harbour. Photo: Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi

Bruce Roach, Commodore of the Royal South Australian Yacht Squadron, says they welcome visiting cruisers. “The south coast of Australia is a very rewarding cruising ground, from Adelaide to the natural beauty of the Gulf St Vincent and Spencer Gulf with its many anchorages,” he adds.

During our cruise around the south of Australia we experienced this warm hospitality first-hand: the generosity of the Australians to visiting yachts is one of the rewards of sailing off the beaten track in such a vast country. Once across the Bight, Western Australia offers a whole new cruising experience. Long reefs stretch along the coast, so careful navigation is needed.

Cities like Perth and Fremantle offer all possible facilities to visiting yachts, and from the west coast of Australia there are two options: start crossing the Indian Ocean as early as possible after the cyclone season or sail north to Indonesia.


The Royal Prince Albert Yacht Club in Pittwater

Coastal sailing

In Australian sailing vocabulary, ‘cruising’ doesn’t mean bluewater cruising, but is mainly coastal daysailing from port to anchorage. Coastal sailing in Australia therefore comes with lots of interesting options, often seen as luxuries by foreign cruisers, such as streaming internet up to 25 miles offshore and ample provisioning (around every corner there is a supermarket and an ATM).

We joked how cruising the east coast is ‘sailing with a watch in your hand’, as a lot of the entrances are river mouths with sandbars across them, requiring careful calculation to cross the bar at the turn of the tide. The navigational challenges can be roughly summarised in three words: current, depressions and sea breeze.

First the current. Along the east coast of Australia there is a southbound current of up to four knots which makes for fast sailing to the south, but rather tedious work when sailing up north, unless you use the countercurrent close inshore. Along the south coast the Leeuwin current flows east at a rate of 0.5 knots. On the west coast the Leeuwin current is stronger and flows south at a rate of about one knot.


Cruising in Pittwater and Broken Bay, north of Sydney

The second challenge is the depressions. They flow in a steady succession from west to east, bringing troughs and fronts. The quality of the available forecasts is high, so you can make good use of the wind the depressions generate to propel you in the right direction. Going against the prevailing winds makes for tough conditions though, because in the shallow coastal areas steep wind-waves build up very quickly.

Australia’s hot interior generates sea breezes. Again, if you study them and use them to your advantage, it can make for some fine passages. But you need to be careful. Sea breezes can easily last for 12 hours and reach over 25 knots on top of the prevailing winds.

Timing and distances

The cruising season in southern Australia is at its best in January, February and March. That means that you can sail to Australia from, for instance, New Caledonia in September. This gives you the time to cruise at leisure down the coast and make some trips overland too. We went to Ayers Rock/Uluru.

You can spend the summer in Tasmania and sail back up in March, to be in time for the end of the cyclone season by the time you reach Queensland again. If you decide to go along the Bight, you need to leave Tasmania at the end of January to time your crossing of the Bight in February or March.

Cruising Australian shores has been very rewarding for us: the wildlife, nature, diversity and hospitality left us in awe.

Entry in Australia

Australia has the reputation of being a tough country to enter. In reality, if you prepare yourself and your boat, there is no need to worry. The process is fairly straightforward and all necessary information is easy to find on the government websites.

Before arriving in Australia, every crew member needs to have a visa. There are two types. The e-visitor visa which is valid for three months. It is free of charge and can be extended. The other type is valid for one year (multiple entry) and costs AU$140. Both can be applied for online.

When you have been in certain countries in the Pacific for more than three months, you will need to have a chest X-ray before you arrive in Australia. Check the online forms carefully for the conditions.

For your boat there are two important steps. First, the cruising permit. This is issued on arrival and is valid for one year, with the option of extending it to three years. With this cruising permit as proof of being a ‘yacht in transit’, buying parts for the boat or having repairs done is exempt from sales tax (GST in Australia).

The second step is the biosecurity inspection. Fresh fruit, meat, dairy and eggs are not allowed. Importantly, the boat also needs to be without any pest infestation, such as fruit flies, termites, or growth on the hull. Australian agri- and aquaculture is strictly protected and the inspections are thorough.

At AU$60 per 15 minutes increments, it pays to prepare the boat in the port of departure, cleaning and making all surfaces accessible makes for a quick inspection. On average, the cost is AU$300 for the inspection.

Where to enter? There are roughly three options, depending on your cruising plans. If you want to do ‘Australia light’, the port of Bundaberg is the best. It is just below latitude 30°S, so you can wait for the cyclone season to pass north of you before you head to Cairns or further north.

If you want to cruise the east coast, ports further south such as Brisbane, Southport or even Coffs Harbour are attractive. If your focus is on Tasmania, you could even choose to enter in Sydney.

About the authors

Dutch couple Wietze van der Laan and Janneke Kuysters are sailing around the world in their Bruce Roberts 44 Anna Caroline . They love high latitude cruising and exploring areas which are slightly off the beaten track.

First published in the August 2019 edition of Yachting World.

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Luxury Yacht Charter Australia

  • Ideas & Tips
  • Itineraries
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63  Crewed Luxury Yachts for Charter in Australia

Australia Yacht Charter

A constellation of wonder, an Australia yacht charter offers guests a bewitching blend of possibilities: from soaking up the ambiance of ever-twinkling cityscapes like Sydney or Melbourne to reconnecting with nature on a humbling, almost visceral level in the Great Barrier Reef.  Mesmerizing, spellbinding, spectacular — there is simply no end of superlatives to describe the magic of Australia.

Australia Yacht Booking Guide:

Australia Yacht Charters: At a Glance

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The sheer size and vast expanse of coastline that Australia has to offer makes it perfect for a luxury yacht charter vacation. Renowned for its abundance of watersports opportunities, from action-packed jet skiing and water skiing to scuba diving in the vast underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef, it is one of the most comprehensive and exciting cruising destinations in the world. 

Girl on a yacht looking at the camera on a sailing yacht in Sydney Harbor, Australia

  • A diving and snorkeling paradise From the incomparable Great Barrier Reef which has more than 1,500 types of fish to the aquatic delights of Ningaloo Reef and the countless bays to cherry-pick from.
  • A melange of awe-inspiring landscapes Australia provides yacht charter guests with a diverse range of idyllic landscapes: from shifting sands and tropical shallows to city lights and cosmopolitan thrills: the choice is all yours.
  • Endless anchorages The Great Barrier Reef alone has a staggering 900 islands — whatever you're looking for from an anchorage, Australia can provide it.
  • Famous, top-end superyacht marinas Jaw-dropping panoramas abound at Australia's marinas, from the magnificent Sydney Harbour to the impossibly blue shores of the Whitsundays, the country has some of the most prestigious and sought-after berths in the world.
  • Wildlife wonderland Australia has a staggering array of flora and fauna: koalas, kangaroos, humpback whales, penguins, dolphins, and much more.

Swirls of blue on Whitsunday Island Australia

From Outback wilderness to sweeping sands lapped by cerulean seas, Australia provides topographical drama at its most exquisite. Below are the destinations that have seen Australia cement its status as a top superyacht hub:

Great Barrier Reef Best for : being a veritable Mecca for snorkeling and diving, mind-blowingly beautiful island-hopping, rare species, and rainforest trails.

Whitsunday Islands Best for:  impossibly perfect waters arranged in a turquoise swirl, legendary lizards, turtle spotting, isolated reefs, magical dive expeditions, and beaches so stunning they appear almost make-believe.

Sydney Best for:  laid-back luxury, atmospheric haunts, deluxe superyacht marinas, swanky nightspots, classically big, golden beaches, superb surfing opportunities

The Kimberley Best for:  its soul-stirring vistas, and the world's largest fringing reef home to deep oceanic shoals.

Melbourne Best for:  upscale eateries, high-end boutiques, exquisite wineries, picturesque bays, and an abundance of trails.

The Complete Guide to Luxury Yacht Charters in Australia

An Australian yacht charter vacation offers a mesmerizing selection of things to see and do. Here is our small selection of some of the most outstanding:

Don't Miss:

  • Heart Reef : hop in a helicopter and witness this adorable heart-shaped coral composition from the skies.
  • Airlie Beach : this laidback mainland gateway for the Whitsunday's is a perpetual favorite with families and a fully-fledged destination in its own right.
  • Sydney Tower : reach the top of the tallest building in Sydney, some 268m above the city for incredible vistas.
  • Hunter Valley : one for the oenophiles, go taste-testing in one of Australia's most revered wine districts.
  • Yarra Valley : watch sunrise fall on this wonderful pastoral scene over Melbourne in a hot air balloon.
  • Bungle Bungles : located within Purnululu National Park, these sublime sandstone formations in The Kimberley are a must-see.
  • Matso's Brewery : sip on locally brewed mango beer at this famed brewery in The Kimberley.
  • Horizontal Falls : behold the magnificent site of the flat, whitewater rapids that bulge through two lofty mountain ranges.

Offering some of the most diverse and sublime cruising grounds on the planet, Australia yacht charters are perfect for anyone seeking adrenaline-filled vacations off the beaten track. With endless itinerary options available; from diving with hammerhead sharks, scaling rocky precipices along the Kimberley coast and wine tasting in the yarra valley to dining at some of the world’s most exclusive restaurants in Sydney, this fascinating country bewitches the senses at every turn and promises a spectacular yacht vacation for anyone with a passion for adventure.

yachting in australia

Tracing its history back almost 60,000 years, Australia boasts an impressive and storied past with cave drawings, pottery and artwork narrating its history through the centuries. The indiginous people enjoyed a peaceful coexistence until British settlers claimed possession in the 18th century and established a penal colony, dispossessing these Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islander people of their land and marginalising their communities. 

Descendants of the original settlers have now been formally recognised as custodians of this vast continent, and we continue to learn through their deep connection with the land and marvel at the astonishing and diverse landscape that acts as a siren call to anyone lucky enough to explore Australia's vast and glittering shores.  

Today, Australia is renowed for its cosmopolitan culture and vibrant nightlife, world-class diving and elite watersports activities; an alluring combination for luxury yacht charters.

A superyacht charter in Australia is without a doubt the best way to fully immerse yourself in this marine utopia, offering unparalleled access to a dizzying array of splendid stops far from the tourist trail. Unsure whether to pick a crewed motor yacht charter or a sailing yacht charter ? We've laid out the main aspects to consider before making a final decision.

Motor Yacht Charters in Australia

Motor yacht in Australia

A crewed motor yacht charter  in Australia is the pinnacle of luxury. With five-star amenities and hotel-serviced living coupled with a completely unadulterated level of privacy and the freedom to cruise as you please, it's no wonder a motor yacht has enduring appeal. Uncover reefs, bays, and beaches of incomparable grandeur that are only accessible by boat, and experience your own private paradise.

Sailing Yacht Charters in Australia

Yachts docked at Australian harbor at sunrise

Selecting a sailing yacht charter in Australia is the perfect choice for guests looking for a charter experience at a slower, where you will be wooed by its old-world charm. Spend leisurely days basking in the sun or dining al-fresco on your spacious deck and fully embrace being at one with nature, letting the elements guide you.

With so many options available, there’s something to suit every type of budget. For convenience we have listed the average prices for motor yacht and sailing yacht charters in the Australia below;

  • For motor yacht rentals in Australia, prices can range from $81,578 to $784,092 per week, plus expenses
  • For luxury sailing yacht rentals in Australia, prices can start from $43,000 weekly, plus expenses

Tax for Yacht Charters in Australia

The passage of the Special Recreational Vessels Bill 2019 has been a huge boon to Australia's superyacht sector. The legislation allows foreign-flagged superyachts to charter in Australian waters without fully importing their vessel to the country, increasing the selection of yachts available for crewed charters.

Superyachts can obtain a coastal trading temporary allowance to charter, and guests will need to pay a  10% Goods and Services Tax (GST) according to the charter's value. This will be applied on top of your charter fee, as well as any delivery or redelivery fees that are incurred.

For additional information on VAT and tax concerning your yacht charter in Australia, please consult your chosen  yacht charter broker .

Surfer riding a wave in Australia

Given Australia's unfathomably vast terrain, temperatures can range from temperate to tropical depending on the region, so the optimal times to visit popular yacht charter destinations can vary slightly.

  • June to October is considered the best time to experience the natural wonder of the Great Barrier Reef , where yacht charterers can benefit from considerably less rainfall, which means improved diving conditions due to better water visibility.
  • June to August  are the best months for seeing  The Kimberley's  celebrated waterfalls at full flow.
  • When summer comes to the Whitsundays  it buzzes to life with temperatures hovering at 30 degrees, with balmy sea temperatures of between 27-28 degrees. October is the sunniest month with up to 10 hours of sunshine a day. For the glitterati, September is the optimal month to visit the Whitsundays as it's comfortably warm with less humidity, plus fewer tourists are around.
  • December to February are the months when Sydney is at its liveliest and it's also widely regarded as the best time to visit: watch the city's harbor turn into a riot of color as fireworks are let off for New Year's Eve.
  • November to March  are the key months to experience the pleasant climes of Melbourne .

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Port Douglas Queensland Australia October 7 2018: Trinity Bay Lookout. Beautiful tropical beach with smoke from bush fire burning in the hills behind. Palm trees, clean beach sand with people swimming

The Whitsundays is an invariably popular place to begin a superyacht charter in Australia, comprising a long indented ribbon of 74 islands cradled from the outer ocean by the Great Barrier Reef.  As an underwater menagerie featuring some of the most bewilderingly beautiful lifeforms, and at land level replete with barely-frequented, jungle-clad beaches that boggle the senses with their heavenliness, its allure is evident. Plus, there is a multitude of overnight anchorages at guests' disposal here.

The preferred jumping-off points for the Whitsundays are the  Coral Sea Marina and  Hamilton Island Marina . If discovering the Great Barrier Reef in all its glory first,  Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina is a preferred choice.

Though Australia certainly isn't lacking in impressive spots to start a yacht charter elsewhere: take majestic Sydney  with the world's largest natural harbor. But keep in mind there may be a smaller fleet to select from in other destinations.

sample itineraries

Yachts moored in a marina in Australia

Discerning charterers know that a fabulous mise en scène is what brings a yacht into glorious technicolor, and Australia's throng of epic marinas certainly transforms this fantasy into a reality. Here are the Australian marinas where your experience on land will be just as rip-roaring as it is on the shimmering azul sea.

  • Hamilton Island Marina: well-protected marina situated in the picture-perfect surrounds of the Great Barrier Reef, with berths available for superyachts up to 60m.
  • Coral Sea Marina: this premier facility is mere minutes from Airlie Beach, a popular starting point for Whitsundays charters. Accommodates up to 520 berths for yachts up to 80m in length.
  • Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina : the only place where two UNESCO World Heritage sites meet (Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest). Queensland's northernmost marina has a 135 berth capacity for yachts up to 50m.
  • Cairns Marlin Marina: situated in the heart of the city and only 10 minutes from Cairns International Airport. Has 261 berths with some reserved for superyachts up to 140m.
  • Sydney Superyacht Marina : luxurious on-shores facilities with chic bars and restaurants in the world's most famous harbor, can accommodate yachts up to 75m.
  • Melbourne Superyacht Marina : prime position to attend one of the city's many sporting fixtures, located in a sheltered environment and provides superyacht berthing up to 75m.

A heady tapestry of anchorages in a patchwork of implausible blues are woven into Australia's deliciously diverse landscape, ideal for an action-packed or a luxuriously sedate yacht charter alike. From ribbons of chalk-white sand etched with the pawprints of passing kangaroos, to aquamarine waters home to an aquatic world that flourishes in all its vivid coral variety, itinerary options are practically limitless. Below, we've hand-picked some of the best anchorages in Australia:

  • Osprey Reef (Great Barrier Reef): utterly remote and sitting atop of a submerged atoll, come for exceptional diving visibility, spotting everything from sea turtles to beaked whales.
  • Ribbon Reefs (Great Barrier Reef): select from a garland of glistening reefs to anchor overnight at and snorkel to your heart's content.
  • Lizard Island (Great Barrier Reef): tranquil oasis renowned for its buttery soft sands and translucent waters, and has a top-end resort with fine dining possibilities.
  • Nara Inlet (Whitsundays): well-protected anchorage that spans two miles,  providing guests with unbridled solitude. Ideal for paddleboarding and kayaking.
  • Sawmill Beach (Whitsundays):  a heavenly overnight spot situated in Cid Harbour, best for rainforested hiking trails and astounding panoramas.
  • Whitehaven Beach(Whitsundays): one of Australia's most famous spots to drop anchor at thanks to its swirling sands.
  • Cape Hillsborough (Queensland): cruise further afield and be richly rewarded with kangaroos and wallabies who scour the beach at sunrise.
  • Cable Beach (The Kimberley): vast swathes of pristine sand frame fiery orange sunsets that are widely regarded as the best in Australia.
  • Montgomery Reef (The Kimberley):  be captivated by the spectacular sight of the reef seemingly rising out of the water, with hundreds of cascading waterfalls forming around it.
  • Rose Bay (Sydney):  peaceful stop to anchor at, conveniently located near to the world-renowned golden arc that is Bondi Beach.
  • Sugarloaf Bay (Sydney): known for its blissfully secluded surroundings and gives excellent protection from the wind.

Tropical birds in Queensland Australia

  • Keep in mind that stingers (potentially lethal jellyfish like the Box Jellyfish and Irukandji) are found in coastal areas of Queensland. The higher risk season is from October to May in the Whitsundays, so wear protective 'stinger suits' when diving, swimming, or snorkeling.
  • Be aware of freshwater and saltwater crocodiles in the Kimberley, which can appear from waterholes. Whilst they are majestic creatures, they are best appreciated from afar!
  • Whilst Queensland itself is certainly a fantastic all-year-round destination, it's worth remembering that the Great Barrier Reef only experiences two seasons, wet and dry. The dry season here is from May to October.
  • Remember to wear sunscreen: Australia's proximity to the equator means that the country experiences very high UV radiation levels.
  • Guests should ensure their passport is valid for up to six months prior to their charter.
  • Most guests will need a valid Tourist Visa or an Electronic Travel Authority to enter the country. There is no fee if your stay in Australia is less than three months. Please consult your yacht broker for personalized information pertaining to your trip. 

Great Barrier Reef

fish found in ribbon reef australia

The Great Barrier Reef is a diving haven that lures the global superyacht fleet with almost 3,000 reefs and 900 mostly uninhabited islands. Caressed by warm, gentle waters that sparkle with total clarity, yacht charter guests will be enthralled by the seemingly unending seascape. To elude the crowds, head to the  Ribbon Reefs and its garland of phenomenal diving sites such as The Clam Gardens , the Temple of Doom , and Andy's Postcard. 

For a spot of underwater magic after dusk, head to Snake's Pit . Marvel the impressive night spectacle of coral that blooms in a smattering of multicolored daubs and friendly sea snakes that float amid shoals of fish. No trip to the Great Barrier Reef would be complete without relishing the barefoot luxury of Lizard Island.  24 silk-like beaches are hugged by topaz shallows — and it's the refuge of a few sun-dappled reptiles too.

The mainland also many treasures: don't miss out on the exclusive restaurants and spas of uber-chic coastal town  Port Douglas, which is bordered by the lush vegetation of the  Daintree Rainforest. The melodies of kookaburras and kingfishers circling above will absolutely enchant you.

Read more: Why You Have to Book a Great Barrier Reef Yacht Charter Right Away

Whitsunday Islands

Hill Inlet at Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

A smorgasbord of mellow, paradisiacal beaches, lavish resorts, and tropical rainforests coupled with gin-clear waters, the Whitsundays makes for a thrilling yacht charter. The eponymous isle  Whitsunday Island i s where you will find the world-famous Whitehaven Beach: 7km of white satin-like silica (98 percent) sand that furls with the turquoise shallows like a just-whipped ice cream sundae. To get the best views of its almost luminescent appearance, hike up to the lookout on Hill Inlet on the northern end of the beach.

For the gourmands and the golfers, cruise towards the resort at Hamilton Island . Choose from an array of splendid fine-dining options with beachfront views of the heavenly Coral Sea , or go to the 18-hole golf course, replete with steep valleys and jaw-dropping ridges.

Justifiably popular spots to whip out the snorkels and flipper fins to include Hook Island , and its stunning Nara Inlet or Butterfly Bay -where a swarm of Ulysses butterflies make their trajectory over the ocean each morning and night.,  Neck Bay or Cid Island, where blossoming coral mingles with manta rays and many more.

Read more: 5 Reasons to Visit the Whitsunday Islands on a Luxury Yacht Charter

sydney harbour fireworks

Sydney shimmers with a cosmopolitan brilliance. With a staggering number of swanky bars and hip eateries, as well as being a trailblazer in arts and culture, the city entertains yacht-goers with great panache. We haven't even mentioned the internationally-renowned golden stretches of sand ( Bondi Beach , Palm Beach , Coogee Beach, and Manly Beach to name but a few) that are sprinkled along its coast. 

Outstanding New Year's Eve shows is where Sydney truly excels. And what vantage point could be better than from the sundeck of your superyacht, clinking Champagne flutes as the sky transforms into a whirlwind of pyrotechnics at Sydney Harbour Bridge ?   Recover the next day and cruise towards the serene  Sugarloaf Bay , sequestered from the hustle and bustle of city life, and fall into a quiet slumber on the sun pads.

Related: How to Celebrate New Year's Eve aboard a Superyacht in Sydney

The Kimberley

 Buccaneer Achipelego, The Kimberley, Western Australia

The Kimberley retains a certain mystique that seduces the adventurous yacht charterer year after year, as a region where the Outback invitingly melds with the coast. As an undulating rhythm of lush jade greens, softly glowing auburns and ochres tumble into a whirl of pink sands and mint-colored seas, The Kimberley beguiles the senses. Feel everyday life slowly slip away like the dreamy sunsets that will come to define your charter here following a day spent bronzing on Cable Beach , the coral-hued, mangrove-fringed Roebuck Bay , or cleansing in the lagoons of Mitchell Falls .

Onshore, trace 50,000-year-old Aboriginal art carved into soaring rock faces on a private tour of the semi-arid savannah, before jumping on a tender to delve into  Ningaloo Reef:  an inexhaustible source of diving adventure and the world's largest fringing reef. Admire gliding sea turtles and float alongside pods of dolphins or tame whale sharks - the latter visit the area from March till July.

Read more: The Kimberleys Yacht Charter Itinerary

Sunrise over Melbourne

Silhouetted by the angular forms of illuminated skyscrapers, Melbourne is a glittering metropolis that's an ideal yacht charter destination for those seeking a trip with a hearty buzz. World-renowned annual events such as the Australian Grand Prix , The Melbourne Cup and the Australian Open  all take place here, and it bursts at the seams with trendy eateries, Michelin-starred restaurants, and cool bars. If you are looking for cute critters, make a pitstop at the Phillip Island Nature Parks where you can hug a koala and watch penguins make their nightly waddle across the beach.

If the bright lights start to wane, Melbourne is conveniently located to offshoot locations like the hip coastal city of  Mornington Peninsula , all sprawling vineyards and colorful beach-hut lined sands, as well as  Tasmania, whose wild beauty far surmounts its diminutive size. 

Related: Four of the Best Things to Do on a Melbourne Luxury Yacht Charter

Beautiful sunset over the bend of the river Clutha with Southern Alps peaks on the horizon, New Zealand

With the Great Barrier Reef alone spanning almost the length of Italy , and tremendously diverse scenery both at sea and land, it isn't hugely common for an Australian yacht charter to continue elsewhere. There is enough to keep people busy for possibly weeks or months! 

However, to find out about possible yacht charter combinations further afield (such as New Zealand ), please contact your yacht charter broker.

A young couple in a meeting with a professional man looking at a document

For Australia yacht charters, we strongly advise booking well in advance of your trip to ensure you get the perfect vessel for your chosen dates. We recommend doing so three to six months ahead to give your  yacht charter broker  the time to organize a personalized itinerary and provide you with an amazing Australia chartering experience. 

If you leave left too late, the selection of yachts at your disposal will be reduced. Plus, finding dates when everyone in your charter party is available, can become more difficult the longer it's postponed.

Start Planning - Speak with a Charter Expert

Our yacht charter experts will:

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  • Negotiate booking & prepare your itinerary

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Explore Australia

Sydney Guide

Guide to Sydney

Whitsundays Guide

Guide to Whitsundays

Great Barrier Reef Guide

Guide to Great Barrier Reef

The Kimberley Guide

Guide to The Kimberley

Melbourne Guide

Guide to Melbourne

Australia yacht charter itineraries.

Our curated yacht charter itineraries ensure you experience the very best of Australia's enchantingly diverse landscapes, wherever you decide to cruise.

Crafted by our superyacht experts, select a charter itinerary according to your destination. From the spellbinding subaquatic world of the Great Barrier Reef to the tranquil topaz shallows of the Whitsundays, to the final-frontier beauty of The Kimberley and the shimmering cityscapes of Sydney and Melbourne: your itinerary options here are practically limitless.

Explore the phenomenal beauty of the Whitsunday Islands

Discover Australia

Paradisiacal diving opportunities, mind-blowing snorkeling spots, mesmerizing coral reefs, deluxe superyacht marinas, fine sandy beaches, rainforest trails and a staggering array of wildlife.

When to Go:

June - September: Great Barrier Reef, The Kimberley, Whitsundays

December - February: Sydney, Melbourne

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Luxury Yachts for Charter in Australia 2024 & 2025

Crewed charter yachts in australia.

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AIX Yacht Charter in Australia

45m   Sanlorenzo

from $201,000 p/week ♦︎

Mischief Yacht Charter in Australia

86m Oceanco

from $548,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Bold Yacht Charter in Australia

85m SilverYachts

from $950,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Wanderlust Yacht Charter in Australia

Wanderlust 12

from $960,000 p/w eek

Sea Eagle Yacht Charter in Australia

Sea Eagle 10

81m Royal Huisman

81m   2020/2022

from $597,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Wayfinder Yacht Charter in Australia

Wayfinder 12

68m Astilleros Armon

from $375,000 p/w eek

Twizzle Yacht Charter in Australia

57m Royal Huisman

57m   2010/2021

from $250,000 p/w eek

Mischief Yacht Charter in Australia

Mischief 12

54m Baglietto

54m   2006/2017

from $265,000 p/w eek

Big Sky Yacht Charter in Australia

48m Oceanfast

48m   2010/2023

from $180,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Immortalis Yacht Charter in Australia

Immortalis 12

45m Niigata Shipyard

45m   1996/2021

from $120,000 p/w eek

AIX Yacht Charter in Australia

45m Sanlorenzo

from $201,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Calliope Yacht Charter in Australia

Calliope 10

43m Richmond Yachts

43m   2007/2022

from $150,000 p/w eek

De Lisle III Yacht Charter in Australia

De Lisle III 8

42m Gulf Craft

42m   2008/2018

from $110,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Impulsive Yacht Charter in Australia

Impulsive 10

40m Mondo Marine

from $93,000 p/w eek ♦︎

The Beast Yacht Charter in Australia

The Beast 12

39m Profab Central Engineering Ltd

from $205,000 p/w eek

Lance Yacht Charter in Australia

38m Sanlorenzo

from $147,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Ghost II Yacht Charter in Australia

Ghost II 12

37m Gulf Craft

from $73,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Nancy-Jean Yacht Charter in Australia

Nancy-Jean 12

37m Sunseeker

from $125,000 p/w eek

Radiance Yacht Charter in Australia

37m   2010/2022

from $89,500 p/w eek

Thandeka Yacht Charter in Australia

37m Camper & Nicholsons

37m   1999/2017

from $92,000 p/w eek ♦︎ *

Evolution Yacht Charter in Australia

Evolution 8

37m Oceanfast

37m   2005/2023

Quantum Yacht Charter in Australia

37m Warren Yachts

37m   2009/2020

from $99,238 p/w eek

Emerald Lady Yacht Charter in Australia

Emerald Lady 8

35m Lloyds Ships

35m   1983/2008

from $47,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Pops Yacht Charter in Australia

35m Sunseeker

from $141,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Beluga Yacht Charter in Australia

35m   2006/2011

from $75,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Rascal Yacht Charter in Australia

from $83,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Princess Iluka Yacht Charter in Australia

Princess Iluka 10

35m Ray Kemp

35m   1979/2023

Three Rivers Yacht Charter in Australia

Three Rivers 12

35m   2014/2020

Akiko Yacht Charter in Australia

34m Alloy Yachts

34m   2007/2023

from $115,000 p/w eek

Pleiades II Yacht Charter in Australia

Pleiades II 12

34m Kingship

34m   2007/2019

Relentless  Yacht Charter in Australia

Relentless 9

34m   2006/2020

from $75,000 p/w eek

Corroboree Yacht Charter in Australia

Corroboree 12

33m Lloyds Ships

33m   1988/2018

from $60,000 p/w eek

Mohasuwei Yacht Charter in Australia

Mohasuwei 8

33m Cantieri di Pisa

33m   2009/2018

from $67,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Oneworld Yacht Charter in Australia

Oneworld 12

32m Gulf Craft

from $66,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Bluestone 1 Yacht Charter in Australia

Bluestone 1 10

31m Gulf Craft

from $74,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Kimojo Yacht Charter in Australia

from $71,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Parriwi Yacht Charter in Australia

30m Azzura Yachts

Belle Yacht Charter in Australia

30m   2016/2023

Little Perle Yacht Charter in Australia

Little Perle 9

from $53,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Seven Star Yacht Charter in Australia

Seven Star 8

VivieRae II Yacht Charter in Australia

VivieRae II 10

30m Nordhavn

from $90,000 p/w eek *

Triple 888 Eight Yacht Charter in Australia

Triple 888 Eight 8

29m Horizon

29m   2008/2016

from $65,000 p/w eek

Intrigue Yacht Charter in Australia

28m Jade Yachts

28m   2010/2022

from $54,000 p/w eek ♦︎

AQA Yacht Charter in Australia

28m Warren Yachts

Bahama Yacht Charter in Australia

28m Lloyds Ships

28m   1981/2010

from $56,000 p/w eek

Texas T Yacht Charter in Australia

28m Sulis Marine

28m   2009/2021

from $78,000 p/w eek

Auspro Yacht Charter in Australia

28m   1988/2015

from $40,000 p/w eek

Aura Yacht Charter in Australia

27m Horizon

from $60,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Blooms Yacht Charter in Australia

27m Leopard

from $29,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Pure Adrenalin Yacht Charter in Australia

Pure Adrenalin 12

27m Azzura Yachts

Segara Yacht Charter in Australia

27m   2013/2022

from $51,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Rua Moana Yacht Charter in Australia

Rua Moana 8

27m Pachoud

from $110,000 p/w eek

Ghost Yacht Charter in Australia

27m Warren Yachts

from $40,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Aurora Yacht Charter in Australia

26m   2004/2021

from $90,000 p/w eek

Bali Hai II  Yacht Charter in Australia

Bali Hai II 8

25m Norman R. Wright & Sons

25m   1964/2009

Alani Yacht Charter in Australia

24m Sunseeker

from $42,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Atlantic Princess Yacht Charter in Australia

Atlantic Princess 8

24m   1991/2019

from $28,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Kokomo Yacht Charter in Australia

24m Sunreef Yachts

from $85,000 p/w eek

La Mar Yacht Charter in Australia

24m Lazzara

from $62,300 p/w eek

Blanc Yacht Charter in Australia

23m Overmarine

23m   2007/2023

from $44,000 p/w eek ♦︎

Cattitude Yacht Charter in Australia

Cattitude 8

23m Alliaura Marine Group

23m   2012/2013

from $45,000 p/w eek

Orion Yacht Charter in Australia

23m Sunreef Yachts

from $55,000 p/w eek

Feng Yacht Charter in Australia

22m Sunreef Yachts

Jalun Yacht Charter in Australia

20m   2006/2016

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Our charter experts will:

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Top 'Things To Do' in Australia

Vue de Monde

Gastronomic luxury with impeccable views


An oasis of private luxury

Salt Water Restaurant at Lizard Island Resort

A true culinary delight in breathtaking surrounds

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Australia Yacht Charter Q&A

Browsing the range of Australia charter yachts available is a breeze on our website. Select by your chosen dates, number of guests, yacht type, features, and preferred onboard toys and we'll show you what's on offer.

If you do make a subsequent enquiry, a yacht charter broker will then contact you to provide you with a custom charter proposal.

Alternatively, contact your  yacht charter broker directly, and they will be able to research on your behalf your Australia yacht charter options.

For most Australian yacht charters, you secure the booking through a completed charter agreement, with 50% of the charter fee paid upfront as a deposit. This amount is usually payable once the contract has been signed.

The Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsundays (74 glittering isles located within this gigantic oceanic playground) are the preferred choices to begin or end an Australian yacht charter. Guests adore the world-renowned diving and snorkeling opportunities here (which are practically boundless), their uber-luxe resorts and stunning array of bays and anchorages.

Foreign-flagged superyachts should obtain a coastal trading temporary allowance to charter in Australia.

Be clear about where exactly you want to charter a yacht in Australia prior to booking, as the best times to visit can differ dramatically according to the region. For example, popular superyacht hotspots like the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday's and the Kimberley's are all best explored between June-September. Meanwhile, for Sydney and Melbourne the best times to visit are between December and February.

Australia is a sought-after yacht charter destination, which for guests means there is a yacht to suit practically every budget.

However, take into consideration the additional costs that aren't included in the base rate for your yacht charter in Australia. This includes the 10% Goods and Services Tax (GST) that needs to be paid according to the charter's value, and the APA (Advance Provisioning Allowance). The APA is usually set at 30% of the charter fee and paid in advance to cover expenses such as fuel, berthing, food and drinks, as well as any special requests.

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An inexhaustible source of adventure, Australia is the quintessential superyacht destination. Overflowing with iconic destinations that bask in the country’s infectious laid-back style, it is no wonder Australia is an enduring favourite for sport, adventure and natural wonders.

 With an eclectic mix of unique experiences, there are memories to be made in Australia that simply cannot be found anywhere else. Escape to a country that in one moment will leave you in awe at its untouched natural beauty, and the next throw you into the very heart of the some of the world’s most exhilarating events. Beaches are more than a spectacular blend of sand and sea in this colourful country; they’re a lifestyle and inhabit every piece of Australia’s coastal character, from the boho fashion of the locals to the delicious seafood cuisine served in waterfront restaurants.

Australia boasts an all-year-round cruising calendar, outstanding tourism experiences and world-renowned refit and maintenance facilities that welcome the global superyacht fleet. For those willing to indulge their inner hedonist, Australia is the ultimate superyacht playground.

Unique experiences, all-year-round

Summer and Winter cruising seasons afford Australia an irresistible outdoor spirit that lasts 365 days a year – rather fortunate given the abundance of experiences that await…

A country surrounded by water, Australia is a superyacht haven. Ranging from unspoilt, secluded stretches of glowing white sands to towel-strewn golden paradises and rough surfing havens, beach-lovers will never be disappointed here. Diversity reigns supreme in this huge island nation, where a cruising itinerary can encompass an amazing range of sights not found anywhere else in the world.

From the stunning coral reefs of Queensland, to the spectacular waterways of New South Wales and the crocodile-filled waterholes of the Northern Territory, Australia is a truly unique yachting experience. The kaleidoscopic colours of the Great Barrier Reef are the pinnacle of any diver’s fantasy. From Port Douglas down to Bundaberg stretches 300,000 square kilometres of coral cays, brimming with marine treasures and exquisite sea life. There is simply no better destination for water-based activities.

Not all of the adventure is concentrated at sea. Step inland and discover Australia’s diverse flora and fauna, along with a rich Aboriginal culture. Stop off to play with kangaroos, koalas and wombats or sample fine wines at one of Australia’s exemplary vineyards. The rugged beauty of The Kimberley and Tropical North Queensland presents the opportunity to learn something new. Immerse yourself in 50,000-year-old Aboriginal rock art, brush up on your bush tucker skills or get an awe-inspiring perspective of it all from the sky.

For those who can’t stay too long away from the hustle and bustle of a city, world-class marina facilities in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne can take you right back into the action. Sydney is perfect for a long weekend of luxury comforts, fine dining, and high-end shopping. New Year’s Eve onboard a superyacht with the backdrop of Sydney’s Opera House and Harbour Bridge is certainly one for every owner’s bucket list. Head down to Melbourne, the events capital, for some of the world’s best events. From the Harbour, you are a short tender cruise from the major sporting events held throughout the year, including the Grand Prix, Melbourne Cup and Australian Open. Alternatively, a short walk down the newly renovated dockside will bring you to the Marvel Stadium, where leading artists flock to perform.

Indulge in infinite luxury

No matter where in the country your itinerary may take you, Australia’s highlife is never far away.

Premium superyacht marinas scattered across the islands lead into luxurious five-star resorts, leaving your yacht in good care while you delve into an authentic barefoot island retreat. Ideal for groups carrying a wide demographic, the Whitsunday Islands offer everything from chic beach glamour to high-octane water sports.

Should you wish to venture into Australia’s richly diverse regions, the Luxury Lodges of Australia will welcome you in sumptuous style. A collection of the finest lodges and camps around Australia, Luxury Lodges offers over 250 individual experiences and activities that connect guests to Australia’s most breath-taking locations, unlocking their curiosity and adventure-seeking spirit. The standards of comfort and service in Australia’s high-end heritage sites are parallel to that of a stay onboard one of the finest superyachts. Whether overlooking the Ningaloo Reef on Australia’s West Coast, staying in the world-renowned Barossa Valley wine region in Southern Australia or dining underneath the iconic Ayers Rock in the World Heritage listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, the Lodges deliver a truly special experience.

If you prefer not to stray too far from the natural playground of the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns and the Whitsunday Islands offer a selection of high-end luxury resorts. Surrounded by a bewitching blend of sublime landscapes, intriguing marine life and infinitely perfect anchorages, the tropical coast marinas offer something for every superyacht party. Superyacht owners have enthused that being able to explore the coastal towns without the need for a security detail has added a special touch to their Australian exploits.

World-class superyacht facilities

Nowhere else in the world can a superyacht sit so detached and isolated yet still be within a short cruise from premier, state-of-the-art shipyard facilities. Australia has a thriving refit and maintenance industry that has benefitted recently from significant investment to cater to larger vessels, meaning no project is too complex.

All along the East Coast there is an array of shipyards that constantly makes sure the South Pacific superyacht fleet is well serviced and pristine. The capabilities available are not to be understated. In Cairns, the world’s largest Mobile Boat Hoist at BSE Maritime Solutions gives the area significant pulling, and lifting, power. The City can accommodate superyachts of up to 140m in length, while highly experienced agents take great care in providing everything needed for a seamless transition from or to life at sea. Cairns itself provides the perfect setting for a superyacht homeport, situated between the Wet Tropics Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, two World Heritage listed natural wonders.

Queensland’s vibrant South East region boasts a similarly impressive offering. The well-established facilities in Brisbane and the Gold Coast have given the green light to significant investments as they prepare for an influx of visiting superyachts. Rivergate Marina & Shipyard has its own prominent international reputation, having completed over 250 superyacht projects since opening in 2006. Rivergate’s positioning on the Brisbane River provides easy access to both the bustling city and the immaculate cruising grounds of Australia and the South Pacific.

The Australia Marine Complex in Henderson, Western Australia is home to Echo Yachts and Silver Yachts, both multi-award-winning superyacht builders with glowing international reputations. The delivery of 84m trimaran White Rabbit by Echo Yachts in 2018 earned worldwide acclaim for reimagining the possibilities of comfort and efficiency onboard a superyacht. Superyacht projects undertaken in Australia not only benefit from the thousands of specialised trades that surround each facility and the historic expertise in aluminium, but also from the significant exchange rate advantage of the Australian Dollar.

New possibilities

With the intimacy of a small island and the might of a first world country, Australia is the South Pacific superyacht hub with a perfect balance to ensure there is never a dull moment. Some of the world’s largest superyachts frequent the sanctuary of Tropical North Queensland’s marinas as a homeport and gateway to the excitement of the South Pacific islands. Hollywood star Will Smith became the first to officially charter a foreign flagged superyacht in Australia following the passage of new legislation in 2019. Since then, interest in superyacht charters has blossomed from the tropical northern areas down to the isolated splendour of Tasmania.


Yachting in Australia


On the east coast of Australia, in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, green islands with white sandy beaches appear like a mirage under the rays of the tropical sun. Though far from civilization, they attract and frighten at the same time with their unpredictability. The colorful world of fish, turtles, dolphins, and even whales frolicking in warm waters, and the unique coral reefs make it worth embarking on an unpredictable yacht trip off the coast of Australia. Thanks to the reef, the coast of Queensland boasts the largest number of safe anchorages and sheltered yacht clubs. Along the rocky coast and sandy beaches, only the mouths of the rivers serve as natural harbors.

Yacht Charter in Australia

The east coast of Queensland, specifically Airlie Beach, offers yacht charters.

Nearest Airports in Australia

Brisbane International Airport (BNE) and Sydney International Airport (SYD) are the nearest airports to the yacht charter location.

Features of Yachting in Australia

Yachting in Australia is recommended for experienced yachtsmen due to the high level of difficulty. The area is characterized by tidal waters, strong ocean currents, strong winds, rocky shores, gently sloping ocean waves, and difficult seabed topography. Safe and secure moorings and marinas are located along the east and southeast coasts, though navigation can be challenging. However, every island, reef, and passage is well-marked on the region’s nautical charts.

The best time for yachting in Australia is from August to October and from February to May (local spring and autumn). The southeast coast of Australia has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and rainy, mild winters. The air temperature from November to April is around 25-27 degrees Celsius, while the water temperature ranges from 20-25 degrees Celsius. South and southeast trade winds typically prevail at 20-25 knots, and showers are likely.

Australia Yachting Route from Airlie Beach

A 7-day itinerary for a yacht trip around the Whitsunday Islands off the east coast of Australia from Airlie Beach is available. It includes a detailed description of anchorages with GPS coordinates and distances (in miles) for daily sailings on the islands of the Coral Sea in Australia. The route covers 95 nautical miles and includes stopovers at Airlie Beach, South Mall Island, Hook Island, Whitsunday Island, Shaw Island, Hamilton Island, and Shute Harbor.

Queensland is the most popular and famous of the six Australian states. The state’s popularity is attributed to the fact that most of its local tourist attractions are “invented” by nature itself: the best beaches, breathtaking mountain systems, and a series of beautiful waterfalls. The famous Great Barrier Reef, stretching in the Coral Sea along the northeast coast of the state, and the Whitsunday Islands are the main attractions of Queensland. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the largest coral systems in the world, and it can be seen even from space. The reef is made up of billions of coral polyps, the smallest microorganisms. It is the largest formation in the world created by living organisms. In the north, it is almost continuous, while in the south, it breaks up into groups of separate reefs, in some places receding from the coast by 300 km.

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  • Yacht Charter Australia

Yacht Charter in Australia

De Lisle III by Gulf Craft - Top rates for a Charter of a private Superyacht in Australia

Australia yacht charter

Australia is blessed with some of the most beautiful yacht charter destinations in the world. Located in the South Pacific, with the Indian Ocean to the west, and the Pacific to the east, Australia is a yacht charter paradise. The Great Barrier Reef offers the Australian northeast coast with endless opportunities for yacht charters. With some of the world's best dive spots, uninhabited islands featuring secluded bays, pristine white sand beaches, and a world of peace, serenity, and tranquility, the world's biggest coral reef system is the most beautiful attraction for yacht charters in Australia.

How much to charter a yacht in Australia?

Every imaginable yacht can be found cruising along the coast and waters of Australia. At different price points, varying amenities, sizes, and purposes, you can find every kind of yacht that suits your needs. A 50-foot sailing yacht with four cabins can cost around $6,500 for a week's rent. An 82-foot catamaran, on the other hand, can cost around $60,000 for a week's rent; while a 119-foot motor yacht with five cabins costs around $110,000 for a week's rent in Australia.

What are the most popular yacht holidays in Australia?

With so many beautiful coastal cities, nearby islands, and over 200 marinas located all over the country, it can be a little daunting to find the best yacht charter holidays in Australia. However, if you want to discover the top sailing destinations, these spots are the Whitsunday Islands, Moreton Bay, and Sydney. The Whitsunday Islands is located in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, and it's no wonder the group of islands is the most popular yacht charter destination in the country. There are 74 islands in this island group, with only six being inhabited. This means there are 68 islands to explore with no crowds, no structures, and very little development. With pristine white sands, crystal clear waters, a subtropical climate, and the most exotic underwater marine life, the Whitsundays top the bill for the most popular yacht charter destination in Australia.

On Brisbane's doorstep, Moreton Bay is another yacht charter destination that boasts of beauty and allure. Moreton Bay itself is the route of migratory humpback whales in the summer, where you'll also get to see dolphins and much other marine life in its waters. Moreton Island is also a stone's throw away from Brisbane, featuring beaches and wildlife. The North and South Stradbroke Islands are popular spots for locals and visitors, while Fraser Island is a definite must for yacht charters for its famous white-sand dunes and freshwater lakes. Dive enthusiasts will also take pleasure in the abundance of marine life in Moreton Bay, especially the shipwrecks that number to over 100.

The Sydney Harbour and Pittwater Bay are popular yacht charter destinations in the country. Cruising along the Harbour presents yachtsmen with beautiful views of the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Located to the north of Sydney is Pittwater, offering little swell and reliable winds. There are three national parks inland, which make for a beautiful day excursion. Furthermore, the Hawkesbury River in Pittwater offers spectacular sandstone cliffs, uninhabited islands, and small towns worth discovering.

Where to go on a luxury yacht charter in Australia?

With more than 290 marinas found in Australia, a luxury yacht charter is easy to find. You can find a plethora of superyachts cruising along the Harbour in Sydney's Port Jackson, offering sunset cruises, corporate yacht parties, and even weddings onboard the most luxurious yachts you will ever see. About 2 hours away, Port Stephens features the Soldier's Point Marina, which has been awarded the Marina of the Year Award in 2007 and proclaims itself as a Four Seasons resort. Dubbed as "The Blue Water Paradise," Port Stephens has 19 miles of clean, white, sandy beaches and a bay that offers perfect sailing conditions.

The Gold Coast in Queensland is another yacht charter luxury destination due to its marine boat building industry. The coastal city is the headquarters for many internationally recognized marine brands, making it the first spot in the world to witness the most beautiful and most luxurious vessels to ever cruise on water. Home to nine luxury marinas, The Gold Coast is where you'll find mega yachts cruising on the Bay, and luxury yachts casually cruising on its famous Broadwater.

Airlie Beach, the gateway to the Whitsundays, is another luxury yacht charter destination. Tourists who want to visit the Whitsundays head to Airlie Beach, which is in itself, a beautiful coastal location with stunning beaches and world-class resorts. Australia is home to some of the world's best yachting destinations. With a lifestyle that includes spending time outdoors as a daily activity, a yacht charter in the land Down Under is simply the best way to truly experience this stunning country.

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The Top 10 Destinations For Sailing in Australia

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Looking for the best places to sail in Australia? Now has never been a better time than to set sail on a new adventure.

For most Aussies, summer and autumn calls for the perfect season to spend time on the water.

Although we’re renowned for being the best destination for water activities, sailing in Australia is an experience like no other.

So whether you’re looking for a sailing holiday or simply just the top sailing destinations, these top 10 places to sail in Australia will have your weekends sorted!

When is the best time to sail in Australia? Thanks to the balmy weather and the calming of tides, the best cruising and sailing season in Australia, more specifically southern Australia, is in January, February and March of every year.

The Best Places to Sail in New South Wales:

Port Jackson

Port Jackson

Port Jackson is found within the waters of Sydney Harbour, and where better to explore Sydney’s famed sights than from the harbour itself. These sailing trips venture around the harbour and are a spectacular experience for both tourists and locals alike. Thanks to the warm, blissful weather paired with beautiful scenery, Port Jackson makes for one of the top sailing experiences in Australia.

Lake Macquarie

Lake Macquarie

Lake Macquarie is one of the top sailing destinations of New South Wales. Located just 150 kilometres north of Sydney, the lake connects with the Pacific Ocean on its east side. Lake Macquarie is pooled with sandy inlets and secluded bays perfect for sailing, swimming and snorkeling. Four times as big as Sydney Harbour and extremely quiet, Lake Macquarie is a perfect sailing destination in Australia.

Port Stephens

Port Stephens

The sparkling blue bay of Port Stephens is a brilliant place to sail. Named “The Blue Water Paradise” for obvious reasons, the bay is located tw0-and-a-half hours north of Sydney. The bay has over 30 kilometres of clean, white, sandy beaches and is home to whales and dolphins. Sailing in Port Stephens is a brilliant experience, and a fantastic holiday destination this sailing season. There is a sailing experience for all tastes in Port Stephens, so be sure to make the trip and enjoy this marine experience.

The Best Places to Sail in Victoria:

Gippsland Lakes

Gippsland Lakes

Under a four hour drive from Melbourne’s CBD or just over two hours from the heart of Gippsland lies one of Victoria’s largest and renowned network of Gippsland Lakes. Covering an area that stretches out to 354 kilometres, Gippsland Lakes is conveniently comprised of Lake Wellington, Lake King and Lake Victoria. Taking the title as one of the best places to sail in Victoria, sailing enthusiasts will feel anchored thanks to Gippsland Lakes’ circumference of marshes, lagoons and more.

The Best Places to Sail in Tasmania:

D'entrecasteaux Channel

D'entrecasteaux Channel

Located between mainland Tasmania and Bruny Island – a two hour sail from Hobart and home to miles of sheltered water – D’entrecasteaux Channel is our top pick of Australia’s top sailing destinations. The channel is filled to the brim with secluded beaches and there are often dolphin, whale and seal sightings in the area. On specific tours you can learn how to sail and immerse yourself in all things sailing as you take the helm. If you’re looking to experience sailing and take in the beautiful blue waters of Tasmania, be sure to visit the D’entrecasteaux Channel.

The Best Places to Sail in South Australia:

Kangaroo Island

Kangaroo Island

Reachable by ferry, if you love to sail, then why not get the catamaran started and head off to one of South Australia’s favourite sailing destinations in Australia? Although it may be small in size, Kangaroo Island is mighty in all that it offers for cruising and sailing enthusiasts alike. With the island renowned for its protected nature reserves, on your next sailing adventure you and your crew could come up close and personal to native wildlife species and some of the most striking coastal rock formations.

The Best Places to Sail in Western Australia:

Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island

Located 19 kilometres off the coast of Fremantle, Rottnest Island is Western Australia’s very own island getaway. The island is Australia’s premier boating destination. You can catch a ferry to the island, but why not sail to the island in luxury instead? Sail to and around the island on a luxury catamaran and enjoy snorkeling, as well as plenty of other activities around the island. This is an incredible experience, so if you ever find yourself around Western Australia, be sure to put time aside to sail to Rottnest Island.

The Best Places to Sail in Queensland

Moreton Bay

Moreton Bay

Moreton Bay is a gorgeous sailing destination on Queensland’s southern coast near Brisbane. Found between mainland Australia, Moreton and Stradbroke Island, the area is the ideal destination for water activities and has become a hub for boating, diving and swimming enthusiasts. Making for one of the best sailing holidays in Australia, here you’ll be able to stop at a variety of destinations including both islands and the Tangalooma Wrecks.

The Whitsundays

The Whitsundays

Meet the gorgeous Whitsundays, one of Australia’s classic summer holiday destinations. The islands around The Great Barrier Reef in Queensland are the perfect holiday destination, and you’re bound to have heard someone rave about how great Hamilton Island is! One of the best ways to explore this gorgeous part of Australia is on a boat, and sailing trips are a hugely popular attraction. There’s an array of sailing options to choose from: whether you want just a day on the water, or to stay several nights on a boat, there is surely a sailing holiday for you.

Great Sandy Strait

Great Sandy Strait

The Great Sandy Strait, located in between the Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg – between the mainland and Fraser Island – is a gorgeous and picturesque area, perfect for sailing. The water is incredibly clear, much like the Whitsundays, and makes for one of the most perfect places to get out on a yacht and relax for the day. The marine wildlife you can potentially come across in the Great Sandy Strait include whales, dugongs, dolphins and turtles, hence why the Strait is described as a marine sanctuary.

Love exploring the outdoors? Then get ready to dive into the 12 best snorkelling spots around Australia . And for some island-hopping inspiration, be sure to add these 10 beautiful islands around Australia to your 2021 bucket list .

We acknowledge the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

Feature image: Photographed by Evan Smogor. Image via Unsplash.

This article was first published on november 8 2018. it was updated and edited by hunter and bligh on february 18 2021..

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Australia Yacht Charters

Australia yacht charters are an adventure of a lifetime. From diving the world-famous Great Barrier Reef, to hopping from island to island in the Coral Sea, boat rentals are jam-packed with one-of-a-kind experiences. Looking for reasons to consider a private yacht charter in the land Down Under?

Discover Breathtaking Australia on a Luxury Yacht Charter

Whether you enjoy soaking up the sun at a hidden beach, or ATV-ing through the rainforest, crewed yacht charters in Australia provide guests the best way to experience the country’s splendors. Plus, you will have the chance to see some of the world’s most unique natural wonders – from the Great Barrier Reef to beach kangaroos.

Australia Yacht Charter Highlights

  • Amazing diving and snorkeling in The Great Barrier Reef
  • White-sand beaches of The Whitsunday Islands
  • Abundant marine life and incredible wildlife
  • Exceptional coral creations and unique landscapes

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Australia Yachting Season

May through October are the most popular months for yacht charters , with the famous sailing race in August (Audi Hamilton Island Race Week)

December will cater to some great yacht rentals, including Christmas and New Years’ and into January. The weather is very stable, winds are low, rain is generally not prominent, and the water is warm.

Australia Area Guide: Yacht Charter Areas

There are many places to explore on your Australia yacht charter. However, there are two locations that are the most popular and offer the best experience:

  • The Great Barrier Reef – this is a popular charter destination for scuba divers and snorkelers. The focus of charters in that area is the underwater world.
  • The Whitsunday Islands – this is a popular honeymoon destination. It is also a family-friendly destination with a mild climate and gentle breezes. if you enjoy miles-long sandy beaches and crystal clear water, this is the destination for you.

Australia Yacht Charters: What to See & Do

Australia Great Barrier Reef 4

Australia is home to every type of landscape you could imagine. From coastal rainforests to arid deserts. When you rent a crewed yacht in Australia, you will find many hidden gems off the coast of Queensland near the Great Barrier Reef. Unique and awe-inspiring ports of calls and stunning tropical environs await. Just be sure to pack the sunscreen and sunglasses.

Experience the Amazing Wildlife Here’s an interesting fact about Australia: Nearly 80 percent of the wildlife found here isn’t found anywhere else in the world. That means one thing for yacht charter guests: one-of-a-kind encounters with unique critters and landscapes.

Where else in the world can you see a kangaroo hopping along the beach? Head to Camp Hillsborough near the Whitsundays, where the kangaroos hang out alongside beachgoers. Where else could you cuddle a Koala bear? Try Great Sandy National Park and Noosa National Park to get up close and personal with Australia’s unique cuddly creatures.

World-Class Snorkeling Is there a better snorkeling destination in the world than the Great Barrier Reef? Nothing compares. The Great Barrier Reef measures nearly half the size of Texas and encompasses more than 2000 individual reefs. For snorkelers, that means one thing: Adventure around every corner.

Check out the Ribbon Reefs, a network of reefs teeming with tropical fish, aquatic mammals and sea turtles. Lady Elliot Island is another popular destination, known for its large sea turtle populations. And the coral gardens of Butterfly Bay offer the chance for beautiful snorkeling in the shallows.

Unique Diving Locations The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s top diving destinations. That makes sense. Diving provides a chance to explore more of the reef’s incredible corals. Many charter guests head to Heron Island, a secluded coral island in Australia’s Fraser region. The island offers more than 20 diving spots, each offering an adventure.

Plus, the reef is home to numerous unique dive sites. From hidden bommies to intact shipwrecks. Head to the site of the SS Yongala, one of the country’s most famous wrecks which is now a reclaimed coral garden. The Yongala attracts almost all of the reef’s Great 8 species, making this one of the best dive spots to see it all.

Beaches and Swimming Australia is home to some of the world’s most majestic, untouched, and secluded beaches. In fact, the country might be the best destination in the world for lazy beach days. Where should you go?

Australia offers so many options, from lively beaches where you can sip cocktails in the shade, to massive stretches of sand perfect for shelling. Whitehaven Beach – named Australia’s best beach – is a must-visit. Located in the Whitsundays, Whitehaven offers warm waters and soft sand (and incredible sunset photos). Catseye Beach is another nearby favorite, which is perfect for sunbathing and snorkeling.

Explore the Coastal Rainforest The northern coast of Queensland – one of the most popular yachting grounds – is home to some of the world’s most pristine rainforests. On your private yacht charter in Australia, head to Daintree Rainforest. It is one of the world’s oldest rainforests, and Daintree is a natural wonder.

Visitors come to view nature up close. It’s a popular birding and whale watching destination (particularly May through November). Plus, there are numerous ways to explore the rainforest. Hiking is popular, and Daintree is home to some of Australia’s best zipline courses, as well.

Helicopter Reef Tours After you experience the reef by the sea on your luxury superyacht charter, explore it by air. All along the Queensland coast, especially in Cairns and the Whitsundays, you’ll have access to exhilarating helicopter tours.

Helicopter tours are the perfect way to experience the sheer magnitude of the Great Barrier Reef. You’ll see the reef and sparkling sapphire waters for as far as the eye can see. Plus, if it’s whale watching season, you’ll likely catch a glimpse of pods of orcas, humpbacks, and Bottlenose dolphins.

Whale Watching The coast of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef are two of the best whale-watching destinations in Australia. During winter (July to September), several whale species flock to the warmer waters to mate and give birth. And the whales put on a show.

The best spots for whale watching while on charter are the Whitsundays. The waters around the islands are common breeding grounds for humpback whales. Plus, other species like the Dwarf Minke whale, bottlenose dolphin, orca, and even the giant blue whales also come here to breed.

Island Hopping The Great Barrier Reef is dotted with hundreds of islands and island chains. Australia yacht charter guests are guaranteed to explore the best. The Whitsundays – a network of nearly 70 islands – offer a playground for exploration. Some of the best beaches in all of Australia can be found in the Whitsundays, and each island offers incredible snorkeling, diving and hiking adventures.

Yet, across the Great Barrier Reef, you’ll find truly spectacular, uninhabited islands. Lizard Island, for example, is a popular northern GBR charter destination. Home to a top luxury island resort, Lizard is a secluded and ultra-exclusive haven that’s ideal for beach days. Lady Elliot Island, a coral island in the GBR, is another beautiful destination, offering some of the best diving and snorkeling in Australia.

Watersports Galore In Australia, the water is balmy year-round. That makes it a popular destination for boat charters, no matter the season. And when on charter, you’ll want to spend as much time in the water as possible. Beyond snorkeling, though, there’s an endless list of incredible water-based adventures to partake in.

Try windsurfing in the Whitsundays. There are numerous windsurfing schools that can show you the ropes. Kayaking and paddleboarding are also great ways to explore the corals and hidden bays of Australia. Or if you’re looking to go fast, jet skiing and tender rides are another favorite way to pass the time, when on yacht charters in Australia.

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The RYA continues to expand internationally with around 2400 training centres globally including centres in NZ, Malasia, Thailand, Hong Kong, and of course Australia! The RYA's benchmark qualification the 'Yachtmaster' is highly respected around the world by recreational and professional mariners alike, and is recognised for commercial use on sailing vessels by AMSA in Australia.

The RYA Cruising schemes and the Australian Sailing  Keelboat Program  provide pathways for all levels of experience to progress seamlessly into offshore sailing, and especially to pursue international adventures & employment opportunities.

Australian Sailing is in partnership with the RYA due to its qualifications being recognised and respected around the world, and with more than 130 years experience, together we are able to provide a world-class training platform.

From your first steps on a yacht to skippering a crew across oceans; the RYA Yachtmaster™ Scheme is designed to take you from absolute beginner to highly skilled and competent sailor

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Luxury Australia Yachting Holidays

Cruise through the waters of the Coral Sea, where pristine beaches, vibrant reefs, and ancient rainforests beckon your exploration on a yachting odyssey through Australia.

Explore the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and immerse yourself in marine life exploring the kaleidoscopic colours of the coral reef. Sail across to the rugged splendour of the Kimberley with its towering red cliffs and cascading waterfalls.

Featured Australia Experiences

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Discover the Kimberley's Remote Grandeur

With fewer people per mile than almost anywhere on earth, the Kimberley is a hidden gem of Australia’s West Coast. With its dramatic and rugged coast often only accessible by the water, a yacht is an ideal way to discover this remote region’s cascading falls, white sand beaches, and spectacular gorges.

Enquire Now

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Sail under the Southern Lights in Tasmania

Discover the remarkable bounty of Tasmania. Forage for abalone, surf its epic breaks, and taste test its artisan cheese. You’ll see the highlights of its astonishing national parks and navigate your vessel to its most picturesque anchorages.

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Swim with Minke Whales Down Under

Every June and July in Australia, minke whales follow a migratory channel that takes them to Ribbon Reefs off of Lizard Island. Travelling on the BELUGA explorer yacht, you’ll encounter these inquisitive and majestic mammals while accompanied by dive masters who specialise in whale encounters and assist a researcher in data gathering, tagging, and whale identification.

Popular Yachts to charter

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Need help planning your luxury yacht expedition in Australia?

Get in touch with our Expedition Designers to begin planning your own bespoke Australian yacht charter. Contact us now to start planning your next adventure.

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Cost: from $360/person

To learn more and book, call us on (07) 3396 4100 or email [email protected]

Southern cross yachting – a premier sail training centre.

Brief Overview

Southern Cross Yachting is Australia’s original, accredited RYA sail training centre, established in 1996. We offer one-day, weekend and five-day sailing courses, private tuition on clients’ sail and power boats, bareboat charter preparation courses and offshore mile builders along the southeast Queensland coast.

Our shore-based theory courses are offered to build navigation, safety and maintenance skills for sail and power boat operators. These include classroom and online navigation, sailing lessons, marine radio, safety & sea survival, diesel engine, radar and yacht maintenance are some of the topics covered in our shore-based theory courses. Come join us for some fun on the water!

Our RYA training centre office is located at East Coast Marina in Wynnum-Manly, QLD.

Southern Cross Yachting provides a one-stop shop for all of your yacht training needs! We’ll be happy to help you get started on your next great adventure!

Get in Touch Today!

Interested in taking sailing lessons? Contact Southern Cross Yachting and learn a new skill or brush up on old ones. Call us at 07 3396 4100 .

About Our Courses – For any level

Looking for a new challenge? Or, brushing up on existing yacht skills? With something for everyone, there’s sure to be a course that’s perfect for you. Southern Cross Yachting offers a variety of courses to help you get started. From beginner to advanced levels, our sailing school is the best choice around.

Our most popular courses include an introduction to yacht sailing covering the basics of handling a yacht and sails; a snippet of navigation, where you’ll observe how to chart a course and navigate safely as well as essential skills like tying knots and anchoring. We also have more specialized courses like advanced navigation, meteorology, and marine engines, all leading to the highly skilled Yachtmaster qualification.

Sailing is one of the most freeing and exhilarating experiences you can have on the water, and with our beginner sailing courses, it’s easier than ever to learn the basics and get started. Whether you’re dreaming of sailing around the world or just want to enjoy some time on the water, our sailing lessons will give you the skills and confidence you need to make your dreams a reality.  From learning how to steer a yacht to understanding boat safety, our beginner courses cover everything you need to get started.  Carried out over a single day, weekend or 5-day block, each course requires no prior knowledge or experience.


Let’s set sail! Our range of intermediate courses are for those with crewing confidence who are ready to take their skills to the next level.  Students can use their existing sea time to jump up to the next level, RYA Day Skipper as well as international qualifications which are used to charter yachts.  RYA qualifications and certifications are often used to gain discounts by many marine insurers. Complete your course in Manly or the Whitsundays. We guarantee you’ll have a blast and come away feeling confident and ready to take on the world (or at least the open seas). So what are you waiting for? Set sail today!

Sail away to your next adventure with our range of advanced sailing courses! Choose between skippering a yacht across the pristine coastal waters or taking an intensive course covering the more advanced coastal techniques including position fixing, course shaping and more. Advanced sailors can prep and take a Yachtmaster exam to test their skippering ability or partake in an RYA training centre Coastal Skipper course, each over a five-day block.

For those who have a passion for the open waters, take on the fast-track sailing lessons courses. These courses will have you sailing and navigating the seas in no time. Our bespoke Yachtmaster fast track course is designed to transform a novice sailor into an internationally recognised RYA Yachtmaster.  Please note, the fast track is based around an individual’s prior experience and knowledge and time frames may differ.

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Choose a Southern Cross Yacht Charter For a Perfect Day Away

Looking for a unique way to celebrate a special occasion? Or maybe you’re just looking for a fun and different way to spend a day with friends or family.  Either way, a yacht charter from Southern Cross Yachting is the perfect solution.  We offer a variety of charters that can take you to some of the most beautiful spots in the Moreton Bay Region.

Best of all, you can leave your devices at home and enjoy the ocean like never before.  Whether you’re looking for a special family outing or a corporate and team-building experience, our yacht charters will be fun & educational for everyone.  So what are you waiting for?  Contact us today and let us show you how much fun sailing can be!

Choose Our Sail Training Centre

When it comes to planning your next yachting adventure, there’s no better company to choose than Southern Cross Yachting.  We have a fleet of beautiful boats that are perfect for any occasion, and our experienced staff will make sure your trip is hassle-free. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a fun-filled group vacation whilst educating yourself, license requirements or lower your private yacht insurances, we’ve got you covered.

Introduction to Sailing (1-day)

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Wynnum-Manly, Brisbane, QLD

Either saturday or sunday every 2 weeks.

This popular, 1-day course provides an introduction to sail cruising for novices.  By the end of the course you will have experienced steering a yacht, sail handling, ropework and be aware of safety onboard.  

Bareboat Charter

This one-day, nil experience required course will have you on your way to the most enjoyable sailing holiday imaginable.  You will gain knowledge to safely and competently charter your own desired yacht by providing practice picking up moorings, planning your trip, advice on what to expect and what to pack and take.

Sailing Adventures and Mile Building Passages

East coast of australia.

These voyages are ideal for completing qualifying passages for Yachtmaster exams or for simply gaining experience offshore with an experienced instructor.

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There’s no better place to start sailing than with Southern Cross Yachting. Established in 1996, we’re Australia’s original international RYA training centre. With over twenty years of experience, you know you’re in good hands.

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For over 25 years, Southern Cross Yachting has been the trusted provider of marine training for students from all over the world. With over 10,000 satisfied customers, we’ve helped people of all ages and experience levels gain the skills and confidence they need to enjoy the open water.

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Southern Cross Yachting is proud to work closely with some of the best marine industry peers in the business. We believe that by collaborating with charter companies, brokerages and experts, we can provide our clients with the best possible experience.

Book A Sailing Course With Us Today!

Whether you’re a complete novice or an experienced sailor looking to brush up on your sail boat training skills, Southern Cross Yachting has a course for you. Or if you’re looking to sail away with loved ones for the day, call us at 07 3396 4100 or use the contact page .

Jemma - July 2023

Massive thank you to Jamie and all the staff and other instructors at Southern Cross Yachting! 10/10 experience from booking to sailing to instruction to food whilst onboard. Absolutely one of the best things I’ve ever done and now I’m addicted to sailing!


A great place to learn all things about sailing, experienced Captains who are only to happy to answer any and all questions, a great experience,

Michael MacCormack

Well organized with a wonderful team and instructors. Completed my Comp Crew and looking forward to doing the Day skipper next.

N Dashti

We were lucky enough to spend a day with Jamie on Moreton bay and can’t speak highly enough about it. Three of us with varied previous experience of sailing joined with a father and son to share in a day of learning the ropes. The day was tailored to our varied needs and at all times we were able to ask questions and glean experience from Jamie’s wealth of knowledge. We would highly recommend signing up for a course if you’re interested in getting back on the water after a hiatus. Thanks so much guys! It was a priceless day!

Maria Bukala


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Home » Oceania » Australia » 9 AWESOME Yacht Charters in Australia

9 AWESOME Yacht Charters in Australia

Chartering a yacht in Australia is a great way to see what’s up, down under. Australia is a HUGE country, surrounded by a whole lotta ocean full of incredible sea life that are indigenous to Australia.

As home to some of the best beaches and coral reefs in the world, there is 34,000 km of pristine coastline to explore. No doubt any trip to Australia would be incomplete without heading out on the water and exploring its vast ocean landscape.

But exploring the reefs and tropics is not all you can do on the water in Australia. If you’re looking for a gentle river cruise, you can find that. If you fancy an intimate party on a yacht on Sydney Harbour, well, that’s fine! Or if you’re heading up north in Queensland, Australia for some tropical rays, well go get your sunhat ready!

For a PERFECT holiday on the water, there is no better way to enjoy an all-inclusive experience than to charter a yacht in Australia.

If you’re making the trip to this part of the world, it’s not time to half-ass it. Round up your mates and get on that yacht, people! Let us explain to you how to do just that.

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Top 3 Yacht Charters in Australia

How to charter a yacht in australia, why charter a yacht in australia, best yacht charters in australia,  queensland (brisbane and the gold coast), western australia, things to do on a yacht charter in australia , final thoughts.

Bavaria 44 Yacht

Bavaria 44’ Yacht

  • > 12 guests
  • > Captained
  • > Budget friendly option

Rivera 57 Yacht

Rivera 57’ Yacht

  • > 30 passengers
  • > Versatile and luxurious

Moody 54 Deck Saloon

Moody 54’ Deck Saloon

  • > 12 passengers
  • > Family friendly

Sydney opera city Australia

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Okay, Broke Backpackers, you’ve convinced me. I’m interested in setting sail on a yacht in Australia. Umm, wait a minute, how do I do that?

We get it, we don’t have a luxury yacht lying around either. 

Lucky for you, we’ve got some contacts. 

Allow us to introduce you to Sailo. 

Sailo is an online platform where you can rent and charter boats of all kinds. It’s been around since 2014 and has been making waves in the boat rental scene ever since. 

On Sailo, boat owners can list their own boats for you to rent, either with a captain or bareboat (no captain, just you and your crew). All you do is search for your destination of choice, browse through the available boats and contact the owner if you’re interested! And that’s it! It’s like Airbnb for boats.

You can use filters to narrow the options to the smallest, most budget-friendly options for backpackers or to find the most luxurious party yacht. It’s all there, waiting for you to find it. You can also check out previous customers reviews to make sure the boat your hiring isn’t dodgy.


Umm, did we not mention the world’s largest barrier reef, thriving indigenous sea life, and tropical waters that make the Caribbean look like Putney (no offense, Putney)? Well, allow us to convince you further.

Chartering a yacht is a great way to celebrate something special. Maybe you’ve got a milestone birthday or an anniversary coming up, or maybe you’re just planning the trip of a lifetime after a hard year. Don’t wait for an excuse to live your best life. A yacht charter in Australia, or anywhere in the world for that matter, is an epic, all-inclusive way to make the most of a day on the ocean. 

To charter means your hire comes with a captain and crew (and maybe some other fancy features). All the tough work will be done by the crew, so your job, dear friend, is to sit back and enjoy yourself with your nearest and dearest.

If you’re more a hands-on kind of traveller, there are many bareboat options if you’d like to give sailing a go yourself. This means you and your mates are the captain and crew and you do all the organising and navigating yourself. But hold on friends, before you jump aboard a bareboat, remember that you must have a boating license for any boat with an engine over 4.5kw.

While there are bareboat options across Australia, we will be looking at the best yacht charters in the country.

We’ve mentioned already that Australia is not small. It’s also not the cheapest destination to travel to, especially on a yacht. We’re not fools and we know that everyone has different budgets to work with and travel styles to consider.

So, we’ve narrowed down three areas around the country that are great for a yacht charter in Australia, keeping budget and travel preference in mind so there’s something for everyone on our list. 

Here’s our list of the nine best yacht charters and tours in Sydney, Queensland and Western Australia. 

Sydney Harbour and the coast around the New South Wales capital is a dream for yachting enthusiasts. The harbour is filled with gorgeous, peaceful alcoves and iconic city skylines. It’s definitely one of the best places to visit in Sydney .

And of course, the best place to view those skylines is from your own private yacht in Sydney! Let us show you our favourites.

Best Yacht Charter for Families in Sydney – Moody 54’ Deck Saloon

Moody 54 Deck Saloon

  • 12 passengers
  • Sleeping options available

This Moody 54 foot Deck Saloon is great for a sailing trip if you and your family are in favour of something a bit adventurous. Known as Calypso, she’s crossed the Mediterranean and Atlantic ocean a few times and is no stranger to the waters off the coast of Sydney. You won’t miss out on little luxuries aboard either.

Each of the three guest cabins has access to a bathroom and shower and is fully air-conditioned. If you do opt for an overnight yacht charter, you can comfortably sleep 10 on board. 

Maybe something a little more low-key is what you had in mind for your Sydney yacht charter? You better believe it, she can do that too. You’ll love cruising around the harbour on this boat. There’s a big swim platform for dipping in and out of the water, and panoramic views of the water from each of the comfortable lounge areas.

There are also a bunch of safety features on board that offers peace of mind and comfort for everyone, including little ones. Think excellent sun protection and safety rails around the edges. These things are important on a yacht, it can take a while for some people to find their sea-legs!

Over-the-Top Luxurious Yacht Charter in Sydney – Rivera 57’ Yacht

Rivera 57 Yacht

  • 30 passengers
  • Versatile and luxurious

This Rivera 57 foot yacht is not just nice, it’s also super versatile. Whatever adventure you want to create on Sydney Harbour, you can do it on this boat in absolute style. 

Are you keen on a leisurely day beach hopping and enjoying cheese platters and champagne? This is your boat. A luxurious set-up like this would be the ideal yacht charter in Sydney to watch the iconic New Year’s Eve fireworks on the harbour. It’s also perfectly suited to a deep-sea fishing trip. She can do it all, this one. 

The motor yacht has plenty of space to spread out that is suited to all kinds of activities. There are padded sunbeds on the bow of the boat and inside has a living space with open windows to make the most of the waterfront views. For overnight stays, the master suite rivals some pretty swish hotel setups. 

Of course, a luxurious yacht charter in Sydney doesn’t come cheap, but up to 30 passengers can enjoy the vibes of yacht life in Sydney harbour on this beauty, and that’s bound to be an experience you remember. 

Best Boat Tour in Sydney – Sydney Whale-Watching Cruise

Sydney Whale Watching Cruise

  • Up to 15 passengers
  • Tour guide included

Everyone knows about the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. But did you know that Humpback and Southern Right Whales migrate along the coast near Sydney between May and November each year? It’s a special experience and this is one of the best boat tours in Sydney to see them from!

This boat cruise takes you out past the head of Sydney Harbour and into the Pacific Ocean in search of these majestic animals. You may even spot some dolphins too! You’ll learn a bunch about Australian marine life from your naturalist guide and a whole lotta info about the biodiversity of the area. 

A BBQ lunch or breakfast is included in your experience while you’re in the calm waters of the harbour, and of course, you’ll get epic views of the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. 

There’s always a chance that luck won’t be on your side when you do nature-based tourism. These folk are so confident you’ll see what you came for, they offer guaranteed whale sightings or they will take you out again until you do. They sound like pretty good odds to me!

yachting in australia

Wanna know how to pack like a pro? Well for a start you need the right gear….

These are packing cubes for the globetrotters and compression sacks for the  real adventurers – these babies are a traveller’s best kept secret. They organise yo’ packing and minimise volume too so you can pack MORE.

Or, y’know… you can stick to just chucking it all in your backpack…

The Sunshine State of Queensland is Australia’s most tropical area. The warm waters and riverways around Brisbane and the Gold Coast cities are hot spots for yacht charters in Australia and all kinds of water-based fun. As anyone backpacking the East coast will tell you, the waters around here are out of this world!

So let’s look at some of the best yacht charters in Queensland, then!

Epic Party Yacht Charter in Queensland – Lagoon Catamaran

Lagoon Catamaran

  • 28 passengers
  • Sweet party boat

All aboard the Lagoon Catamaran, the best party boat for charter in Brisbane. Catamarans are always a good choice for boozy days out on the water. Not only do they look damn good, but their split hull means they stay extra stable even when you’re a bit wobbly yourself. 

This 40-foot Catamaran is the best choice for you to throw a sweet party with up to 28 of your besties. If you don’t have an occasion to celebrate, make one up. The warm weather in Queensland’s capital city lends itself to a day on the water, enjoying cold beverages and dips in the refreshing water. 

You can choose between a day on the ocean or on the Brisbane River. How you spend the rest of the day is totally up to you. Blast your fave party tunes and party all day. Just make sure you’ve got the drinks in an esky and you’re wearing your SPF 50+ sunscreen. 

Best All-Inclusive Yacht Charter in Queensland – Voyager Catamaran

Voyager Catamaran

  • 25 passengers
  • Standup and kayaks included

If you’re gonna charter a yacht in Australia, you might as well hire one that has a bunch of fabulous extras. This stunning 40-foot Voyager Catamaran is available for adventures on the beautiful Gold Coast. 

When we said all-inclusive, we weren’t kidding. This baby has everything you could possibly need on board, there’s no way you’re going to miss the comforts of land. There’s space to comfortably sleep eight people. It has a fully functional kitchen with stove, oven and BBQ. There’s even a solid Wi-Fi connection, so you’ll be able to update your Insta stories and let your fans know what you’re up to. 

The back deck and the flybridge are the perfect spots to lounge around and enjoy the sun in the sunshine state. The best bit? There’s even standup paddleboards and kayaks included in the charter so you can play on the water. 

The crew are experts who are used to catering for all kinds of special occasions. If you need language assistance, they can even arrange Chinese, Japanese and Spanish language interpreters. 

The experience is not exactly budget-friendly, but it’s bound to be a day you won’t forget. 

The Most Affordable Yacht Charter in Brisbane – Bavaria 44’ Yacht

Bavaria 44 Yacht

Australia isn’t exactly known as a budget destination and yachting is up there as a more elite sport. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t options that won’t break the bank.

This gorgeous 44 foot Bavaria is an excellent budget yacht charter in Brisbane for you and up to 12 mates. This means you can split the cost between a fair few of you and make it all the more affordable. The more the merrier, right? If you’d rather have an overnight adventure, the yacht comfortably sleeps eight in the cabin. 

The yacht has everything you need for a delightful day on the water, including speakers, BBQ, air conditioning and plenty of deck space to chill. Of course, the natural beauty around Brisbane takes the experience to the next level. 

She’s the most affordable yacht charter in Brisbane, but she’s also damn charming. 

Ask anyone who’s from here. West Coast = best coast. With turquoise water and an endless stretch of sandy coastlines, the state is full of top destinations to charter a yacht. 

The Biggest Yacht Charter in Australia – Eco Albrolhos  

Eco Albrolhos

  • 130 passengers
  • SUPs and inflatables for hire

This isn’t just any big boat charter. It’s damn huge! This is an awesome yacht charter in Australia if you’ve got a big occasion to celebrate or a chunk of cash to burn.

At 114 feet, the Eco Abrolhos is basically a floating city! She’s been kitted out with modern interiors, so you can be guaranteed to cruise in style. There’s a lot to love about this giant motor yacht. 

There are four levels and a bunch of comfy spaces to spread out indoors and in the sunshine. For playtime, there are standup paddleboards, kayaks and inflatables for hire, which obviously level up any experience. She’s got a full indoor jungle-themed bar that puts any hipster establishment to shame. If you’re planning a heck of an adventure, she can even go up to 200 miles offshore. 

For daytime adventures, there’s a capacity of 140 passengers. If you want an overnight stay, there is space for 32 passengers to sleep in twin-share cabins with private ensuites. 

Best Yacht Charter for Sightseeing in Australia – 56’ Custom Yacht

56 Custom Yacht

  • Flexible rental times

There’s many unmissable things to do around Perth and Margaret River on a boat. If you’re planning to do some sightseeing, check out this option!

You charter the boat by the hour, which gives you the flexibility to plan your ideal day of sightseeing on the waters. She’s a 56-foot motorboat that was custom built for whale watching. If you visit between April and August, this is the perfect yacht charter in Australia to do some whale watching. There are lots of other itineraries you can check out too. 

A boat charter to Rottnest Island will get you up close and personal with Australia’s cutest and most photogenic marsupial, the Quokka. You can’t visit this part of the world without a Quokka selfie after all! 

It’s also a great charter for events and parties, as there’s space for up to 38 passengers to come along. Your job is to decide where you wanna go, and this yacht charter will make it happen. 

Best Boat Tour in Perth – Perth River Cruise and Vineyard Experience

Perth River Cruise and Vineyard Experience

  • 10 passengers
  • All inclusive package

We’ve mostly focused on boat and yacht charters in the ocean, but for this recommendation, we suggest you venture inland to the Swan River on a boat cruise. This is an awesome boat tour in Perth if you want to get out on a boat, but are more interested in the activities than the vessel. 

The tour is an all-inclusive day-long adventure to the wineries near Perth. You’ll cruise along the Swan River with a knowledgeable guide while stopping at the most excellent wineries in the region. You don’t just get to experience the divine scenery, you’ll also fill your bellies with the best wine and boutique beers in the area. It’s pretty great value too, considering you get wine tastings, meals, activities, a guide, and your transport all included in the price.

Boat waterfront skyline Australia

  • Go swimming – The beaches down under are the most stunning and pristine in the world. Get your gear off and take a dip! Just make sure to check with your captain whether it’s safe to swim off the yacht first.
  • Get boozy – When you charter a yacht in Australia, or anywhere else for that matter, you don’t need to worry about who will be the designated driver (or “the desso” as the Aussies say). Whether your day on the water is a rowdy one or a chance to unwind, enjoy the opportunity to have a couple of cold ones on deck and take in the fresh sea air. 
  • Snorkelling – Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is world-renowned as one of the most spectacular destinations to explore what is under the surface of our ocean. It’s definitely not the only spot with incredible marine life to explore. Bring a snorkel along and marvel at the biodiversity of these parts. 
  • Jetski – Sure, cruising on a yacht is a lot of fun, but zooming around on a Jetski takes the fun to another level. Some of the more luxurious yacht charters in Australia include a jetski as a part of the charter package. If yours doesn’t, chat with your captain while you organise your trip, they may have some contacts to organise one for you. 
  • Watersports – Ever tried wakeboarding, kneeboarding, waterskiing or tubing? Watersports are up there as the most fun things you can do on a boat. If your vessel of choice has a strong motor, you might be able to do it on your yacht charter. 
  • Enjoy the sun – Catch some vitamin D while you’re out on the water. Be sure to protect your skin, we aren’t kidding when we say the sun is strong in Australia. Aussies take their skincare seriously, be sure to wear a hat, sunnies and SPF 50+. Opt for reef-safe sunscreen if you can, if we’re gonna keep enjoying our oceans, we have to protect them!
  • Whale watching – Many kinds of whales, including southern right, dwarf minke, humpback and orcas, make their annual migration along Australia’s coasts during the cooler months. This phenomenon happens on the East, West and Southern coasts of the country roughly between May-November. If your visit lines up with this time, don’t miss the chance to see these magnificent beasts and their young. 
  • Watch the sunset . There’s nothing quite like watching the sunset from your own private yacht charter. No matter where you charter a yacht in Australia, you’re in for a show. 

You came for the top yacht charters in Australia, and these are our top picks for Sydney, Brisbane, the Goldcoast and Western Australia.

Australia is big – and there are plenty of other epic locations around the giant island where you can hire and charter a yacht. 

If you didn’t find what you need here, you can head to Sailo and search specific destinations around the country and browse until you find the perfect vessel to suit you and your adventure. If somewhere else in the world is calling your name, you’ll find boats on Sailo all over our pretty planet.

Maybe a DIY Sailing trip is more up your alley than a yacht charter, and if so, be sure to check out the bareboat yacht rentals available, too. Renting rather than chartering tends to be a whole lot cheaper, and we know you folk like to save cash where you can. If it’s your first time renting a bareboat, check out our guide on life on a boat to learn more about what to expect.

In the meantime, we will be planning our yachting adventure in ‘Straya. 

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Alexandria Zboyovski

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7 Sailing trips in Australia with 36 reviews

Australia: North Queensland Adventure (Sailing, 9 Days) Tour

Australia: North Queensland Adventure (Sailing, 9 Days)

Mark was excellent 5/5 to him.
  • €100 deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.

East Coast Highlights - 3 Week  | ULTIMATE Tour

  • Christmas & New Year

East Coast Highlights - 3 Week | ULTIMATE

It was an amazing trip and the guide was also really nice. I'll do it again in the future. Many activities were included
  • €35 deposit on some dates Some departure dates offer you the chance to book this tour with a lower deposit.

Kakadu and Katherine Gorge (Short Break, 3 Days) Tour

Kakadu and Katherine Gorge (Short Break, 3 Days)

I travelled to Yellow waters and beyond yesterday. The driver of the Coach was so professional , informative and entertaining through the whole trip, what a great experience and day we had, I think I can speak for the whole 12 of us on the Tour. Thank you AAT would not hesitate to travel with you again.

Ultimate Tasmania Tour

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Ultimate Tasmania

Ultimate Australia (With Kakadu Dreaming And Sailing, 25 Days) Tour

Ultimate Australia (With Kakadu Dreaming And Sailing, 25 Days)

Learn To Dive (5 Days) Tour

Learn To Dive (5 Days)

Absolutely amazing, best instructors!

Snorkel to Adventure (3 Days) Tour

Snorkel to Adventure (3 Days)

This tour was excellent. The skipper and crew worked seamlessly through some rough weather to ensure we had the best opportunity to view the reef with comfortable, clean, and safe accomodations onboard. Exceeded all of my expectations, particularly the chance to discover dive with Christine and the delicious food prepared by Zoe and Joost, who also kept us entertained with his fantastic music selection between dives. Good vibes from everyone working with us really made the trip special!

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Yachting qualifications essentials

Marine Order 74 (Master and deck officers – yachts) 2015 came into force on 1 January 2016. This marine order allows us to issue certificates of competency for service on yachts.

Under  Marine Order 74 (Master and deck officers – yachts) 2015   we can issue four new certificates of competency:

  • Watchkeeper deck less than 3000 GT (yachts)
  • Chief mate less than 3000 GT (yachts)
  • Master less than 500 GT (yachts)
  • Master less than 3000 GT (yachts)

The marine order defines yacht as a vessel that:

  • is less than 3000 GT
  • is for commercial use for sport or pleasure
  • does not carry cargo
  • does not carry more than 12 passengers.

A yacht does not need to be designed to carry sail and may be a training vessel, sail training vessel or a short range yacht. The full definition provides additional information on training vessels, sail training vessels, sailing vessels and short range yacht. Marine Order 74 should be consulted if further clarification is needed.

See the flow chart in Appendix 1—Pathway diagrams .

Certificates of Recognition

Marine Order 70 – Seafarer Certification (2014) allows us to issue certificates of recognition to holders of an equivalent certificate of competency issued by a national marine administration that we have a formal agreement with. Read more about options available to holders of primary certificates issued by foreign countries .

A Certificate of recognition for an equivalent yacht will only be valid for service on Australian registered vessels that meet the definition of yacht contained in Marine Order 74.

For issue of a certificate of recognition the applicant must demonstrate that they meet the same sea service requirements for issue of an equivalent AMSA certificate of competency.

Sea service

Sea service must be valid and appropriate, and meet the requirements of schedule 3 in Marine Order 74.

We do not accept evidence of sea service based on discharge certificates or letters originating from vessels without supporting letters from employers or owners confirming the sea service.

We consider sea service (work experience) very important and part of the training program for issue of a seafarer qualification or license. Service on vessels that spend considerable time in port will not be accepted.

We spend considerable time confirming and validating sea service and must be satisfied the service claimed, meets the requirements in schedule 3 of Marine Order 74.

Our training requirements

We believe your career progression is very important. If you have already undertaken training, this should be recognised. All units of competency for the approved course of study for a yacht certificate of competency come from the AMSA approved diploma course (see Appendix 1—Pathway diagrams ).

If you want to gain a certificate of competency for yachts issued in compliance with Marine Order 74, you have the opportunity to complete the diploma course in two or more blocks of study.

Holders of a certificate of competency—yachts issued by a national administration we recognise, who wish to obtain an AMSA certificate of competency, will need to complete the full diploma course. Any prior learning granted by an AMSA approved training provider will be recognised.

Service on sailing vessels

We issue two sailing vessel endorsements one valid for sailing vessels—fore and aft and the other for sailing vessels—square rigged (see schedule 2 of Marine Order 70).

Holders of any AMSA certificate of competency or certificate of recognition for Master cannot sail as a:

  • Master on a sailing vessel unless they hold a current sailing vessel endorsement .
  • Officer in charge of a navigation watch on a sailing vessel unless they have completed training required by the vessel’s safety management policies and procedures and have been considered competent by the Master.

Final assessment

For issue of an AMSA certificate of competency (yacht) or AMSA certificate of recognition applicants will need to undertake an oral examination .

Comparison between Marine Order 71 and Marine Order 74

Holders of an AMSA certificate of competency that were issued under Marine Order 71 meet the following requirements for issue of a Marine Order 74 certificate as listed in the table:

Appendix 1—Pathway diagrams

Certificate of competency as deck watchkeeper less than 3000 gt (yachts).

Certificate of Competency pathway diagram for Deck Watchkeepers less than 3000 GT (Yachts)

Certificate of competency as chief mate less than 3000 GT (yachts)

Prerequisite: Meet all requirements, except final assessment, for issue of certificate of competency as deck watchkeeper less than 3000 GT (yachts).

Certificate of Competency as Chief mate (Yachts less than 3000 GT)

If the applicant meets sea service requirements of Marine Order 71 (Master and deck officers) 2014 and has completed the unit of competency titled MARA010 Manage loading, unloading and unloading and stowage of cargo, they may undertake final assessment for issue of Certificate of competency as deck watchkeeper (STCW II/1).

Certificate of competency as master less than 500 GT (yachts)

Prerequisite—Hold certificate of competency as deck watchkeeper less than 3000 GT (yachts) plus meet all the additional training requirements for issue of a Certificate of competency as chief mate less than 3000 GT (yachts).

Pathway diagram for Certificate of Competency as Master less than 500 GT (Yachts)

If the applicant meets the sea service requirements of Marine Order 71 (Master and deck officers) 2014 and has completed the unit of competency titled MARA010 Manage loading, unloading and unloading and stowage of cargo, they may undertake final assessment for issue of Certificate of competency as master less than 500 GT (STCW II/1 and II/2).

Certificate of competency as master less than 3000 GT (yachts)

Prerequisite—Hold a Certificate of competency as aster less than 500 GT (yachts).

Pathway diagram of Certificate of Competency as Master less than 3000 GT (Yachts)

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  • Commercial fisher
  • Domestic seafarer or crew
  • International crew
  • Coastal pilot
  • Not you? See more ...





Australia: North Queensland Adventure

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Australia: North Queensland Adventure Trip

The one that brings you the best of Queensland, including Whitsundays beaches and the Great Barrier Reef

9 days, 1 country


8 nights in Hostels

5 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners

Coach + Ferry + Train

Maximum 30 people

Expert Trip Manager

Get ready to uncover Queensland's many wonders. From the pure sands of Whitehaven Beach, there's so much laid-back beauty in this part of Australia. And that's before you head to Magnetic Island, taking epic coastal walks and meeting the local koalas, then ending on a high with an expedition to the Great Barrier Reef itself.

On the road to Net Zero

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Staying in a hostel at Airlie Beach, for those who enjoy shore-based stays.

With Sailing

Staying on a yacht sailing the Whitsundays for 2 nights, for those who prefer the sea.

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Only $200 deposit to book

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Your money is safe with us and the TTC Promise. Book today and enjoy the benefits of flexible travel dates and money guarantee. Contiki is part of the TTC Family. Learn more


Related Trips

This trip comes in different shapes and sizes. For more options, check out these itineraries.

Ultimate Australia Trip

Ultimate Australia

Australia: Beaches and Reefs with Sailing Trip

Australia: Beaches and Reefs


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Great Barrier Reef Explorer: Snorkel to Adventure Trip

Great Barrier Reef Explorer

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Why does the itinerary use dual-names for locations (ie. Warrane/Sydney)?

Contiki acknowledges the Traditional and Torres Strait Island owners of the land, sea and waters of the spectacular Australian continent. Dual-naming reflects that, as we explore this remarkable land, we recognise and respect Indigenous custodianship of a unique, ancient culture and country.

Can I catch a flight the next day after diving at the Great Barrier Reef?

It’s best to wait at least 24 hours after your last dive before flying.

Can I get a single or twin room upgrade in Magnetic Island?

During your 2-night stay in Magnetic Island, you’ll stay in multi-share rooms with the same sex even (if you’ve booked single or twin room for the trip duration). But if you’d like some privacy, you can request a paid upgrade to a single or twin room, but the confirmation would depend on availability. Please note that this is a modular trip. That means you’ll be joining a trip that started 1 week earlier – if you wish to do the full version, please refer to the Ultimate Australia trip.

General FAQs

What is contiki.

Contiki are the world leaders in organized youth travel. We’ve been providing amazing travel experiences for young travellers, from 18-35 years old, since 1962. Imagine how good you would be at something if you had been doing it for more than 60 years?

Everything about Contiki is deeply rooted in our two values ‘Make Every Moment Count’ and ‘We’re About People’. We don’t just talk, we walk the walk and live by our brand philosophy of ‘ Travel.Together. ’ which means to travel with one another, with the destinations we visit, the people and cultures we enjoy and the environment.

You’ve never experienced travel like this.

Why only 18-35?

Focusing on 18-35 year olds allows us to tailor a dramatically more powerful travel experience and an itinerary so fun it feels like all of your best Friday nights combined.

Tailoring to select ages brings together like minded, likeable people, and allows us to use Social Travel planning to build great groups of people so fast you’ll wonder if you’ve been friends forever.

What destinations can I go to with Contiki?

A sunrise, shoreline or bright light for every whim. We are proud to offer more than 350 Global trips, intelligently designed for a seamless and simple social travel experience. Visit our search page to discover your perfect travel destination.

How does it work?

We’re reinventing hassle free travel. Whether you are a solo traveller or group you can be rest assured that there has been tonnes of planning behind every trip.

Booking with Contiki means you are saying yes to a smile inducing trip where the typically stressful elements just seem to magically happen.

No one does trips like Contiki, essential accommodation, transport, reservations and so much more is all taken care of. You can multiply the magic with trip add ons and numerous customisations for your free time.

Every single Contiki social travel trip is managed by one of our expert Trip Managers, who are there to provide hands-on support and ensure your trip runs smoothly whilst you stay in the moment.

From 2022 your good time will be good for the planet as all Contiki trips are carbon natural. Find out more here.

How many other travellers are on each trip?

Group sizes are completely dependent on where and how you choose to travel with Contiki. 

In Europe and in most of North America and New Zealand, group sizes can range between 24 – 53 awesome travellers. 

In regions like Asia, Australia, Africa and Latin America, and on some North America and New Zealand trips, our group sizes are considerably smaller – as low as 12 or up to 30 travellers max.

Detour trips offer a different type of experience and max out at 16 people led by a local host.

Wondering what is so great about travelling together? Check out the Contiki Social travel page.

Each group is administered according to our strict Covid policies which can be viewed here.

What’s included?

All essential trip elements have been catered to ensure a great time, with great people in great places. But you mean more specifically right?

Your accommodation, essential trip transport, and a good handful of meals are included in the cost of your Contiki trip (on most trips we offer breakfast every day, plus a hand-picked selection of authentic and tasty meals). 

To fill your days and Insta feeds we have Included Experiences, which are basically the sights and activities we think you just can’t afford to miss. Of course you also get our expert and highly trained team of Contiki staff to support throughout.

A day by day breakdown of inclusions and Free Time Add-Ons are available on the trip specific pages. 

We always try to accommodate special requests such as birthdays, proposals etc. Please chat to our team and we can explore how we may support the request.

What’s not included?

Contiki social travel trips have a large degree of flexibility built into them to enable you to truly own your experience. This means that some trip elements are not included in the initial cost and may require additional budgeting. 

Flights to and from your starting and ending points are not included in the cost of your trip. These can be added on during the booking process either online or via our contact center or booked independently by you.

Each trip contains the right amount of free time for you to explore or indulge your travel desires. We offer Free Time Add-Ons, which are additional experiences that are not included in the overall price. These add ons are highlighted on the specific trip page. Your Trip Manager will highlight these to you and organise their booking on trip. Exceptions may apply where pre booking is required but this will be made known to you in your pre departure information.

A number of meal times are left open for you to explore a region and its foodie offerings in greater detail, so budgeting for your taste in non-catered meals is important. 

Travel insurance and visas are also not included in the cost of your trip, and should be booked separately.

What are Contiki's sustainability credentials?

Travel comes with responsibilities. That’s why we’re determined to travel sustainably and consciously, and that’s why we’re willing to take a stand on issues closest to our hearts. Find out more details here . With the help of our four-point Climate Action Plan, we're now on a journey to Net Zero - committing to carbon reductions and evolving to support the transition to a low-carbon future. Find out more details here .

Do I need to purchase travel insurance for this trip?

Yes! It’s a requirement of traveling with Contiki that you take out comprehensive insurance cover for cancellation, personal injury, death, medical expenses, repatriation expenses, evacuation expenses, personal liability & loss of personal property and Covid related expenses before you travel with us. It’s also super important to check that your insurance covers all of the activities you’ll be trying out, particularly any adventure activities (for all you adrenaline junkies). For more information check out our full travel insurance FAQs.

Can I stay in my destination a few days before/after the trip starts/ends? And can Contiki help me arrange this?

Yes and yes! You can add pre- and post-trip accommodation to your booking in one of three ways:

When booking your trip online

In the 'My Travel Portal' after you've made your booking

By calling us any time on 0808 281 1120

In certain cities, you may even be able to secure a preferential rate for you pre- or post-trip accommodation.

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Contiki acknowledges the Traditional and Torres Strait Island owners of the land, sea and waters of the spectacular Australian continent.

As we explore this remarkable land, we recognise and respect their custodianship of a unique, ancient culture and country.

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Holland America's latest epic cruise is an Aussie lover's dream

Gene Sloan

Looking for an easy and affordable way to see large swaths of Australia , New Zealand and the South Pacific in a single trip?

Holland America is out with an epic new itinerary that will allow for just that.

The only catch: You'll need to set aside three months to do it.

The "Grand Australia and New Zealand" voyage, as Holland America is calling it, will kick off Jan. 4, 2026, in San Diego and bring calls at 44 destinations across the Pacific. It'll end back in San Diego on April 7, 2026 — 93 days after it began.

For more cruise news, guides and tips, sign up for TPG's cruise newsletter .

Announced on Tuesday, the sailing will take place on Holland America's 1,432-passenger Zaandam, one of the Seattle-based line's smaller vessels capable of accessing the smaller ports that are common across the Pacific.

As it begins, the sailing will resemble a classic transpacific cruise from America to Australia, with five days at sea on the way to the Hawaiian Islands. But it'll be a far longer transpacific crossing than is typical.

yachting in australia

Upon arriving in Hawaii, Zaandam will spend an extended four days at three of Hawaii's main islands: Oahu, Hawaii and Maui. It'll then continue westward for three weeks of island hopping toward Australia with 13 stops across the islands of American Samoa, Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.

Among the stops in Papua New Guinea will be Alotau, a busy harbor that was the site of the Battle of Milne Bay — often billed as Japan's first defeat in the Pacific during World War II. Zaandam will also visit Papua New Guinea's Conflict Islands and Kiriwina, the largest of the country's Trobriand Islands.

Related: The 5 best destinations you can visit on a Holland America ship

In the Solomon Islands, Zaandam will call at Guadalcanal — the site of another well-known World War II battle. Nowadays, it's known for its unspoiled beauty, including mountain spires, rocky coastlines, dense rainforest and spectacular waterfalls.

The Australia portion of the trip will be particularly epic, with a nearly complete circumnavigation of the continent over four weeks.

The stops in Australia will include the city of Cairns, a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. The ship will also spend two full days sailing along the Great Barrier Reef in what Holland America calls the "Great Barrier Reef Experience."

Other port stops during the Australia leg of the trip will include Darwin, Broome, Exmouth, Fremantle (the port for Perth), Albany, Adelaide, Penneshaw on Kangaroo Island, Melbourne and Sydney.

yachting in australia

Visits to Hobart and Port Arthur on the Australian island state of Tasmania are also on tap as part of a five-night diversion as Zaandam travels from Melbourne to Sydney.

From Australia, Zaandam will begin the long return journey eastward across the Pacific with a series of stops in New Zealand. Multiple island visits across Tonga and French Polynesia will follow.

The French Polynesian islands of Tahiti, Moorea, Raiatea and Huahine, plus the Tuamotu Archipelago, are among the destinations during this part of the trip.

Related: Holland America is out with another truly epic cruise

The newly announced voyage has similarities to a 94-day sailing to Australia and New Zealand that Holland America operated this year but features a number of new destinations, including stops in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. It also has more port stops in Hawaii, Fiji, French Polynesia and Vanuatu than this year's trip.

Holland America has built in a lot of overnight calls into the sailing, as it often does with its longer trips. The ship will stay overnight in Honolulu in Hawaii; Fremantle, Sydney and Hobart in Australia; Auckland in New Zealand; and Papeete, Tahiti, in French Polynesia.

The overnight visit to Sydney will be particularly notable, as it'll include a meetup between Zaandam and its sister ship, the 1,432-passenger Volendam. The latter vessel will be on an around-the-world cruise . Zaandam will arrive in Sydney on March 6, 2026, for an overnight stay. Volendam will arrive the next day for an overnight stay, with the two ships' visits overlapping March 7, 2026.

Holland America has long been known for longer sailings from U.S. ports that brought people to far-flung places around the globe.

Fares for the new Grand Australia and New Zealand itinerary start at $17,699 per person, not including taxes, fees and port charges.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

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  • The ultimate guide to what to pack for a cruise
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  • 21 tips and tricks that will make your cruise go smoothly
  • Top ways cruisers waste money
  • The ultimate guide to choosing a cruise ship cabin

Small boats filled with people on the ocean

By boat or by plane? If you’re seeking asylum in Australia, the outcome is similarly bleak

yachting in australia

Associate Professor, Law School, La Trobe University

Disclosure statement

Savitri Taylor has received funding from the Australian Research Council in the past. She is a member of the Committee of Management of Refugee Legal and a member of the Kim for Canberra party. Views expressed in this article are her own and not attributable to any organisations with she is associated.

La Trobe University provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU.

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Last week, 39 foreign nationals arrived in a remote part of Western Australia by boat. This revived dormant debates about border security.

People without visas come to Australia by air and sea, though we only ever seem to hear about the latter. Unlike unauthorised air arrivals, unauthorised maritime arrivals (people without visas that arrive by boat without permission) are given high media visibility. This feeds a narrative that the country has lost control of its borders, which in turn creates a political problem for the government of the day.

But behind the headlines, what actually happens when people arrive in Australia without permission, whether by boat or by plane?

Read more: Boat arrivals sent to Nauru, and Sovereign Borders commander warns against politicising the issue

What is Australia obligated to do?

Anyone who’s not an Australian citizen is required to have authorisation in the form of a visa to enter and remain in the country.

What Australia can do to deal with unauthorised arrivals is limited by its international treaty obligations. The United Nations Refugee Convention and Protocol oblige Australia to refrain from sending “refugees” (as defined in those treaties) to places where they will face a real chance of persecution.

Under other treaties to which it is a party, Australia is also obliged to refrain from sending anyone, not just refugees, to places where they will face a real risk of certain serious human rights violations.

These treaty obligations are referred to as “non-refoulement” or protection obligations. People who claim the benefit of such protection obligations are called asylum seekers.

What happens to asylum seekers when they arrive?

The processes for people arriving by boat or plane have similarities, but are slightly different.

Australian policy is for unauthorised air arrivals to be given a screening interview to ascertain whether they could be entitled to Australia’s protection under international law. If not, they are returned to their most recent country of departure. Those who are found to have a possible case are given access to the protection visa application process.

The protection visa is Australia’s main domestic mechanism for implementing its international protection obligations. People who initially entered Australia on a valid visa can also apply for a protection visa. Most applicants fall into this group.

Read more: Who counts as a refugee? Four questions to understand current migration debates

Australia imposes penalties on airlines that bring non-citizens without valid visas here. It also posts its officials at overseas airports to help airlines identify people without visas so they can be refused boarding. As a result, there are very few unauthorised air arrivals to Australia.

Like people who come by plane, unauthorised maritime arrivals go through a screening process.

Those who are deemed not to be asylum seekers are returned to their most recent country of departure. This is usually, but not always, Indonesia.

Unless the responsible minister grants an exemption, unauthorised maritime arrivals who are found to have a possible asylum claim must be transferred to a regional processing country to have their asylum claims determined there.

How has regional processing worked?

Regional processing has a complicated history.

In late 2001, the Coalition government under John Howard entered arrangements with Nauru and Papua New Guinea (PNG) to take unauthorised maritime arrivals to those countries to process their asylum claims. Those arrangements were ended by Labor shortly after it won government in November 2007.

However, a resurgence of unauthorised maritime arrivals led the Gillard Labor government to enter a new set of arrangements with Nauru and PNG in late 2012. These allowed Australia to transfer unauthorised maritime arrivals to processing centres in those countries to have their asylum claims considered by their governments.

A row of men with blurred out faces stand behind a wire fence

The 2012 arrangements left open the possibility that transferees who were found to be refugees might be resettled in Australia. However, when boats kept arriving, the Rudd Labor government decided to get even tougher. In 2013, it announced future unauthorised maritime arrivals would never be resettled in Australia.

After its election in September 2013, the Coalition government implemented Operation Sovereign Borders, which has been continued by the current Labor government. Many activities come under the Operation Sovereign Borders banner, including the interception of unauthorised maritime arrivals at sea by the Australian navy. Regional processing is now also characterised as being part of the program.

The regional processing arrangement with PNG ceased at the end of 2021. As of November 16 2023, there were still 64 transferees remaining in PNG. However, the Australian government’s position is that responsibility for these people lies entirely with PNG and not with Australia.

Nauru is still a regional processing country but under a new agreement. At the time it was signed in late 2021, there hadn’t been any transfers for years. However, it was considered important to maintain an “enduring regional processing capacity” on Nauru as a deterrent to people smugglers.

As previously, the Nauruan government is responsible for processing the asylum claims of transferees and managing them until they depart Nauru or are permanently settled there. However, Australia has contracted and is paying the processing centre’s service providers.

An aerial view of a  series of rectangular buildings

On June 25 2023, it was reported there were no transferees remaining in Nauru. This did not mean that a durable solution had been found for everyone who had been transferred to Nauru up until that time. While some people had been resettled in third countries, others had simply been brought to Australia with the legal status of “transitory persons”. This status prevents them from applying for a visa to remain in Australia unless granted ministerial permission to do so.

Australia’s options for resettling this cohort are limited. It has at its disposal the remainder of 1,250 refugee places promised by the United States in November 2016 and 450 refugee places over three years promised by New Zealand in 2022. Even if all these places are used, hundreds of people will remain in limbo.

What happens to last week’s arrivals?

Since Operation Sovereign Borders began, boats have either been intercepted at sea or have managed to make landfall in Australia every year except 2021.

However, between the start of Operation Sovereign Borders and the end of August 2023, only two out of the 1,123 boat passengers involved to that point had ever been accepted for regional processing. Both cases were in 2014.

This statistic raised serious concerns about the reliability of the screening process as the people screened included many from known refugee producing countries.

Given this history, it was a little surprising when the Australian government transferred 11 unauthorised maritime arrivals to Nauru in September 2023. A further 12 were transferred to Nauru in November 2023 . The 39 people found in Western Australia have just been transferred there too.

Read more: Aus-NZ refugee deal is a bandage on a failed policy. It's time to end offshore processing

It seems the screening process has been abandoned or has been vastly improved. While the most reliable way for Australia to meet its international protection obligations would be to give all unauthorised maritime arrivals access to its protection visa application process, giving them all access to regional processing is certainly better than sending them back to their country of departure.

However, resettlement in Nauru of those found to be refugees is not realistic. The country, which has a population of approximately 13,000 people, is only 2,200 hectares in land area. To put this in context, Melbourne airport is larger than Nauru.

There is no reason to believe it will be any easier to find third country resettlement for transferees in the future than it has been up to now. For most, the only way out of limbo will be to return home, as eight of those transferred to Nauru in September have already done . Regional processing continues to be a policy failure for which vulnerable people will pay the price.

  • Immigration
  • Asylum seekers
  • International law
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Offshore processing
  • Temporary protection visas
  • Operation Sovereign Borders
  • Border security
  • Refugee law
  • Nauru detention centre
  • stop the boat policy
  • Boat arrivals

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Lecturer / Senior Lecturer - Marketing

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Assistant Editor - 1 year cadetship

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Executive Dean, Faculty of Health

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Lecturer/Senior Lecturer, Earth System Science (School of Science)

  • Travel Updates

Killer whale gang sinks another yacht off Gibraltar coast amid fears of summer of attacks

There’s growing concerns around an increase in orca ‘gang attacks’ on yachts and boats — with a recent vessel sinking baffling experts.

Orcas that hunt sperm whales may be a new population, say UBC scientists

Dad, kids killed as plane breaks apart in air

Pilot dead after plane ejection seat went off

Pilot dead after plane ejection seat went off

Airline worker plummets out of plane

Airline worker plummets out of plane

A pod of rogue killer whales have sunk yet another yacht in the Strait of Gibraltar – the fourth such incident in the past year.

The orcas relentlessly pommeled the 15-metre Alboran Cognac with two people on-board.

The ambush likely came from a notorious pod of whales led by an orca dubbed White Gladis which is thought to have been attacking seafarers for at least three years.

Passengers on-board the vessel said they felt sudden blows to the hull before it started sinking in the Moroccan waters.

They were rescued by a nearby oil tanker which dropped them to Gibraltar after receiving emergency alerts.

The yacht was left abandoned before it sank completely.

There has been a wave of orca attacks. Picture: istock

Orca attacks on boats travelling through the Strait of Gibraltar – also known as Orca Alley – were first reported in 2020.

These ambushes, which range from orcas simply approaching boats to actively interfering with them, have repeatedly occurred in the stretch of water between Spain and Morocco.

Authorities noticed a steady uptick in incidents and restricted boats from sailing from the tip of Spain due to a staggering 29 reported orca attacks in four months.

The Atlantic Orca Working Group has reported a 298 per cent rise in orca-boat interactions from 2020 to 2023, Forbes reports.

They are said to be led by White Gladis who experts fear could possibly be teaching other whales how to attack and sink boats passing through the channel.

One attack took place in November last year when a killer whale gang furiously attacked and sunk a boat near a Moroccan port.

There was another whale attack in Sesimbra, Portugal in 2023.

The Polish company that was operating the boat said all attempts to rescue the yacht failed before it sunk.

The operator said the crew were “safe, unharmed, and sound” following the bizarre incident.

They said in a statement: “Despite attempts to bring the yacht to the port by the captain, crew and rescuers from the SAR (Search and Rescue), port tugs and the Moroccan Navy, the unit sunk near the entrance to the port of Tanger Med.”

Another incident took place in August when a boat full of panicked tourists was attacked by a pod of killer whales.

Footage showed the horrified holiday-makers surrounded by several orcas just off the coast of Sesimbra, Portugal.

Last year, Brit couple Janet Morris, 58, and Stephen Bidwell, 58, from Cambridge, were involved in a whale attack that lasted for an hour.

On May 2, around six orcas reportedly rammed the hull of the Bavaria 46 cruiser yacht they were travelling on, on the Strait of Gibraltar.

Family of whales with boat in the background Picture: istock

Janet and Stephen were stunned when they were alerted with the cry of “orcas!”

Stephen told The Telegraph : “It was an experience I will never forget.

“I kept reminding myself we had a 22-ton boat made of steel, but seeing three of them coming at once, quickly and at pace with their fins out of the water was daunting.”

Janet added: “We were sitting ducks.”

“A clearly larger matriarch was definitely around and was almost supervising,” Stephen added, furthering speculation that it was White Gladis.

The captain of the boat, Greg Blackburn, from Leeds, dropped the mainsail to make the vessel feel “as boring as possible”.

The group of whales and their gang leader eventually lost interest – after causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

First ever video captured of orca attacking great white

Why are orcas attacking boats

While researchers are unsure exactly why killer whales have been attacking boats in the strait, many theories have been put forward. Some experts suggest it could be a playful manifestation of the animals’ curiosity.

But others fear a “critical moment of agony” such as a collision may have sparked aggression towards boats. Alfredo López Fernandez, a biologist at the University of Aveiro in Portugal, told LiveScience: “That traumatised orca is the one that started this behaviour of physical contact with the boat.”

There has been a number of orca attacks on boats. Picture: istock

Some even speculate White Gladis may now be spurring fellow killer whales on.

Orcas are the largest members of the oceanic dolphin family.

Although they never attack humans, the apex predators can take down large groups of whales, hence the name killer.

More Coverage

yachting in australia

What makes them a unique marine mammal is that they often hunt in lethal pods and family groups of up to 40 individuals – and feast on fish, dolphins, seal lions, seals, sharks and stingrays.

The carnivores can grow up to 9.7 metres long and weigh up to six tons – and are immediately recognisable by their distinctive black-and-white colouring.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission

A dad and his two adult children were killed when the small plane they were in broke apart in the air – just days before an important milestone.

An instructor pilot has died after an ejector seat went off during ground operations.

Shocking footage has captured the moment an airline worker fell from a plane door and onto the runway after a colleague removed the stairs without him realising.

yachting in australia


How to get to the Ashlands in Valheim without your boat catching fire

Build the Drakkar to make it to the new biome in one piece.

Valheim drakkar - the viking longboat is floating on the water near land with tall trees

Wondering how to build a Valheim Drakkar so you can explore the Ashlands? If you've been excited for the newest biome to arrive in the live game, your wait is over . Before you load up your longship and sail into the unknown, however, you should consider a few vital details. The ocean around the Ashlands is hot, and your ship will likely melt—albeit slowly—unless you've got a heat-resistant Drakkar under your feet.

You need very specific items in order to craft the Ashlands-ready boat, and I'll explain what those are and how to get them further down. Needless to say, be wary of spoilers for Valheim's latest update ahead. With that in mind, here's how to craft a Drakkar so you can get safely to the Ashlands.

Valheim Drakkar: How to craft it 

To make the Drakkar, you need to have spent quite a bit of time in the Mistlands biome—that is, of course, unless you decide to use Valheim cheats or console commands to spawn in the items you need. If you want to craft a Drakkar the proper way, here's what you need: 

  • Iron nails x100
  • Ceramic Plate x30
  • Finewood x50
  • Yggdrasil wood x25

Valheim drakkar

The trickiest item here is the Ceramic Plate . It's crafted from black marble found in the Mistlands but you'll need to upgrade your artisan table using the Majestic Carapace that drops from the Mistlands boss . Yggdrasil wood is also found in the Mistlands, and is harvested from Yggdrasil shoots.

You should already have plenty of iron —or know where to get it—from exploring the swamp biome. Once you've smelted iron scrap into ingots, you can use the forge to turn it into iron nails . Finewood is another resource you should be very familiar with.

Once you've crafted your Drakkar and you're ready to set sail, head to the far south of your map and look for the orange tinge to the ocean as you approach. As soon as you cross that line, brace yourself for whatever the Ashlands decides to throw at you. Good luck, Viking.

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Sarah James

Sarah started as a freelance writer in 2018, writing for PCGamesN, TechRadar, GamingBible, Red Bull Gaming and more. In 2021, she was offered a full-time position on the PC Gamer team where she takes every possible opportunity to talk about World of Warcraft and Elden Ring. When not writing guides, most of her spare time is spent in Azeroth—though she's quite partial to JRPGs too. One of her fondest hopes is to one day play through the ending of Final Fantasy X without breaking down into a sobbing heap. She probably has more wolves in Valheim than you.

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yachting in australia


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