Yachting the Whitsundays and Hamilton Island

Touching down in Hamilton Island on a sunny September day, the beautiful 24 degrees temperature outside the aircraft was a welcome feeling. Our transfer van took us the short distance to the Marina F Wing to board our beautiful shiny 42 metre yacht. With just myself, my husband along with 2 crew (a driver and a chef) we were ready to begin our own personal private yacht charter.

Onboard it was shoes off (no spoiling the beautiful teak decking or wooden internal floors!). Into the basket went our shoes, and 4 days of barefoot yachting bliss was to begin. Glass of champagne in hand, we set out of the marina and headed around the coastline through the beautiful blue waters towards Hook Island.

First stop was… bay? A secluded inlet with just a few other yachts and sailing boats moored. A delightful lunch was served on the back deck overlooking the pristine empty beaches and coral dotted through the waters. The weather just perfect for snorkelling and swimming. Downstairs in the yacht was our beautifully equipped stateroom with a queen bed, ensuite and walk in robe. It had a desk and powerpoint handy so I could keep up with my work emails on the few moments I checked. Mostly though, this was a break from the normal, a break from parenting, and a celebration of our 18th wedding anniversary. Not sure there would be any better way to do it than a gorgeous yacht moored within the sparkling seas. Watching and photographing the beautiful sunset in this spot was an absolute highlight. The first night I really noticed the boat moving once in bed, but it felt remarkably soothing, with the waves lapping the side of the boat and the gentle rocking just lulls you into a sense of relaxation that is hard to explain.

Our Private Yacht

Breakfast was incredible, out over the back deck once again watching sea turtles pop there little heads up out of the still waters. The sun shining, we then headed for the beach area to the left of Hayman Island Resort. I tried to get us to be able to moor at Hayman Island to enable me to check out the brand newly opened Intercontinental Hayman Island Resort, but with no success due to their exclusive charter rights with a local firm. This seems a pity that the resort doesn’t allow private charters to come in a spend money at their resort, or eat at their restaurants. However rules are rules and I am afraid my wonders about what Hayman is like after it’s full renovation and re-opening just need to stay unanswered for the time being. The area to the left of the resort did allow us to moor and spend some time snorkelling and swimming once again. Then we moved on from there back to an inlet within the Hook Island group where we were able to take the tender boat across to the beach and visit Nara Island – a marked bushwalk up some stairs and a small boardwalk led us to a cave at the top with some incredible art on the inside of the cave walls left by the Nara people. Quite a good insight into the Aboriginal people who once lived on this island. Walking back down to the beach we did come across some wonderful wildlife including a large goanna and a small thin brown snake. So be prepared to see some wild creatures in the Whitsundays National Park.

Back on board our yacht, we tucked into another beautiful meal prepared by our chef and relaxed for an evening of rest. A little rougher seas than the previous night but still so soothing and relaxing to hear the water through the night.

Day 3 and I was finally beginning to relax. It takes your body a day or two to switch off from the pressures of our everyday stresses. As a mother of 5 children and also a busy luxury travel advisor, it is rare for me to take an opportunity such as this. And I did find it hard to let go and just enjoy it. But on this day I started to feel relaxed. I felt like I had slept well, eaten well, and now was settling into this daily life on the seas. I could suddenly see how a yacht charter is a perfect solution for a busy couple to take time out together, to rest, relax and refresh their souls.

This day was our visit to Whitehaven Beach, a place I had always wanted to reach, yet not managed to get to on previous trips to the Whitsundays. Arriving at Whitehaven Beach you are just dazzled by the glorious long stretch of approximately 5 kms of beautiful clean white sand. The water was so blue and our tender dropped us off. I thought I was doing a little relaxing but my husband had more adventurous ideas and decided we would walk the few kilometres up to the famous inlet that is often photographed in the travel brochures. A long walk past metres and metres of sand with the gentle waves lapping at our feet, past 3 or 4 helicopters where people had landed and were enjoying a picnic on the sand. Hayman Island’s helicopter was one of them. Much further up towards the inlet, we felt like we had the beach almost to ourselves until we reached the inlet where a few tourist boats land and let their passengers out to swim and paddle. We sat at the inlet and just enjoyed some peace and quiet while taking a dip in the crystal clear water before beginning our walk back down Whitehaven beach. Lucky for us our tender boat arrived to pick us up and save our well walked legs the pain of that last part of the walk back. Onboard we got to eat prawn linguine overlooking this gorgeous spot, memories that will stay with me a long time.

By the afternoon the weather was beginning to close in and a slight shower was had forcing us inside our yacht for some reading time. But the shower was brief and the sun back out meant some time for dinner on the deck while watching the reef sharks swim under our yacht’s pontoon lights. Incredible to see these creatures swimming in their natural environment, yet a firm reason for my staunch refusal to get back in the water for anymore swimming!

Day 4 and it was our last morning in the Whitsundays, champagne breakfast is a spectacular way to finish up our time here in this beautiful destination. The clouds were out but it did not dampen our relaxed spirits, and our tender took us across the shore to Dangur Beach were we did the half an hour 1 km walk from beach to beach. Finishing up in ?? beach, our tender returned for a final hurrah back to Hamilton Island.

On arrival back into the marina at Hamilton Island, we enjoyed lunch on the deck and then said our goodbyes to our wonderful crew, relaxed, refreshed and ready to return to our wonderful clan of children. I am now convinced that every couple, however long you have been together, married, with or without children, you should most definitely invest in taking a few days away every now and then, so that you can spend some undivided attention together to talk, laugh, relax, read, eat and rest together. I honestly feel like it has given my husband and I a chance to be together and concentrate fully on our own relationship so that we can go home refreshed parents to our children and return to our work rested and sun splashed.

Hamilton Island along with the Whitsundays is a beautiful part of Australia. With so many overseas destinations to choose from I think we sometimes forget about the incredible places within our own country to visit. Hamilton Island itself has so many options to choose from for accommodation, from the budget conscious Palm Bungalows, to the hotel rooms at Reef View Hotel, for upmarket families they have the Yacht Club Villas with your own golf buggy to get you around the island, and then there is there is the ultra-deluxe options at either the Boutique and very private Qualia or the more ultra hotel style feel of Beach Club Resort. For private yacht charters, there are a number of options to choose from including smaller cruisers that you self-skipper right up to the fancy sleek ultra yachts with crew to attend to your every need.

Whatever type of holiday you are looking for, Hamilton Island truly is a paradise to enjoy. I am looking forward to returning to the island someday soon.

If you are thinking of booking a private yacht charter, Hamilton Island holiday, or Whitsunday escape, contact Jen at JEN Travel on 02 9654 9242 or email jen@jentravel.com.au

www.jentravel.com.au