1 min

Whitsunday bareboat charter in the Great Barrier Reef

Australia's Whitsundays offer deserted islands, secluded beaches and magnificent coral

Fresh air, open water and peaceful solitude. To start your day in the Whitsundays, pick an island, chart a course and sail away. On a busy day, you might see another boat zooming along the horizon. Otherwise, it’s all yours.

When I visited the Tourism Australia office for advice about a photogenic destination Down Under, my Australian contact didn’t hesitate: Charter a boat and go sailing in the Whitsundays, she told me.

When I confessed that I don’t know how to sail and haven’t used a compass since I was a cub scout, she shrugged. “My mother just did it,” she said. “She’s in her seventies.” I suspect her mother is a hardy seafaring woman, but I have my pride and I was not going to be outdone by a septuagenarian. So I booked a boat, sweet-talked my anxious partner and off we went.

It was bliss. We spent our days on the open water, roaming at will, kissed by the sun and caressed by the zephyrs. Spectacular stargazing followed beautiful sunsets in the evenings.

The Whitsunday islands of the Great Barrier Reef off Australia’s east coast offer countless opportunities to explore secret coves, soft beaches and spectacular lookouts. And the warm, tropical waters are flush with magnificent coral and strange sea creatures, providing excellent swimming, snorkeling and diving.

Check out our photo gallery. Photography and essay by David Walberg, publisher and editor at large at Pink Triangle Press.