Winter is the ideal time to explore the marvellous Whitsundays. With more than 74 islands in the group, only eight of those inhabited and 32 of them forming the Whitsunday Islands National Park, the Whitsundays offer boaties 283-square-kikometres of idyllic cruising grounds.
Whether you seek uncrowded pristine anchorages for snorkelling or peace and quiet, or enjoy the variety and buzz of one of Australia’s most popular playgrounds, Hamilton Island, there’s something for everybody, every day of the week.
John Williams, Whitehaven Group and Spectrum Marine Brand Ambassador is based on Hamilton Island and knows the waters well.
John is a wealth of knowledge on this area; where to go, best places to provision, boating services or just general advice. If any of our owners, Integrity, Aquilla or Whitehaven, are tracking north at any time of year, John would love to hear from you.
John suggests taking the route less travelled this season, savouring the more remote anchorages as well as those familiar, such as Cid Harbour, Whitehaven Beach and Butterfly Bay.
Here, he shares his local knowledge with the Spectrum Marine family.
“There are many great spots about 10 to 15 nautical miles south off Hamilton Island with lovely sandy beaches. In southerly winds, Shaw Island between Neck Bay and Burning Point offer several comfortable anchorages with good holding.
Further round is Thomas Island, but watch Platypus Rock, where many haven’t and the outcome is not good! Between Thomas and Young Tom Island is also a lovely area.
In northerly winds, if down in that area the southern side off Shaw Island, Bill Bob Bay and Roberta are great options. Lindeman offers Plantation Bay, another great spot for those with kids who will enjoy the long, sandy beach and shallow waters.
If heading north, Armit Island – a great bird watching location – has a small but sheltered anchorage in gentle SE winds, as does Double Island.
But the jewel in the crown to us is Cape Gloucester and Gloucester Island, around 36 to 38 nautical miles north of Hamilton. Travel past several Islands, or follow the Mainland round and break the trip, if need be. The passage between Cape and Island is well marked. It can be shallow, but take your time and watch the beacons and you will come across possibly the nicest area in the Whitsundays.
There are two resorts, not modern but rustic, true beach style: Montes and Cape Gloucester resorts. There are good calm anchorages off both. At Montes, go no further in than the red floating beacon.
Gloucester has 22 moorings for which a small fee is charged, or there is plenty of room to drop a pick. All the resorts are on lovely sandy beaches and have bars and restaurants. Montes Beach Bar is open Fridays to Sundays. Cape Gloucester is open seven days and offers a bar, swimming pool and good seafood, plus bands most weekends.
For those who love crabbing, there are great spots in Sinclair Bay or Gregory River about a 15-minute run by tender. Be very wary if you’re taking your main boat. The fishing is excellent with many reefs around the area and the spearfishing is among the best you will find.
The sunsets are the best anywhere as you face direct west with open sea to Bowen. So, sit back and enjoy with a coldie or a glass of wine, and have your camera ready. Note: ANY WIND WITH W IN IT, DON’T GO!
Gloucester Island has two good anchorages, Bona and Squally Bay, both SE sheltered. A ‘must-buy’ is The “100 Magic Miles Guide”, which you can find in most Chandleries.
To all our fellow boaties, enjoy the Whitsundays as we do every day, and when on Hamo, call me as I am always up for a coldie and chat.
Spectrum Marine, the home of Integrity, Whitehaven Motor Yachts & Aquila Power Catamarans in Queensland. spectrummarine.com.au