If you’re reading this from yet another week of quarantine or work from home, travel around Australia by boat might be starting to sound like a mighty fine idea to get you through after new year.
While all of this time inside has gotten us thinking about how amazing it’s going to feel to get back out there and explore the world, the reality is, when lockdown is behind us and social distancing measures have been relaxed, international travel might not be on the cards for quite a while to come. Many experts predict that international travel for Aussies may not resume until 2022 at the earliest! Argh!
But not all is lost. Following the adage ‘turn lemons into lemonade’ maybe this is the perfect time to get out there and travel around Australia by boat? Let’s face it, we’ve got ourselves a beautiful country here, and there’s no question that Australia is well and truly worth experiencing.
From the majesty of Uluru to the wildlife of the Great Barrier Reef, between the beach at Byron and the baristas of Melbourne, to the breath taking majesty of Sydney Harbour, there’s so much beauty in Australia for us to take in.
And as an added bonus, always remember that keeping your holidays local will provide some much-needed support to small businesses in regional towns who have been hit hard by bushfires and then by the loss of seasonal visitors during the pandemic.
Whether you hire a boat, or pick up a reasonably priced boat available online here there’s a great sense of adventure and family bonding that comes with spending time on the water. It’s hard to get better views, more secluded beaches or prettier sunsets than when you are on the water.
If you’re looking for inspiration on the best places to travel around Australia by boat, here are 10 unbeatable holiday destinations.
New South Wales
Famously the home of Home and Away, this little stretch of paradise has become a celebrity in its own right. Stepping into this picture-perfect backdrop feels otherworldly. With gorgeous headlands, the iconic Barrenjoey Lighthouse and the alluring Patonga, Scotland Island and Lion Island, this little coastal inlet just outside of Sydney should be the first stop on your Sydney boating bucket list. Plus, the Northern Beaches are home to some pretty amazing cafes making it the perfect place to sail (and eat) your way through.
Boating through Sydney Harbour is guaranteed to make you feel like a tourist in your own town but in the best possible way. Even if you have been born and raised in Sydney, the harbour will undoubtedly take your breath away. From the glittering waters, to the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House, sailing on Sydney Harbour is one thing absolutely everyone should do at least once in their life.
Up the North Coast of NSW, this little sanctuary is perfect in every way. Port Stephens has a system of rivers, lakes, creeks and beaches that make it a perfectly secluded blue water paradise. Spend days sailing between small islands and headlands discovering the beauty this port has to offer, and with marinas and moorings everywhere you can spend the night on your boat too.
Down the South Coast, Jervis Bay is a haven of clear blue water and white sandy beaches. Boasting the quiet, calm waters of Callala Bay which provides the perfect spots for swimming, and the fine white sand of Hyams Beach that quite literally topped this list of best white sand beaches in the world this little spot is unbeatable.
The South Coast of NSW was devastated by the recent bushfires and rely heavily on tourism to boost their economy, so head on down and enjoy the sea, the sand, the fresh seafood and warm hospitality.
Once you’ve seen the Whitsundays you’ll be wondering why you ever holidayed outside Australia. Boasting over 150 uninhabited islands, immaculate national parks and high-end resorts on Hamilton Island, there is the perfect place to drop anchor for everyone. Don’t forget to check out Whitehaven Beach, a seven-kilometre stretch of beach with pure white sand and uninterrupted vistas.
Widely regarded to be the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the jewel of Far North Queensland, Cairns has well and truly earned their spot on this list. Cairns boasts tropical weather, swimming lagoons, gorges, beaches and the mountainous rainforests of the Daintree National Park. This spot is an absolute smorgasbord of Australian beauty.
Gulf of Carpentaria Creeks
The Gulf of Carpentaria Creeks are one of those rare landscapes that are as majestic from the sky as it is from sea level. Providing the sort of view that sounds like it should have a David Attenborough voiceover playing over the top of it, the Gulf is an intricate network of waterways and mangrove creeks. Sailing through these creeks is truly unique and, a bonus, it’s a great spot for fishing!
Tasmanian Coastline, TAS
As much as Australian mainlanders like to tease Tasmania like a younger sibling, the truth is, we’re all a bit jealous of the natural beauty of their island. Hiking, sailing, cruising – there are so many ways to discover this gorgeous little isle, not to mention the rich art scene and the food (the gastronomy in Tasmania is world-class!).
Rottnest Island, WA
If you’re looking to travel around Australia by boat and you want to go a little further afield, then check out Perth’s most popular island getaway – Rottnest Island. There’s a ferry available at Hillarys Boat Harbour. With clear blue water and vistas that stretch uninterrupted to the horizon. Beyond the views, the weather, and the water you’ll also have the opportunity to encounter and interact with the Island’s most famous residents: the Quokkas. These smiley creatures, known for their willingness to take selfies, are native only to the island making this a truly once in a lifetime experience.
Katherine River – Nitmuluk National Park
When you’re looking for domestic travel locations, don’t overlook the culturally rich and stunningly beautiful Northern Territory. Cruising along the Katherine and Ropa Rivers in Nitmuluk National Park offers a once in a lifetime experience. Plus, if you’re looking to fish from your boat you’ll want to check out Katherine’s best secret fishing spots.