There are really only two ways to tour Australia: horseback and 4×4 treks into the Outback to catch sights of which kangaroos and the rainbow-colored Uluru are best known, or smooth sailing along Australia’s lush coastline, for an unforgettable marine adventure. If you’re into water sports rather than the desert, dream up your route, and find an Australian boat charter to get the most of your Sunburnt Country vacation.

sailboat on the whitsundays

Sailboat sunset on the Whitsundays, by Rachael Taft

The Whitsundays, QLD

Sailing in Australia begins with a visit to the continent’s main hot-spot, the Whitsunday Islands. Located off the coast of Queensland, and consisting of around a hundred islands, the Whitsundays are bound to make an avid sailor out of you. Let the azure waters and orderly, tourist-friendly Airlie Beach be your first stop before heading on to explore Australia’s best known island National Parks. Your journey must be topped off with either diving or snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, for a complete Australian marine adventure!

Fraser Island, QLD

Head down the Great Sandy Strait in order to marvel at Australia’s sandy beauty, Fraser Island. This is the world’s largest island, riddled with inland lakes, lush rainforests, eucalyptus forests, and the chance to see a dingo in its natural habitat. There is no doubt the Great Sandy Strait is among the world’s best charter destinations.

Moreton Bay, QLD

Conveniently close to Brisbane, is your shot at some of the best angling in Australia. As a busy commercial port, there is plenty of land-based activities, but the waters are what make it unique: prepare yourself for a near-cinematic experience –swim with dolphins and explore the Bay’s many charted shipwrecks.

Sydney Harbor, NSW

The white sails of the Opera House are twice as lovely when seen from the white sails of a boat. This is the most metropolitan port in Australia, allowing you to breathe in city life while remaining on a boat, ready for further sailing. But head north for a while, and you will come across a whimsical town, Pittwater, where you can truly admire at the lifelong bond Aussies have with their boats and bays.

Lake Macquarie, NSW

150 km north of Sydney Harbor is Lake Macquarie, a body of water vastly larger, and not nearly as busy. If you are staying in Sydney, this is your chance to get away from the big city-busy dock rush. When you tire of sailing, you can always go on an expedition to nearby Caves Beach, Redhead Beach, and the wild Watagan Mountains. Keep in mind, however, that commercial shipping is prohibited on Lake Macquarie.

The Kimberley Coast, WA

The best way to explore Kimberley Coast on the north-eastern shoreline is by boat, and due to its extreme isolation, sometimes, this is the only way. Appreciate the remote Prince Regent and Drysdale River National Parks upon the shoreline as you cruise waters best navigated from May to October. This trip is perfect for the adventurous spirits looking to dip their anchors in wild waters, but be wary if you are swimming, as the area is reputed for sharks and crocodiles.

D’Entrecasteaux Channel, WA

If you are in Western Australia, and have a mind to visit Tasmania, arguably the wildest and most splendid region of the continent, be sure to dock at D’Entrecasteaux Channel, and engage with the many, many other boats in the area – in fact, D’Entrecasteaux is known for having the busiest ports in Australia at any given time. It is also home to the Bruny Island Ocean Race, Australia’s oldest yacht race.

Geographe Bay, WA

This is the location of the most posh port on Australia’s west coast, Port Geographe Marina. This bay comes with a well-stocked chandlery, a wide range of port facilities, and the vicinity of the Busselton Jetty coral, which is where you should plan your next snorkeling trip.