Australia luxury yacht charter

Boasting the world's greatest natural reef plus dazzling waterfront cities, rainforest framed beaches and tropical waters, the many sides of Australia provide unparalleled cruising possibilities in Oceania. With such vast and diverse cruising grounds, a luxury yacht charter in Australia has something for everyone. Mix bright lights and iconic sights in Sydney with golden beaches, discover final-frontier beauty in the Kimberley, dive into the natural wonders of the Great Barrier Reef or swoon over shifting sands and shallows of the Whitsunday Islands.

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Australia yacht season and weather

Located in the Southern Hemisphere, Australia offers warmer temperatures and sunnier days during what would be the cold winter season in higher latitudes. 

The Great Barrier Reef and The Whitsundays offer ideal sailing conditions during Australia's winter months, from April to November before the wet season begins from December to March. Temperature highs during this time range from 25 to 30°C. The city of Sydney and surrounding coastlines meanwhile are best visited during the dry season which occurs between the months of November to late January, with temperature highs ranging from 23 to 26°C. 

Australia yacht charter itineraries

The majority of Australia charters are taken around the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsundays where there are many sheltered anchorages for overnighting.

Cairns is a popular jumping off point for Great Barrier Reef charters and Cairns Marlin Marina accommodates yachts up to 140 metres. Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina in Port Douglas has 135 berths that can accommodate yachts up to 50 metres.

For the Whitsundays, Coral Sea Marina near Airlie Beach accommodates yachts up to 80 metres and Hamilton Island Marina has slips for yachts up to 45 metres.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system, comprising more than 3,000 reef chains, coral cays and picturesque islands. Charters are characterised by short hops and a dizzying array of picturesque stops. Set sail from Cairns to the Ribbon Reefs, where tropical fish abound. Scuba dive at Ribbon Reef No.5, nicknamed Andy’s Postcard, and anchor overnight under a jaw-dropping blanket of stars before revelling in more sublime snorkelling and underwater magic at Pixie’s Pinnacle and Cold Hole. Next up, cruise to the bewilderingly beautiful beaches of Lizard Island and the aptly named Blue Lagoon. Around 45 nautical miles south of Lizard Island, sample a little Australian history at Cooktown – the site of Captain Cook’s landing. Your skipper can then cherry pick the best snorkelling spots en route to an idyllic picnic on a private and secluded sandy cay before heading south to the fine dining and five-star spas of exclusive Port Douglas, 30 nautical miles north of your home port of Cairns.

Another exceptional charter ground brimming with easy passages and sublime cruising is the Whitsunday Islands. This spellbinding archipelago boasts more than 70 isles with show-stopping snorkelling and diving, exceptional corals and a dusting of exclusive resorts. Charters often depart from Hamilton Island, where picturesque beaches abound. Cruise 10 nautical miles to the snorkelling paradise of Neck Bay and spend a tranquil night on anchor before making passage to Long Island Sound and the protected waters of Cid Island. Kayak along the mangroves and watch the sun melt into the horizon at Katoomba Bank. Along the west coast of Whitsunday Island, unleash the water toys – this is one of the few areas where jet skis are authorised. Hook Island (10 nautical miles north) offers more incredible diving and snorkeling, with reef fish, turtles, dolphins and manta rays often spotted in the Whitsunday Passage. Don’t miss the Outer Reef, where the dramatic drop-offs are home to turtles, reef sharks and barracuda. Finally, cruise south to the iconic sweeping sands of Whitehaven Beach.

While the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef are justifiably popular for charters, Australia’s other coastlines offer equally exciting cruising options depending on your interests. Sydney Harbour boasts iconic sights, exceptional waterside dining and ample coves. Hermit Bay, the western shore of Shark Island and Athol Bay offer some of the best sunset views overlooking the Sydney skyline. Short coastal hops bring you to the Hawkesbury River, perfect for exploring by tender.

Alternatively, opt for a final frontier explorer adventure and cruise along the wild and awe-inspiring north-west coastline. The Kimberley is three times the size of England and punctuated by plunging gorges, swirling rivers, rainforested lagoons, and more than 2,500 uninhabited islands. There’s enough to keep you busy here for days, weeks or even months, and it’s a true nature lover’s paradise.

Australia by superyacht

Getting to Australia

The main airports in Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns all handle commercial and private aircraft.

For Kimberley, fly direct to Broome from Perth all year round.

In the Whitsundays, Hamilton Island has a small airport, which handles commercial and private aircraft.

Legal requirements

Unless you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen, all travellers to the country will need a Visa. The issuing of a Control Permit is required to cruise Australian waters.

All vessels are required by law to notify the Australian border force prior to arrival and must clearly display the International Pratique Q-flag. 

On arrival, yachts must go directly to a recognised port of entry and undergo a biosecurity check before guests or crew can step on shore. Australia has particularly strict rules regarding the importation of animals, foodstuffs and plants.

Foreign flagged vessels coming to Australia that wish to charter do not require importation under the 2019 Special Recreational Vessel Act. Taxation is only payable on the charter cost (10%), not the value of the vessel.