Things to do on a yacht charter to Australia

Published 21 novembre 2023

For those with a yearning to explore beyond the more run-of-the-mill winter cruising grounds of The Bahamas or the Caribbean, the far-flung waters of Australia certainly promise action and excitement for the waterborne.


Whether your desire is to dive waters of the Great Barrier Reef, rest and relax in the beautiful surroundings of the Whitsundays or moor your yacht right by the Harbour Bridge and facing Sydney’s Royal Opera House, the vast and varied waterways of Australia can deliver you a true taste of adventure.  

When to go on an Australia yacht charter

Embrace the balance of busy city life and total relaxation on the sandy beaches of Queensland

Australia has a variety of climates owing simply to its sheer size. The temperate south has cool, wet winters and warm, dry summers. In the north however, a more tropical climate prevails, with a warm dry season and then a hot wet season. The best time to visit Australia is during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer from November through March, but for those looking to go diving September through early December is generally when the diving conditions and visibility around the Great Barrier Reef are at their best.  

Where to charter in Australia

Too vast to explore in just one charter itinerary, a superyacht charter in Australia offers a variety of cruising possibilities and can encompass both tropical islands and cosmopolitan cities. You can easily combine a few days exploring the coral-rich waters of the Great Barrier Reef with time ashore on one of the idyllic Whitsunday Islands, or equally twin the bright lights of Cairns or Sydney with Queensland’s tropical islands.  

Have the chance to see humpback whales up close

The major yachting ports-of-call dotted along the east coast of Australia include Cairns, Brisbane and Sydney, each of which provides great social outlets, while natural beauty abounds in the miles of deserted beaches that fringe the coastline of Queensland. The Whitsunday Islands are perfect for those who enjoy watersports, while the Kimberleys, which lie at the extremity of Western Australia, provide natural wonders galore. However, it is the Great Barrier Reef that is generally the headline act and a must-do for superyachts heading to Australia.  

Great Barrier Reef  

The stunning waters of the Great Barrier Reef deliver off-the-beaten track cruising at its most spectacular. Home to the largest reef on earth, this thriving ecosystem is best explored on a specific Australian yacht charter where you have no limitations as to where you go next.

Dive deep and discover the Great Barrier Reef

Port Douglas and Cairns are both ideal embarkation points for those wanting to explore the underwater world. Dive through caves or snorkel through the shallow coral gardens, home to intriguing marine life including spectacular fish life, turtles and reef sharks. Look hard enough and you might even spot the elusive dugongs.  

Recommended – Renowned for its marine life, Pixie Pinnacle in the Great Barrier Reef is a superb anchorage.  

Whitsunday Islands  

Sheltered by their protector the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday Islands form an archipelago of over 70 islands, only eight of which are inhabited. Home to over one third of the world’s soft corals and more than 1,500 species of marine life, the calm waters that lap these almost deserted islands provide diving and snorkelling opportunities to rival the best of the Great Barrier Reef. Spend time in the snorkelling haven of Neck Bay, kayak along the mangroves at Katoomba Bank and dive around Hook Island or venture to the Outer Reef. Here dramatic drop-offs are home to reef sharks and barracuda, along with reef fish, turtles and manta rays. 

Discover the beauty of the Whitsunday Islands

Combine a few days exploring the underwater world with some time ashore discovering the islands’ Aboriginal past, laid down centuries before even the arrival of European settlers. Visit the ancient rock paintings at the cave of Ngaro on Hook Island and then experience nature at its finest with a hike through the uninhabited islands with their dense rainforest and native bushland.  

Recommended – Anchor off Heron Island, a haven for sea turtles which lay their eggs in the sand on moonlit nights. 


The gateway city to Queensland’s tropical north, Cairns is renowned for its relaxed, tropical climate and laid-back ambiance. Use Cairns as your jump-off point to start a yacht charter and discover the enormous swathe of the Great Barrier Reef that sweeps along this part of the coast all the way from Mission Beach in the south to the Torres Strait in the north, anchoring in the hotspots of Port Douglas and Palm Cove along the way.

Enjoy seeing Cairns for yourself 

Then immerse yourself in the tropical waters that surround the beautiful Low Isles near Port Douglas, and discover uninhabited islands and secluded coral cays, all while swimming daily with a wide variety of tropical fish and sea turtles. In Cairns itself the oceanfront Esplanade is also home to restaurants, bars and shops and can easily occupy you and your guests for a fun day or two ashore. 

Recommended – Spend a few days inland before or after your Australian yacht charter at the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest, located in the hinterland north of Cairns.  


The Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsundays may be the most popular for superyacht charters, but Australia's other coastlines offer exciting and alternative cruising grounds, one of which is the waters around Australia’s oldest city, Sydney. Gracing the edge of the ocean, backed by the Blue Mountains, and blessed with sunny skies, Sydney’s setting and architecture is genuinely legendary. Aside from nature’s benevolence and an amazing location, the city also offers an exciting gourmet scene, a dynamic art scene and a wide number of architectural landmarks all worth stepping ashore from your yacht to explore.

See the sites of Sydney for yourself

Cruise into Sydney Harbour and take in the iconic sights of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House before heading to moor up at Circular Quay – an exciting and vibrant area that could entertain guests for days just by itself. Then explore the surrounding coastline, from the tourist mecca of Bondi Beach up to the Northern Beaches.  

Recommended – Take a few days out and venture inland to the Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest and best-known wine-growing region.  

Kimberley Coast

Spread across the northern extremity of Western Australia, Kimberley is a stunning natural wonder which provides yacht charterers with plentiful opportunities for discovery and adventure. The waters that lap this luscious coastline are among the world’s least-chartered owing primarily to a combination of the extreme hot temperatures and contrasting humid seasons that affect the remote Northern Territory.

Unwind as you sail around Kimberley Coast

However, time it right and you too can discover Mother Nature’s finest during an Australian yacht charter. The best time to visit is from July to September, before the temperatures get uncomfortably high. Gorges, meteorite craters, towering waterfalls, impressive, flawless beaches and more than 2,500 uninhabited islands all form part of one of the most adventurous charters you could possibly book.  

Hike up to Bell Gorge and take a swim in the waterfall

Embark on your Kimberley yacht charter in Cygnet Bay and cruise to the rocky islands and islets that make up the Buccaneer Archipelago, past the granite cliffs and narrow gorges of King Sound, and onto the white-sand beaches of Hidden Island. Then jump in and dive and snorkel the small lagoons of Montgomery Reef –Australia’s largest inshore reef.   

Recommended – Step ashore at Raft Point to visit the cave with Wandjinas rock art, created hundreds of years ago by indigenous people. 

What should I do on a yacht charter to Australia?  

The coastline of Australia is an ideal cruising ground for varied experiences. Diving, snorkelling, hiking, and enjoying cultural experiences in some of the wildest areas of the earth but still cocooned in the cradle of your luxury yacht charter. 

Dive the Great Barrier Reef

Dive deep and explore the marine life of the Great Barrier Reef
  • The world’s largest coral reef ecosystem needs no introduction 
  • Comprising more than 3,000 reef chains, coral cays, and islands  
  • Scuba dive Ribbon Reef No.5 
  • Discover underwater magic at Cold Hole and Pixie Pinnacle 
  • Discover the beautiful beaches of Lizard Island  
  • Swim in the aptly named Blue Lagoon  
  • Dive Osprey Reef 
  • Snorkel the world-famous Heart Reef

Explore famous beaches

Take up a new skill and learn to surf
  • A sweeping curve of golden sand between two headlands, Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach is a must-visit for surfers, swimmers, and fitness fanatics 
  • Discover Byron Bay’s great swathes of beach, including Wategos Beach, Clarkes Beach, and Byron Beach itself  
  • The gateway to the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef, Airlie Beach is a hub of activities. However, it is not advised to swim off the beach between October and May due to jellyfish
  • With its white silica sands and turquoise tropical waters, the award-winning Whitsunday Beach on Whitsunday Island is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world 
  • Located to the south of Sydney, Hyams Beach in Jervis Bay, is said to have the whitest sand in the world (according to the Guinness World Records) 
  • Take a barefoot stroll along the flawless sands of Silica Beach on Hidden Island, The Kimberleys

See some of Australia's famous wildlife

Can you say you've been to Australia, if you haven't seen a koala?
  • Tag and release giant black marlin  
  • Spot migratory humpback whales  
  • Swim with dwarf minke  
  • Snorkel with dugongs 
  • Wake up with possums 
  • Cuddle with koalas

Catch and enjoy fresh fish and seafood

Treat yourself to fresh seafood with a picturesque view
  • Enjoy Sydney Rock Oysters 
  • Catch crayfish and rock lobsters in the Kimberleys 
  • Tag and release giant black marlin around the Great Barrier Reef (late September through to early December)  
  • Dine on the eat-in trawler, Prawn Star, at Marlin Marina, Cairns  

Enjoy island hopping

The Whitsundays Islands are the best for island hopping 
  • Protected by the ocean swells by the lee of the lower Barrier Reef, the 74 Whitsundays are ideal for island hopping  
  • Cruise part of the Great Barrier Reef – the world’s largest coral reef system with more than 3,000 reefs, 600 islands and 300 coral cays  
  • Discover Hermit Bay, Shark Island and Athol Bay while cruising around Sydney  
  • Venture to just a few of the Kimberley’s 2,500-plus uninhabited islands  

Visit some of Australia's most well-known landmarks

Sail along the Sydney Harbour and admire the famous landmarks along the way
  • Take in a performance at the Sydney Opera House 
  • Enjoy a private sunset bridgeclimb over the Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • Take the cable car ride over the Daintree Rainforest, Cairns  
  • Head inland to visit Ayres Rock 
  • Head up to the lighthouse viewpoint at Byron Bay

Book your Australian yacht charter today with Burgess. Discover everything that Australia has to offer in style with a Burgess yacht charter.  

To find out more about Burgess’ yachts for sale and yachts for charter, please contact a Burgess broker. Alternatively, get in touch with one of our offices directly: London, Monaco, New York, Miami, Singapore or all other locations.

Yachts, prices and availability are correct at the time of publication.

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