The truly best way to voyage around the Whitsunday Islands is by private boat.
The truly best way to voyage around the Whitsunday Islands is by private boat. JULES INGALL

Whitsunday Islands are for sail

We've all heard of the Whitsundays and probably daydreamed about the white sandy beaches of Whitehaven, Hayman and Hamilton.

The Whitsundays actually consists of 74 islands, many of which are uninhabited, and there is so much more to the region than the postcard pictures we love.

There are several ways to explore the islands and the outer Great Barrier Reef.

Luxury lovers can splurge on a seaplane or helicopter, but if you want to be a little more adventurous and really immerse yourself in deserted island life, there's no beating a boat.

Day tours are available with various companies and these are great if you're short on time, but the tour boats are pretty set in their itineraries.

The truly best way to voyage around the Whitsunday Islands is by private boat.

If you don't have a 15m yacht at your disposal, the fantastic option of bare boating allows you to charter your own luxury private catamaran.

Interesting fact: the Whitsundays is the only place on Earth you can charter your own boat without having to hold a boat licence.

You are given a three-hour induction and crash course in sailing and, as long as you manage this OK, the keys are pretty much handed over so you can sail away solo.

If you're not confident, there is the option of taking a skipper.

Dream Yacht Charters, based in Airlie Beach, is one of the more popular companies in the area.

Their boats are all really modern and great value. The four-berth boats will comfortably sleep eight and, once you stock up on food, you have everything to take off exploring.

With the luxury of a few days aboard, you can travel to beaches and islands that are completely uninhabited and be the only boat around for miles.

With no phone or internet service, it's like being totally disconnected from reality, lazing your days away island hopping, swimming and snorkelling the reefs.

Pull up to your own private beaches or reefs and explore for as little or as long as you like, unrestricted by tour schedules.

With so many islands and hidden coves, you have the comfort of knowing that no matter the conditions there is always somewhere you can moor for protection from the weather.

After your seafaring sojourn, ease back into reality with a few days hanging out in Airlie Beach. It's a small town with a very transient feel, thanks to all the backpackers and tourists.

With a beautiful bay and foreshore shadowed by a hill overlooking the islands, you can pretty much walk everywhere, stroll around cute boutiques, cafes, bars and restaurants or visit the Saturday Markets. The marina at one end is connected to the lagoon at the other by a boardwalk.

Airlie Beach is known for its great nightlife, but it's also family friendly, especially the lagoon with its sheltered pool for youngsters and lifeguards for peace of mind.

The best part of all is while the southern states shiver, the Whitsundays experiences some of its most ideal holiday conditions. Expect warm, calm weather without the crowds.

For more information or pictures, go to Instagram or Facebook Jules Ingall Photography or Tourism Whitsundays