Incredible Whitsundays destinations to visit in your Lagoon 42

One of the many advantages of becoming a syndicate owner of one of our COBLI Lagoon 42 catamarans is that you get to enjoy your vessel in not one, but two iconic sailing locations: Pittwater and the Whitsundays.

Every year, at the end of autumn, your Lagoon will be delivered from Sydney up to Airlie Beach, where it will remain from July to September, before being sailed back to Sydney at the start of spring. Your COBLI manager Nicky will be in touch with you about joining the trip North and back South each year.

As there are only six shares in each Lagoon, you’ll enjoy plenty of opportunities to explore the Whitsundays as both a part of your family lifestyle and a holiday destination during its three-month winter sojourn.

Maximise your Whitsundays experience

In order for you to maximise your Whitsundays experience onboard your Lagoon 42, we’ve compiled this guide to some of the most exciting destinations in the Whitsundays to visit in your Lagoon.

These places of astounding natural beauty allow you to get up close and personal with the local marine life, offer protection from wind, waves and weather and all of the anchorages have bottoms with sufficient depth for anchoring.

Many of these are places you can only access via boat, and they include places to swim, snorkel, scuba dive, fish, photograph, get back to nature, watch sunsets, lie on the beach, get close to nature or whatever rocks your boat!

Photograph incredible vistas and sunsets overlooking the most famous beach in the Whitsundays

Tongue Bay is a well-protected anchorage that gives you access to beautiful Betty’s Beach (a great place for a swim) and Lookout Beach as well as one of the most spectacular views in the Whitsundays from the Hill Inlet lookout, looking out over Hill Inlet and Whitehaven Beach.

It can get busy with day trippers, however if you are anchored here you can walk to the Hill Inlet lookout before or after the crowds.

Tongue Bay is a photographer’s dream with its incredible sunsets best viewed from Hill Inlet Lookout, which looks south over the spectacular Whitehaven Beach.

Things to see and do

  • Easy walking trail with amazing views
  • Green sea turtles and lagoon rays
  • Kayaking and SUP boarding
  • Swimming and snorkelling
  • White sandy beaches
  • Photography and sunsets

Winds, mooring and anchoring tips

Moor or anchor at Tongue Bay which provides shelter from southeast to northwest winds, There are three moorings available, but anchoring is easy.

The beach on Tongue Bay anchorage side is accessible only at high or near high tide with a minimum of 1.2 metres of water needed to cross the reef.

Don’t anchor in Hill Inlet Lookout as you will get stuck in there when the tide goes out. Go in at half tide rising as even tender will be stuck on the bottom at low time.

Location
Tongue Bay is located on the northern side of Whitehaven Beach.

Escape the crowds and feel like you have a desert island all to yourself

Lying on the north coast of Border Island, the steep, tree-clad slopes surrounding Cateran Bay will make you feel like you’ve landed on a desert Island. This is a great place to drop anchorage if you want to escape the crowds and it’s sometimes possible to even have this entire bay to yourself.

Because it is within a Marine National Park Green Zone, Cateran Bay is totally unspoilt with abundant marine life and birdlife and crystal clear water and no fishing is allowed. Go ashore to enjoy the stunning beach and incredible views from the island saddle.

Location

Cateran Bay is located on the northern side of Border Island, northeast of Whitsunday Island.

Things to see and do

  • Sense of seclusion
  • Incredible views
  • Pristine sandy beach
  • Incredible diversity of fish
  • Snorkelling and swimming
  • Excellent snorkelling and diving along the shoreline

Winds, mooring and anchoring tips

Cateran Bay is a secluded sandy beach best accessed at high or mid-tide that provides shelter from south and southeasterly winds (in the winter season).

Public moorings have been installed to prevent damage to the fringing reefs and you can also anchor outside an exclusion zone marked by triangular reef protection buoys.

See thousands of Ulysses butterflies at a butterfly shaped bay

Shaped like a butterfly and populated with thousands of large blue Ulysses butterflies certain times of the year, Butterfly Bay is a one-kilometre long, sheltered bay that is a popular bareboat anchorage.

There are limited public moorings and snorkelling can be enjoyed along the bay edge or just off the beach. Offering coral outcrops with shallow walls, the bay is populated by many small, colourful reef fish species, however this is a Marine National Park Green Zone so no fishing allowed.

Location
Northern side of Hook Island.

Things to see and do

  • Offers great protection from south and southeast winds
  • Snorkelling along beach and bay edge
  • Butterflies
  • Birdlife
  • Colourful reef fish
  • Scuba diving
  • swimming

Winds, mooring and anchoring tips

Be wary of tidal currents when moving towards the centre of the bay, away from the edges as there are many submerged isolated coral heads and reefs at the entrance.

There are limited free public moorings that provide protection from south and southeast winds.

Anchor at the most protected anchorage in the Whitsundays and explore Aboriginal caves 

Located on the South of Hook Island, Nara Inlet is peaceful, scenic, full of wildlife, easy to get to and central to many other popular sites in the Whitsundays.
The ancient rock art and middens of the Ngaro People in the caves at Hook Island’s stunning Nara Embark is one of the oldest Indigenous sites on Australia’s east coast, just a short 20 minute walk from Nara Inlet. The walk is well signposted and accessible by people of all fitness levels.

Location
Southern side of Hook Island.

Things to see and do

  • Ngaro cultural site
  • Snorkelling and swimming
  • See dolphins and turtles
  • Birdwatching white-bellied sea eagles, brahminy kites, cockatoos,egrets and herons
  • Humpback whales migrate at certain times of the year
  • Kayaking and paddle boarding
  • Fishing

Winds, mooring and anchoring tips
Because the anchorage is in an inlet, Nara is the most protected anchorage in the Whitsundays, protecting you from the north, south-east and west. It also has a muddy sea bed which holds anchors fast.
The waters at Nara are very still and specious, with plenty of room for boats to anchor almost and still have plenty of swing room.

When taking a dinghy to the island, leave at half tide falling.

See giant clams in some of the best snorkelling spots in the Whitsundays

Mantaray Bay and Saba Bay have some of the best snorkelling spots in the Whitsundays, full of giant clams, turtles and an enormous variety of marine life.

Saba Bay is not as popular as many other ancharanges as it can be exposed to south east winds for most of the year, however it does offer protection from the north, west and the south west. Saba Bay’s beaches are accessible at mid-tide, with caves that can be explored at high tide.

Nicknamed ‘The Aquarium’ by local tour guides, Mantaray Bay is a fantastic scuba diving spot, full of a wide variety of marine life, caves, valleys and swim-throughs.

Location
Mantaray Bay is on the Northern side of Hook Island and Saba Bay is on the North-East side of Hook Island

Things to see and do

  • Incredible variety of fish
  • Snorkelling and swimming
  • Scuba diving
  • Caves, valleys and swim throughs
  • SUP and kayaking

Winds, mooring and anchoring tips

Mantaray Bay is completely exposed to the North so avoid it if there is a northerly breeze.

Although you are not permitted to anchor in Mantaray Bay, there are public moorings available: 2 large moorings with a two-hour time limit and 3 smaller tender moorings for vessels under 7 metres with a shallow draft. Do not use the tender moorings on a low tide to avoid damaging your boat and the coral reef.

Saba Bay should only be visited in northerly wind conditions and has 5 moorings with plenty of room for anchoring – be aware that you need to stay out when anchoring to prevent chain wrap around deep bommies.

Enjoy wining and dining and the resort vibes at Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island Marina provides comprehensive services including quality provisioning as well as access to resort facilities such as world class spa, restaurants and shopping. When you berth at the Hamilton Island Marina you are permitted to use the marina and resort facilities on Hamilton Island.

You can enjoy a round of golf or dining, with a wide range of restaurants that include sophisticated, award-winning restaurants, laid-back cafés, takeaway options, as well as inviting bars to enjoy sundowners at.

Bushwalking is a great free activity to enjoy on Hamilton Island and a great way to explore the many hidden coves, taking in the stunning views scattered throughout the island.

The walk to Passage Peak Hill is a challenging 1 hour each way walk with many steps that rewards you with breathtaking views of the Whitsundays from the highest point on Hamilton Island, Passage Peak.

Things to see and do

  • Wining and dining
  • Golf
  • Walking trails with amazing views
  • Snorkelling amongst turtles, other marine life and colourful coral in the fringing reefs, just a short walk from Catseye Beach
  • Kayaking and SUP boarding
  • Swimming and snorkelling
  • White sandy beaches
  • Photography and sunsets

Winds, mooring and anchoring tips

Apart from the black out period in August each year for the Hamilton Island Race Week Event, you can make casual bookings all year round at the Hamilton Island Marina.

Location

It takes approximately 2 ½ hours to sail from Airlie Beach to Hamilton Island and the Hamilton Island Marina is located in Hamilton Harbour on the western side of the island.

Enjoy some of the best snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef with 3000 acres of living reef in a protected lagoon

If you are lucky enough to join the COBLI delivery crew on the trip from Airlie Beach to the Gold Coast or the Gold Coast to Airlie Beach, Lady Musgrave Island is a great place for a stopover on the way.

Sailors love Lady Musgrave Island for its safe anchorage as the island lies within a protected lagoon stretching eight kilometres around the island.

Lady Musgrave is one of the most unspoilt islands on the Great Barrier Reef and is set on 3000 acres of living reef and surrounded by a vast turquoise lagoon. This lagoon is framed by a huge, circular coral wall which protects the inner lagoon, leaving it calm and crystal clear and offering some of the best snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef.

Lady Musgrave Island also has 22 breeding seabird species including white-capped noddy terns, silver gulls and black-naped terns.

Location

Located only 52km from Bundaberg, and 554km from Airlie Beach.

Things to see and do

  • Over 1500 species of fish including schools of colourful clown fish
  • Manta rays, reef sharks and sea turtles
  • Safe snorkelling and diving
  • Remote and untouched
  • SUP boarding
  • Nesting ground for green turtles and loggerhead turtles

Winds, mooring and anchoring tips

Arrive in daylight to avoid the few coral heads that lie just below the surface of the atoll when you drop anchor. There is an easy, well marked entrance between coral cliffs, however it is essential you get the tide and the weather conditions right for entry.

The bottom is mainly sand with good holding and you are free to anchor where you want.

Learn more about the Lagoon 42 catamaran’s journey north

Watch our vlog or read our blog to see how John Cowpe and Joe Fox took three Cobli owners with them on the delivery of a lifetime they will never forget!

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