Words by Shiela Apura

Australia has a plethora of destinations to offer when you go by yacht. Our top sailing spots are the perfect way to experience the spectacular scenery, warmth, and beauty of the South Pacific.

Aside from the extremely popular Great Barrier Reef, there are many sailing destinations to choose from. From Port Stephens on the eastern coast to the Great Sandy Strait in northern Queensland, there’s a wide variety of places to suit every taste, budget, and convenience.

Moreton Bay, QLD

On Brisbane’s doorstep, the beauty and allure of Moreton Bay will welcome you. Dotted with islands, Moreton Bay is an extensive waterway of more than 1500 square kilometres on the eastern coast of Australia.

Highlights include North and South Stradbroke Islands, as well as Moreton Island, which together with Fraser Island, forms the world’s largest sand structure.

If you have a penchant for diving and snorkelling, Moreton Bay is a great option, with a variety of marine wildlife such as dolphins, humpback whales, and turtles to discover. With more than 100 shipwrecks — 26 in known locations — you can take advantage of excellent beach resorts while snorkelling in different local shipwreck sites.

It is not only a place popular with recreational anglers, but also commercial fishers because of its abundance of seafood — so make sure you get your hands on some of the fresh produce!

Port Stephens, NSW

There are many things to see in Port Stephens. For one, there is the Great Lakes Marine Park, which offers an array of marine life native to New South Wales. There is the crested horn shark, eastern fiddler ray, and the pineapplefish.

Port Stephens is also home to 150 bottlenose dolphins, so it’s perfect if you want to go dolphin watching.

Image credit: Tooykrub /

Pittwater Bay, NSW

The Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the beautiful white sails of the Opera House have long captivated the interest of tourists. However, iconic architectural treasures aside, there are some breathtaking sights to feast your eyes on from the unique vantage point of a boat.

Pittwater is one of many secluded bays where you can get away from the beautiful but bustling city of Sydney. Just 45 minutes drive from the central business district, it is a quieter but no less remarkable paradise. With its little swell, reliable winds, and serene waters, the sailing ground around Pittwater is sure to take you for a pleasurable cruise on a yacht.

For an overnight stay, there are many lodgings and restaurants on shore. You can also take a scenic walk up to the historic Barrenjoey Lighthouse.

The Whitsundays, QLD

The Whitsunday Islands offer some of the most attractive and beautiful cruising in the world. Dotting the Coral Sea at the centre of the Great Barrier Reef, the hundred islands and islets make up the largest offshore string of islands on Australia’s east coast.

Today, the Whitsundays attract more than half a million visitors each year to its subtropical climate.

Its famous islands include Daydream, Hamilton, Hayman, and South Molle, housing a mix of cosmopolitan clubs and restaurants. There are also undeveloped islands that offer pristine white beaches for you to explore.

Great Sandy Strait, QLD

Situated in the waters between Fraser Island and the Fraser Coast mainland, the Great Sandy Strait competes with the Whitsundays for the most covetable sailing conditions and stunning scenery.

Home to a variety of animal life, you’ll have a chance to see rare shorebirds, dugongs, and dolphins swimming in its crystal clear waters.

You can hire a yacht and begin your cruise at Tin Can Bay, where you can take advantage of the excellent prawning in the southern part of the Strait. Then, head north past Tinnanbar, Maaroom, Boonooroo, Tuan, and Poona before taking anchor at Kingfisher Bay Resort, known as a sailor’s paradise.

READ MORE: 5 of Australia’s best fishing spots