I was recently invited on a sailing escape to the Whitsunday Islands, (the large gathering of heritage listed and mostly uninhabited islands all named after Captain Cook's cronies!), by Tourism Queensland and Lucid Media, where we cruised around on a chartered yacht for three days.
On day one, we set off from Airlie Beach on Cumberland Cruises in 25 knot winds and looming, stormy skies. We sailed north towards Butterfly Bay into clearer waters for snorkelling and to anchor down. We were greeted with a dramatic and unexpected scape of hoop pine and black rocks which would be more at home in New Zealand or in the Loch's of Scotland than the tropics! The waters were smokey emerald in colour, with giant coral reefs teaming with brightly coloured fish.
If you get the chance to sail around the islands, cook your own meals and sail your own boat (we cheated with our very capable captain, Geoff). In the couple of days sailing, I saw incredible sunsets, coral sands, flotsam & jetsam and bobbed around, snorkelled, read, and rested in my super comfortable cabin with a double bed and mini en suite. Next stop, Qualia.