Sailing The Whitsundays, On Board The British Defender

Sailing The Whitsundays, On Board The British Defender

It’s one of the most popular trips throughout East Coast Australia…

It’s home to one of the world’s most famous AND most beautiful beaches…

The only way to explore it is by sail…

What boat should you choose for your very own Whitsundays Adventure?!

The British Defender.

The British Defender is amongst many boats that set out daily to sail the Whitsundays. A cluster of 74 incredible islands off the East Coast of Australia where dolphins, turtles and many tourists (usually for 1-2 days at a time) reside.

The vessel itself may look small but where you’re heading, the boat’s exterior will be the last thing on your mind.

This maxi yacht travels an awful lot faster too. Meaning you’ll be able to speed off ahead and see a lot more along your ride of a lifetime!

A quick hint about the boat’s interior though, it has recently been ripped out and totally refurbished. I’m talking double bunk beds, A/C in the rooms and sparkly white surfaces everywhere! —> Not many of the boats have air conditioning based on what I’ve heard!

There is plenty of space for everyone to sunbathe on the top deck. Plus the added extra of hammocks at the front of the boat! Heaps of space also allows for a great deal of socialising and making new friends, popular amongst us backpackers!

The stunning Airlie beach is where you’ll need to hostel for the night. Ready to board The British Defender at Abel Point Marina. Which is just a short 10 minute water-front walk away from the main street.

Meet here at 2pm on your day of departure & get to know everyone else that will be climbing on board.

The average age group for this vessel is 18-25 year old’s. The boat often attracts backpackers or couples that are partial to a bevvy or two but that want to chill out, adventure and simply socialise on a sober level too!

Give yourself a day or two to explore Airlie Beach itself, either side of your Whitsundays excursion.

The jelly-fish free lagoon is the prettiest place to lounge during the day. Alternatively, if a rush of adrenaline is what you’re after…throw yourself out of a plane and see The Whitsundays from a whole different angle.

Looking for somewhere to stay? Magnums is where it’s at, book here for a rain forest like setting with cheap as dorms and similar priced privates with the busiest bar in town come 7pm.

Airlie Beach Lagoon Australia

The British Defender strikes the perfect balance between a bevvy-ed backpacker vibe and a chilled out adventure vibe.

For me and Louis, it was the perfect choice! As we could dance and ‘drink goon from noon’ (well, they open the bar around 5pm every night) or chill out in a hammock, watching the sun set romantically.

The main reason this isn’t a notorious party boat is down to the fact there are only 28 guests and 3 crew members. Very much unlike the Atlantic Clipper. On board Whitsunday’s most recgonised ‘party boat’, you can expect a capacity of around 60 guests and many more crew members.

If you’re lucky, you’ll get the lovely Erin {crew member} who quickly becomes everyone’s friend and cooks up some cracking nachos. I love my nachos! Ben, who knows everything there is too know about this boat and is partial to some good ol’ English techno remixes. Ryan, quite shy but a lovely guy and he’ll help you spot turtles whilst snorkelling!

You can book The British Defender through Explore Whitsundays directly or book through Sam at RatPack Travel {like I did} and receive 10% OFF with code ‘Lauren10’


Sailing on board The British Defender is a 2 day, 2 night trip. You’ll depart at 2pm on your first day and return to the marina at 11am on your third day.

The crew really do make the most out of your time on board. So the 6am starts are something I must warn you about. However, they’re totally worth it. Once you’ve seen the sun rise from the deck, been for a morning snorkel and eaten breakfast all before 8am!

Once on board no time is wasted as the yacht sets sail to its first destination. In the meantime, the crew will introduce themselves. Black Island is your first chance to snorkel the reef! Once your stinger suit is on, you can hop straight in.

This is where me and Lou saw a turtle for the first time and swam with it as it came up for air, so special!

A few hours and a lot of fish later, you’ll sail over to Stonehaven which will be the boats first overnight anchorage. What I loved so much about sleeping on board is how dark it was when you anchor up. Come morning it was always a beautiful surprise to see where we were!

6am start on the 2nd day and over to Blue Pearl Bay for an incredible snorkel and the chance to do either a beginner or advanced scuba diver {for an extra $79}!

Trying to spot Louis under water through the endless amount of nemo’s was a task! I’ve always been a sucker when it comes to snorkeling but I’m so glad I manned up for this trip. I’ve never seen anything so spectacular!

The sails are set once again and this time they’ll take you over to Tongue Bay; a breeding ground for turtles!  Which is clear to see as you’ll probably spot 2 or 3 coming up for air within a few minutes of being anchored. You can’t snorkel here, but as you make your way to the small beach on the bay, you’re in for the best treat Australia has to give. 

A short walk through the bush will lead you to one of the best beaches in the world, Whitehaven Beach!!

You won’t believe your eyes when you see how white the sand is, how blue the water is and how far this beach stretches.

I’ll be doing an entire blog post about this beach because it deserves one too itself. A quick tip for your afternoon there though: head to the right of the beach, stick on your stinger suit and you could be swimming in the company of sting rays!

Whitehaven Beach, The Whitsundays, Australia

The magic doesn’t stop there as you then walk up to the Hill Inlet Lookout to see Whitehaven Beach from above! As if it could get any more beautiful!

It’ll be late afternoon when you head to the next overnight anchorage. These locations will change dependent on weather and timings of every trip. We sailed to a cove that we discovered to be surrounded by beautiful green islands the next morning!

After a good serving of freshly cooked dinner and a few drinks, everyone was chilling on the top deck. We were lucky enough to have dolphins {including a mama and baba} swimming around our boat! A highlight of the trip that wasn’t on the itinerary.

Soon after, a baby hammerhead shark was spotted!! You can see why I was reluctant to snorkel in the same spot come 7am the following morning haha!

6am start again for the last part of your sailing adventure and a morning snorkel is optional before the boat sets sails back to Abel Point Marina. A last chance to top up that tan as it’ll be a few hours before you arrive back.

Saying bye to the crew and friends will be tough, but an after party in Airlie Beach that evening should fix the feeling!


What luggage can I take on-board the boat?

You only need one small bag for your trip. Bikini and bare feet will be how you spend most of your time. Remember to pack a throw over t-shirt & shorts, suncream and flip flops! Tip: Some boats don’t allow you to have zips on your bags. You can pick up a non-zipped bag from most hostels for just a few dollars $$$.

Do I need to bring my own food/drink?

Absolutely not…you’ll get breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner every day! An honesty system is in place so you can help yourself to cans of fizzy drink and pay at the end of the trip. A water bottle would be a fab idea too. With regards to alcohol, this boat is ‘bring your own’. So a box of goon/crate of beer is essential if you’re partial to a bevvy.

How much does the trip cost?

You can expect to pay around $445 or £270 but money shouldn’t be a factor here! The Whitsundays will easily be one of the best things you’ve ever done!

Where/when can I book?

Like any trip, pre booking in the summer season is normally recommended. If you arrive in Airlie beach and decide to hop on a boat, the Whitsundays office is on the main street. So you can easily book there and then! Alternatively, RatPack Travel offer a personal booking service and you’ll receive 10% off with the code ‘Lauren10’.

The British Defender can be booked through Explore Whitsundays directly or through Sam at RatPack Travel {like I did} where you’ll receive 10% OFF with the code ‘Lauren10’.

Please don’t hesitate in asking me any other questions. I’d love to help you book your Whitsundays Adventure!

Whitsundays was a favourite during our time in Australia. So many incredible moments were had and so many amazing memories were made. I’d do it all over again in a heart beat but it would never be as special as the first time. So get it right and book onto the British Defender!

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Author {Lauren Alger} Copyright {Travel Your Dreams 2017} This blog post is not an ad and is not sponsored.

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