Jess Skarratt lives most people’s dream – telling stories about her holidays on TV! Jess is that vibrant, welcoming face on Seven’s Queensland Weekender program as well as being a Gold Coast local so it was clear that we just had to pick her brain on all things wanderlust this month…
I consider myself pretty darn lucky and don’t take it for granted that, as a job, I road test holiday destinations. It’s a privilege to inspire our viewers to explore and experience everything our beautiful state has to offer and also help promote tourism and small businesses.
Bareboating around the Whitsunday Islands was one of my most recent Queensland Weekender adventures and it’s now on the top of my own holiday bucket list. To explain, a “bareboat” is a live-aboard vessel you can hire for charter and skipper with no licence required.
After a safety briefing, anyone can give it a crack but if you have reservations about captaining your own boat, training is offered to get you up to speed with the electronics and gadgets. Or if you’re not keen or can’t rope anyone into being the designated navigator, you can hire a skipper for your escape.
The 35-foot deluxe catamaran I called home for the week was ah-mazing! Kinda like a lavishly furnished floating hotel with 360-degree ocean views. Everything is included, you just need to bring your own food and even that can be outsourced and delivered to the marina.
What I love about bareboating is that it’s a choose-your-own adventure. Map out an itinerary before you set sail or go with the flow and let your days organically unfold. Some 74 islands make up the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the hardest part of your holiday will be choosing which ones to anchor at. Every bareboat has a tender in tow so you can easily head ashore and explore.
It’d be criminal not to put the largest island, Whitehaven Island, on your to-do list and see for yourself why breathtaking Whitehaven Beach has been named one of the world’s Top 10 beaches. At the northern end of Whitehaven Beach is Hill Inlet. My red-hot tip is to make the trek to the lookout at Tongue Point for the best vantage point of the stunning, swirling sands of Hill Inlet – don’t forget your camera!
You can do as much or as little as you like when you’re holidaying bareboat style.
My days started by watching the sunrise from the bow of the boat and were filled with snorkeling sessions around the vibrant fringing reef, wetting a line to catch our lunch (in non-restricted fishing zones), reading and snoozing in the shade of the sails. Most days wrapped up with us sipping bubbly and eating seafood at sunset – a priceless experience. Bareboating is the perfect combo of adventure and relaxation and is an awesome tropical holiday option for families, a group of friends or lovebirds seeking romance. I hand-on-heart promise that you’ll create memories that will last a lifetime.
We booked our trip through the #GOBareboating which is made up of five Whitsunday bareboating charter companies. They’re offering a special holiday deal for haven readers in May and November 2017. Just mention haven magazine when you book through one of the companies listed on their website and they will share their different deals with you.
Words // Jess Skarratt