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The Top 10 Destinations For Sailing in Australia

The Top 10 Sailing Destinations in Australia. Photographed by Evan Smogor. Image via Unsplash.

Looking for the best places to sail in Australia? Now has never been a better time than to set sail on a new adventure.

For most Aussies, summer and autumn calls for the perfect season to spend time on the water.

Although we’re renowned for being the best destination for water activities, sailing in Australia is an experience like no other.

So whether you’re looking for a sailing holiday or simply just the top sailing destinations, these top 10 places to sail in Australia will have your weekends sorted!

When is the best time to sail in Australia?

Thanks to the balmy weather and the calming of tides, the best cruising and sailing season in Australia, more specifically southern Australia, is in January, February and March of every year.

The Best Places to Sail in New South Wales:

Port Jackson
Photographed by Daniel Buckle. Image via Unsplash.

Port Jackson

Port Jackson is found within the waters of Sydney Harbour, and where better to explore Sydney’s famed sights than from the harbour itself. These sailing trips venture around the harbour and are a spectacular experience for both tourists and locals alike. Thanks to the warm, blissful weather paired with beautiful scenery, Port Jackson makes for one of the top sailing experiences in Australia.


Lake Macquarie
Photographed by sunnypicsoz. Image via Shutterstock.

Lake Macquarie

Lake Macquarie is one of the top sailing destinations of New South Wales. Located just 150 kilometres north of Sydney, the lake connects with the Pacific Ocean on its east side. Lake Macquarie is pooled with sandy inlets and secluded bays perfect for sailing, swimming and snorkeling. Four times as big as Sydney Harbour and extremely quiet, Lake Macquarie is a perfect sailing destination in Australia.


Port Stephens
Photographed by IntoTheWorld. Image via Shutterstock.

Port Stephens

The sparkling blue bay of Port Stephens is a brilliant place to sail. Named “The Blue Water Paradise” for obvious reasons, the bay is located tw0-and-a-half hours north of Sydney. The bay has over 30 kilometres of clean, white, sandy beaches and is home to whales and dolphins. Sailing in Port Stephens is a brilliant experience, and a fantastic holiday destination this sailing season. There is a sailing experience for all tastes in Port Stephens, so be sure to make the trip and enjoy this marine experience.


The Best Places to Sail in Victoria:

Gippsland Lakes
Photographed by lkonya. Image via Shutterstock.

Gippsland Lakes

Under a four hour drive from Melbourne’s CBD or just over two hours from the heart of Gippsland lies one of Victoria’s largest and renowned network of Gippsland Lakes. Covering an area that stretches out to 354 kilometres, Gippsland Lakes is conveniently comprised of Lake Wellington, Lake King and Lake Victoria. Taking the title as one of the best places to sail in Victoria, sailing enthusiasts will feel anchored thanks to Gippsland Lakes’ circumference of marshes, lagoons and more.


The Best Places to Sail in Tasmania:

D'entrecasteaux Channel
Photographed by Steve Lovegrove. Image via Shutterstock.

D'entrecasteaux Channel

Located between mainland Tasmania and Bruny Island – a two hour sail from Hobart and home to miles of sheltered water – D’entrecasteaux Channel is our top pick of Australia’s top sailing destinations. The channel is filled to the brim with secluded beaches and there are often dolphin, whale and seal sightings in the area. On specific tours you can learn how to sail and immerse yourself in all things sailing as you take the helm. If you’re looking to experience sailing and take in the beautiful blue waters of Tasmania, be sure to visit the D’entrecasteaux Channel.


The Best Places to Sail in South Australia:

Kangaroo Island
Photographed by Scenic Dreams Photography.
Image via Shutterstock.

Kangaroo Island

Reachable by ferry, if you love to sail, then why not get the catamaran started and head off to one of South Australia’s favourite sailing destinations in Australia? Although it may be small in size, Kangaroo Island is mighty in all that it offers for cruising and sailing enthusiasts alike. With the island renowned for its protected nature reserves, on your next sailing adventure you and your crew could come up close and personal to native wildlife species and some of the most striking coastal rock formations.


The Best Places to Sail in Western Australia:

Rottnest Island
Photographed by Amanda Klamrowski. Image via Unsplash.

Rottnest Island

Located 19 kilometres off the coast of Fremantle, Rottnest Island is Western Australia’s very own island getaway. The island is Australia’s premier boating destination. You can catch a ferry to the island, but why not sail to the island in luxury instead? Sail to and around the island on a luxury catamaran and enjoy snorkeling, as well as plenty of other activities around the island. This is an incredible experience, so if you ever find yourself around Western Australia, be sure to put time aside to sail to Rottnest Island.


The Best Places to Sail in Queensland

Moreton Bay
Photographed by Guillaume Marques. Image via Unsplash.

Moreton Bay

Moreton Bay is a gorgeous sailing destination on Queensland’s southern coast near Brisbane. Found between mainland Australia, Moreton and Stradbroke Island, the area is the ideal destination for water activities and has become a hub for boating, diving and swimming enthusiasts. Making for one of the best sailing holidays in Australia, here you’ll be able to stop at a variety of destinations including both islands and the Tangalooma Wrecks.


The Whitsundays
Photographed by Mark Nugent. Image via Unsplash.

The Whitsundays

Meet the gorgeous Whitsundays, one of Australia’s classic summer holiday destinations. The islands around The Great Barrier Reef in Queensland are the perfect holiday destination, and you’re bound to have heard someone rave about how great Hamilton Island is! One of the best ways to explore this gorgeous part of Australia is on a boat, and sailing trips are a hugely popular attraction. There’s an array of sailing options to choose from: whether you want just a day on the water, or to stay several nights on a boat, there is surely a sailing holiday for you.


Great Sandy Strait
Photographed by SF photo. Image via Shutterstock.

Great Sandy Strait

The Great Sandy Strait, located in between the Sunshine Coast and Bundaberg – between the mainland and Fraser Island – is a gorgeous and picturesque area, perfect for sailing. The water is incredibly clear, much like the Whitsundays, and makes for one of the most perfect places to get out on a yacht and relax for the day. The marine wildlife you can potentially come across in the Great Sandy Strait include whales, dugongs, dolphins and turtles, hence why the Strait is described as a marine sanctuary.


Love exploring the outdoors? Then get ready to dive into the 12 best snorkelling spots around Australia. And for some island-hopping inspiration, be sure to add these 10 beautiful islands around Australia to your 2021 bucket list.

We acknowledge the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

Feature image: Photographed by Evan Smogor. Image via Unsplash.
This article was first published on November 8 2018. It was updated and edited by Hunter and Bligh on February 18 2021.
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