Australia has long been popular with Americans. It’s continuing to grow in popularity among the megayacht set, no matter the nationality. That’s among the reasons why the Superyacht Explorer digital book was created, by a team of yachting agents in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Since “Superyacht Explorer” covers multiple nations, the publishers have provided us with this excerpt on Australia. Plus, as an exclusive to Megayacht News, there are additional tips for an itinerary courtesy of Carrie Carter of Carter Marine Agencies, who contributed to the guide.
Beautiful scenery, wildlife, great weather, and a laid-back lifestyle are the hallmarks of Australia’s coastlines, while the interior burns with the fierce intensity of millennia-old landscapes and one of the oldest cultures on earth. And as for the other things that call Australia home—kangaroos, koalas, crocodiles, platypus, and some of the deadliest snakes—don’t let that deter you, most of them can’t swim.
Australia has six states and one territory, and each brings a flavor worth exploring. With more than 25,000 km of coastline, there is so much on offer for visitors. Australia’s iconic destinations, both man-made and natural, include the Great Barrier Reef, Red Centre, Great Ocean Road, Kakadu, the Kimberley, Kangaroo Island, Byron Bay, the Tasmanian wilderness, Flinders Ranges, Fraser Island, and the Blue Mountains. Many of them are accessible to the cruising yacht, or just a short hop inland.
“Down Under” and “Aussie larrikin” are synonymous with Australia, and that’s not a bad thing. Australia has a strong culture all of its own. You’ll find people informal, open and willing to lend a hand, or welcome you into their world. Australia today has been forged by the peoples of many cultures united in the search for a better life, and this has made the country one where informality reigns and a strong appreciation of the good things in life stands supreme—enjoying life, close friends and family, good food and wine, and beautiful scenery.
Australian Aboriginal people have a rich culture stretching back at least 50,000 years with an intuitive understanding of the land, and deeply spiritual approach which can be seen in the rock art remaining and in contemporary Aboriginal art. Discover places steeped in Aboriginal history in the Northern Territory. Visit Australia’s Red Centre and walk around the base of Uluru with a guide. Browse Aboriginal art in Alice Springs, where the Arrernte people have lived for 20,000 years, or learn about Dreamtime myths in the intricate rock art galleries of World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park.
Visitors to Australia will be spoilt for choice. Moor up in the heart of New South Wales’ Sydney for some of Australia’s most famous icons, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge (above) and Opera House, Taronga Zoo, Bondi Beach, Darling Harbour, and Luna Park. Cruising in the inner harbor is truly spectacular, as is tying up under the iconic bridge, and from there it’s a short drive to the majestic Blue Mountains.
In Queensland, the capital Brisbane has good superyacht facilities and is the gateway to the sun, sand, and surf on the Gold Coast and the quieter though no less beautiful Sunshine Coast.
In the north the rainforest meets the reef at the Daintree Rainforest. The Great Barrier Reef is one of the Seven Wonders. Cairns Marlin Marina, which is on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, is a world-class facility offering custom-designed berths as well as acting as a gateway to the spectacular Reef—without doubt, a bucket-list destination. Superyachts have visited Cairns for more than 17 years, and the marina is located in the heart of the city, walking distance to the casino, restaurants, bars, and cafes. Cruise around the Whitsundays and claim one of the 74 islands for yourself. In particular, don’t miss Whitehaven Beach, one of the world’s best beaches. For those heading inland, Daintree Rainforest in Far North Queensland is more than 135 million years old and is the oldest rainforest in the world.
Don’t miss multi-cultural Melbourne, where you’ll tie up in Docklands, in the heart of the city. Melbourne leads the pack in Australian cuisine and beautifully demonstrates the country’s approach to food: incredible quality and freshness, beautifully prepared in innovative surroundings, without pomp or standing on ceremony.
Carrie Carter, director of Carter Marine Agencies, has a few tips:
Depart Cairns and cruise north to the beautiful Low Isles Reef. It’s home to not only spectacular coral gardens and colorful marine life, but an absolute plethora of spectacular migratory birds such as mangrove kingfishers, sea eagles, and ospreys.
Michaelmas and Upolu cays are small, low, sand cays and a declared National Park of Queensland. Surrounded by clear turquoise water and a healthy reef, they offer some excellent snorkeling in the lagoon. The “Wonder Wall” dive site is teeming with sea life, especially many different “nemo” species of reef fish.
Cruise along the inside of the Great Barrier Reef (above), arriving at the Ribbon Reefs. They form along the edge of the continental shelf in the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef, extending through to the eastern Torres Strait area. The underwater photo opportunities are endless.
Days Four & Five
Lizard Island offers an exclusive resort for relaxation and pampering. There are over 24 beaches to explore, and the marlin fishing is fantastic for the gamefisherman. Stay at the resort for two nights and enjoy the a fabulous dinner in Ospreys Restaurant. If you prefer something a little more intimate, the Beachside Degustation Menu is offered at two island beach locations.
Cooktown, named after its founder Captain James Cook in 1770, offers a big history lesson about northeast Australia. Local indigenous guides can provide you with a personal bushland tour of aboriginal rock art and fantastic Dreamtime stories of the region.
Swim off the shores of Mackay and Undine reefs, which form part of the outer barrier reef and are just off the Daintree Coast near Cape Tribulation. Beautiful coral reefs are easily accessed from the beach, excellent snorkeling opportunities. After a wonderful time on the Great Barrier Reef, finish at the picturesque town of Port Douglas for some delicious meals at any of the many street restaurants. Not only is the food good, but there’s some great shopping to boot.