From Mackay we have a wonderful, relaxed cruise up to Airlie Beach and to the popular tourist destination of the Whitsunday Islands. The archipelago which has been mostly designated as national parks, is full of spectacular scenery with its warm turquoise waters, local wildlife and hiking trails.
We will then spend time out on the Great Barrier Reef diving and snorkelling and fully exploring this marine UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is home to one of richest ecosystems on the planet. There is a whole world to discover under the sea with thousands of different types of flora and fauna, including over a 1000 species of different fish and 400 categories of coral.
We then sail inside the shelter of the Barrier Reef as we explore Queensland’s coast and round to Darwin to meet up with the rest of the fleet, with a few stops along the way.
We will have a few days to explore the unique city of Darwin, which is home to over 50 different cultures. This multicultural landscape provides an opportunity to experience their unique Asian-style markets, local Aboriginal artwork, innovative museums and an exotic mix of culinary styles, music and language. Darwin also provides easy access to well-known wilderness sites and towns such as Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kakadu National Park and Alice Springs.
We then cross over to Lombok, our final port on this leg, a 945nm sail away from Darwin.
Lombok was previously called the sister island to the nearby, world-famous island of Bali, but its pristine unspoiled nature has made it rise in popularity. In Lombok, you can experience the beautiful beaches with some top surf breaks or swim in the deep pools of the many waterfalls. There is also some of the best snorkelling and diving opportunities in Indonesia and it is also the home of the famous Mount Rinjani, where you can hike to the summit of the active volcano.
Situated in Queensland on Australia’s East coast the Mackay region of Australia has much to offer the visitor; secluded islands with golden sand beaches and the Great Barrier Reef await offshore. Mackay itself is surrounded by lush Sub-tropical rainforests and the fertile Pioneer Valley. The historic town of Mackay itself is well worth exploring with excellent restaurants, beautiful parks magnificent 1920s Art Deco buildings, and a vibrant arts scene, Mackay has something for everyone.
Airlie Beach is the ideal mainland location for exploring the Whitsundays with its tropical atmosphere, water sports, rainforests, boutiques and cafes and shops of the main street. Explore the Saturday morning markets which offer a range of local arts and crafts as well as fresh fruit and vegetables. As night draws in experience alfresco dining in one of the many restaurants serving fresh locally caught seafood, or handmade tapas made from the finest, freshest local ingredients.
The Whitsundays Islands are a chain of some 74 islands lying between the northeast coast of Queensland, Australia, and the Great Barrier Reef, teeming with marine life. Mostly uninhabited the islands are popular with hikers exploring the lush dense rainforest. For the less adventurous or those wishing to relax white sandy beaches await.
The capital of Australia’s Northern Territory and gateway to the massive Kakadu National Park. Darwin with its laid-back attitude has a popular and thriving waterfront area with several beaches and green areas like Bicentennial Park. Darwin has a vibrant aboriginal art scene that fills the cities art galleries and museum; The cities Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, displaying Southeast Asian and Pacific art, is one of the cities highlights and a must see. Water sports enthusiasts need not fear diving, snorkelling, surfing, and white-water rafting are all on your doorstep.
Experience some of the finest snorkelling and diving amongst dazzling coral reefs, swim alongside sea turtles, bumphead, parrotfish, rays and reef sharks in the waters surrounding Lombok and the Lesser Sunda Islands of Indonesia. Alternatively surf amongst Lombok’s many bays or enjoy the islands stunningly spectacular scenery.