Sailing the Whitsundays in Australia is an experience I shall never ever forget. Engraved in my mind, memories that will last forever and friends made that will last a lifetime. The Whitsundays is probably the most famous, popular and incredible experience to have in Australia. Though heavily populated with tourists and locals alike, this is one adventure that you have to embark upon. Sailing through crystal clear aqua waters, swimming with turtles and manta rays, star gazing and sunbathing on the worlds second best beach. A Whitsundays sailing tour is like nothing else in this world. With such high demand and so many sailing tours available here’s my review on the New Horizon Whitsundays Sailing Tour ran by adventure tour company True Blue Sailing.
First up this is not a sponsored post or a gifted tour we just had a great time and I felt this trip deserved a place on my blog!
Why Sail the Whitsundays?
Before getting into the review of the New Horizon Whitsundays Sailing Experience. Why exactly should sailing the Whitsundays be on everyone’s Australian bucket list? I travelled around Australia for a year from June 2018 and I had some unreal experiences whilst covering an enormous amount of ground. From Cairns to Sydney, Canberra to Melbourne I’ve experienced a lot that Australia has to offer. The Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island, The Great Ocean Road, I’ve seen it all but nothing has come close to Sailing the Whitsundays. Of all the experiences Dave and I have thrown ourselves into here on the land down under, The Whitsundays will always remain the highlight (even for someone who gets seasick)!
Sailing around The 74 Islands around the Whitsunday’s boasts a magical experience. Whitehaven beach is undoubtedly the highlight. Voted the second-best beach in the world. Walk on the purest white sand in the world and swim amongst manta rays and yellow sharks. There is no other beach in the world like it and yes, it looks just like the photographs! As well as Whitehaven visiting some of the reefs that get less traffic than The Great Barrier Reef was a surreal adventure. The reef glistens in the Whitsundays filled with colourful sea life and lucky for us, one big sea turtle! The Whitsundays offers experiences like nowhere else in Australia.
New Horizon Whitsundays Review
The Cost of Sailing the Whitsundays
Let’s get it out of the way! The only problem that some travellers run into when looking at sailing the Whitsundays is the cost. Basically, it isn’t cheap. The New Horizon Whitsundays 2 night and 3-day adventure that cost just under $500 per person or 250 GBP. That said, it was a million per cent worth it! The cost comes with everything included!
Accommodation on the boat, 3 meals a day and snacks whilst onboard and all swimming/diving/snorkelling equipment. The only thing that it doesn’t include is alcohol which isn’t sold on board but you can bring your own. When planning a trip to Australia I urge to make sure you’ve got a little extra saved to enjoy all that the Whitsundays has to offer! Of course, you can take day trips to Whitehaven beach which are a little cheaper but honestly, an overnight adventure is the best way to explore the Whitsundays!
About True Blue Sailing
The New Horizon Whitsundays Sailing boat is hosted by True Blue Sailing. True Blue Sailing is an adventure tour company running only in the Whitsundays. So basically, they know everything and anything there is to know about The Whitsundays and Whitehaven beach. True Blue Sailing have two boats out on the water, The Atlantic Clipper and New Horizon. Both boats are seen as the most desirable on The Whitsundays especially by backpackers. Whilst both adventures offer a similar itinerary they definitely unique and different. In Airlie Beach (the gateway to the Whitsundays) the Atlantic Clipper is known as the ‘party boat’. Occupying up to 60 guests, a 12 person hot tub and party games that go well into the night, rumour has it if you’re looking for a party the Atlantic Clipper is the place to be!
We found ourselves in the middle. We definitely weren’t looking for a party but we still wanted to have fun and a good time with fellow adventure seekers! After researching for a long time in the end the New Horizon boat seemed like a great option, which it was! The Boat managed to exceed all of our expectations. As a company, I couldn’t recommend True Blue Sailing enough. Our crew on board did everything to make sure we had an epic time, cooked glorious food and kept us all in check! We felt safe and in very good hands during our time on the boat. The skipper and crew were extremely knowledgeable about the Whitsundays answering any questions we had as a group about the area. If we were to visit the Whitsundays again, I would definitely go on the New Horizon Whitsundays Sailing Tour again!
New Horizon Whitsundays – The Boat!
The most exciting part about the New Horizon Whitsundays tour (other than Whitehaven Beach) is the boat! Never did I imagine myself sailing the ocean on an old-style wooden sailboat! The boat fits 32 people comfortably on board with plenty of room inside and out! Inside the boat is a kitchen, dining area and bedrooms downstairs. The bedrooms are laid out like dorm style complete with bunk beds – even double bunk beds for the couples on board which was great. The facilities were clean with two toilets and showers, obviously, time in the shower is limited to a couple of minutes so everyone gets some hot water. Plus you’ll be in the ocean all day so who needs a shower anyhow? Call me gross but I don’t care!
The only downside to being on a wooden boat is that bags with ZIPS are not allowed. Weird I know but apparently, bed bugs hide in the zippers on wooden so no bags with zips will be allowed! Unfortunately, we didn’t know this information until we arrived at Airlie Beach so we ended up coming abroad with a couple of bags from Woolworths! But guess what, we were not the only ones! People came with duvet covers for bags, bin bags, cardboard boxes and all sorts of other weird and wonderful things! But this may be something to be mindful of before you book or get to Airlie Beach buy a couple of bags without zippers.
Hands down the BEST THING, well things about the New Horizon Boat is the slide and diving board! The huge inflatable slide goes off the top of the boat into the ocean and boy is it fun! We spent our final morning throwing ourselves down the slide, honestly the best fun I have had in years! The diving board with pretty fun too I certainly did more jumping in rather than diving elegantly. BUT, was the first to jump off so I think I get a point for bravery?
New Horizon Whitsundays Tour – Meals
All meals come with the price of the tour. The meals given out to guests onboard included three meals a day, morning and afternoon snacks. It’s bring your own alcohol on board the ship and you can purchase cans of pop on board which you pay for after the tour has finished.
Now, I’m a big eater. I’m hungry most of the time and I’m that kind of person who is thinking what’s for lunch no sooner than the second I’ve finished breakfast. So when I say we were fed well, we were fed well! I’ll admit when I book these kinds of trips I’m the person worrying if we’ll be fed enough and I’ve always got extra snacks hidden away in my bag – you can never be too careful!
That said, I am thrilled to say that I really didn’t need any of those hidden snacks! There was plenty of food and it cooked beautifully! Breakfast consisted of cereals, toast, yoghurt and a variety of fruits. Lunches involved sandwiches, wraps, crisps, dips, cold meats and pasta salads. Dinners in the evening were also great, fish and mash one night and Spaghetti Bolognese the second! Snacks during the day varied from fruit to hot dogs and of course, you are welcome to bring extra food if you feel like you might need it! I like to pretend the extra snacks we bring is because Dave’s a type 1 diabetic but it’s really for me!
The team at True Blue Sailing do cater for dietary requirements just let them know in advance.
New Horizon Whitsundays Adventure – Itinerary
Day One – Sailing
Sailing the Whitsundays from Day One was a surreal experience that I will never forget. As the ship leaves the harbour at approximately 2:15-30 join the crew for a short but very important safety talk before heading out into the ocean. During our first day at sea, we were very lucky. We managed to bag ourselves an extra snorkelling experience to what was in the Itinerary. I’m not sure if that’s because we were an easy group who signed onto the boat quickly with no messing around but it was awesome! After about an hour of sailing, we were in the water snorkelling amongst some amazing sea-life including a turtle – a life well and truly MADE! I know this doesn’t happen for every tour so turn up with your biggest smile and do everything the crew say and you might just get this treat too!
After some awesome snorkelling or sailing at sea, we dropped anchor for the night and witnessed the day fade into the night. The sunset from the New Horizon boat onto the ocean was the most incredible sunset I have ever seen. Without a single cloud in the sky, we looked on as the sky turned from a peaceful blue to a gorgeous flaming orange before settling down for the night. A few drinks began flowing and friends started to be made. The New Horizon boat is limited to play music but if you ask nicely the crew are happy to turn off the music and lights down early for some incredible stargazing. The ocean has zero light pollution and the view of the stars was just awe-inspiring.
Day Two – Whitehaven Beach
To Date one of the single best days of my life. What’s a trip to the Whitsunday’s without visiting the famous Whitehaven beach? Nothing, a trip to the Whitsundays would be nothing without visiting Whitehaven. So if you don’t have the time or the budget for an overnight sailing trip on the Whitsundays just make sure the day trip you take goes to Whitehaven beach!
Whitehaven beach has been voted the second-best beach in the world according to Flight Network in 2018. In my opinion, it should be the first but I’ve never been too Shipwreck Beach in Zakynthos, Greece which has voted the first! It’s certainly one of, if not, the best beach in Australia! Whitehaven Beach is a heavenly oasis that has its visitors speechless as they look on down at captivating swirls and aqua blue waters. Hike up to Hill Inlet first for a view that will take your breath away. After you’ve captured those amazing photographs that you’ll be able to look back for years to come, the crew take you down onto the beach itself for more fun!
There are so many reasons that Whitehaven Beach is so famous. Alongside its natural tranquillity and beauty, it’s also famous for its sand. The sand found on Whitehaven Beach is the purest sand in the world made up of 99% Silica! If you’re not sure what means then glass has 100% silica!
If you have any jewellery that needs shining up then take it down to the beach with you! Although, the crew did tell us a few stories where couples have ended up in a few fights because of ‘rusting’ jewellery in the sand, aka not real silver/gold! All jokes aside, the sand on Whitehaven Beach is mind-blowing. Because of how dense it is it retains zero heat making it cool all year round, it felt so so amazing to walk along a beach, with zero shelters, and feel cool sand between our toes! Even though the beach gets millions of visitors each year it still appears untouched. You’ll find no litter, broken trees or debris on this beach!
Whitehaven Beach Natives
As if the swirls of Whitehaven beach weren’t enough you’ll even get to swim with locals. You’ll find manta rays and yellow sharks in the water at Whitehaven Beach. But no need to worry because the rays don’t have their barbs so they can’t sting you! I can’t express how amazing it was to swim alongside these creatures!
The time we spent at Whitehaven Beach made the whole trip on New Horizon 100% worth it, the rest of fun was just an amazing bonus. After making our way back to the vessel we even had enough time for another snorkel/diving session. I urge you to get in the water on the Whitsundays if you can because the reef is glorious. As I mentioned above the reefs around the 74 islands that make the Whitsundays doesn’t get as much traffic as The Great Barrier Reef up in Cairns. Therefore the reef is a lot more alive and just glistens under the surface, truly magical.
Day Three – Water Sports
After an early wake-up call, yes I forgot to mention the crew will wake you up daily at 06:30 am! It’s time for some thrilling water-sports! The inflatable slide is blown up, the diving board out and plenty of paddleboards for everyone to enjoy. As well we these awesome activities there is an opportunity to go on a JetBoat riding or on Banana boat (at an extra cost) of course we went banana boating which was immense fun! Dave had never been on a banana boat before so it was a whole new experience for him! I must admit, from someone whose been on a few banana boats this ride was particularly rough! We spent a lot more time in the water than on the boat! It definitely knocked the goon hangover out of me that’s certain.
After a few hours enjoying the freedom of the sailboat life and fun on the ocean surface, it was sadly time to depart and head back to Airlie Beach. What was awesome about our particular group was how well everyone got along. There were a few groups that mingled really well and we were all up for the After-Party that the crew put on at Airlie Beach afterwards with plenty of discounted drinks and food! It’s safe to say that these few days will hold a special place in my heart forever. I’m yet to be as amazed as I was sailing the Whitsunday Island’s and I hope that this won’t be my only visit.
New Horizon Whitsundays Sailing Tour – Age Range
I’m not 100% sure if there’s an age range on the tours run by True Blue Sailing but I will say that the New Horizon and Atlantic Clipper boats are known as ‘party boats’ on the Whitsundays. Especially the clipper, even I wouldn’t go on that boat and I enjoy a good party! The clipper hosts drinking and party games well into the night and I dread to think what may go on in that 12 person spa! When I was 18 it would’ve been right up my street but at 24 New Horizon was definitely better suited to us!
As a couple onboard, it was nice to be surrounded by about 5 other couples as well as people who enjoyed to socialise and have a drink whilst listening to some music. We honestly had a great laugh but I wouldn’t describe New Horizon as a party boat. There’s no scheduled game for anything like that and people are free to go to bed as early or late as they like. I’d say the average ages onboard New Horizon during our trip were 18-35.
Tips Before You Go on the New Horizon Whitsundays Sailboat
No Zipper bags allowed on board
Bring your own alcohol – don’t forget!
Goon needs to be out of the box to make more spec in the onboard cooler
Clearly label your alcohol or someone will steal it
Expect to have to wear a stinger suit (wet suit) at all times in the water or you simply aren’t allowed in.
There are no limitations to drinking alcohol on the boat but once you have your first drink you’re not allowed in the sea again! Safety first guys.
Don’t forget the seasickness tablets – the back of the boat is where it moves the less (don’t ask how I know that 😉
& of course, don’t forget to take your smile along with you! The crew from True Blue Sailing make it their priority to make sure you have a good time. We couldn’t have asked for a better experience on board the New Horizon Sailing Boat and I would definitely hop onboard again!
For more information or to book this adventure head over to the True Blue Sailing Website – you won’t regret it!
Happy and Healthy Travels
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