Travel with children can be complicated at best. Adding the variable of being out at sea makes things a little more interesting. Monique and Nick recently took their five month old baby on a sailing trip to the Whitsundays. Here’s how it went.

My husband Nick and I work full time but are expert ‘life filler-uppers’. We’ve spent the last 11 years together filling life to the brim with travel, nature, and adventure in every little bit of spare time we get. We’ve been capturing these adventures on YouTube and Instagram for some time now as ‘Vinceventuring’. In February 2023, our little boy Owen joined our family and we’ve been loving travelling together as a family ever since.


Naps trump photo ops every time


The day our son turned five-months-old we decided to tick off his first plane flight AND his first boat trip… well, two boat trips actually. We’re fortunate enough to have family living on a catamaran at Airlie Beach who haved begged us to spend some time with them sailing the Whitsundays. Nick took no convincing at all, but me….. I was a little slower to get on board (excuse the pun). So many ‘what ifs’ were going through my head. Somewhat last minute, we booked flights, packed our bags, and headed north for a big family adventure.

Work commitments meant we were only able to go for four days, I know what you’re thinking, that’s enough time to see anything at all, but you’ll be very surprised to hear how much we managed to fit in! 

Read more: Parental Leave Gap Year – Getting Paid to Travel With Your Baby

The Flight

Bonza Airlines recently launched a flight direct from Newcastle to the Whitsundays from only $79 per adult and infants under two fly free. We only took carry-on luggage which meant we were able to move through the airport quickly. Bonza allows a pretty generous luggage allocation for infants and also has checked baggage options available if needed. My top tip for the airport is to take a baby carrier, it helps bub stay settled and gives you spare hands. Try to make sure the baby doesn’t fall asleep in the carrier before security as they make you remove them from it as you pass through.

‘Fluke’ is the word I’d use to describe Owen’s first flight. As we were taxiing, he fell fast asleep and stayed asleep until we landed in the Whitsundays. How we managed to land with a happy well-rested baby I’m not sure, but it’s safe to say we were thankful. I’d prepared myself to feed him or give him his dummy for the pressure in his ears but honestly, I don’t think he noticed we’d even left the ground.

The flight was only around two hours long, so we weren’t too worried about keeping him entertained, but we had some small toys packed if we needed them. Once we arrived, we hopped on our transfer bus where I was able to lap hold Owen on our way to the Whitsundays Sailing Club to meet our family on the tender dock.

Water Safety

One of the things that made me apprehensive to go on the boat was water safety with such a small baby. We purchased Owen a life jacket and we used this every time we went to and from the boat in the tender. Getting on and off boats can be awkward and slippery, in my opinion, an infant life jacket is a must for this. It really helped us feel more relaxed when we were transferring him between vessels.


On the boat Owen and I shared a room, I used a small infant positioner / co-sleeper to ensure he wouldn’t slip down the bed or under blankets as there was no room for a cot on board. The rocking of the boat meant Owen had the three best sleeps of his life (and I had my three best sleeps since he was born). I know co-sleeping isn’t for everyone so make sure you consider what you’ll do for sleeping arrangements before you head out on a sailing adventure with a little one.


Sun Safety

Sun safety was another challenge that was easily overcome onboard. Being out on the boat, you’re dealing with a lot of sun exposure and reflection off the water. We used Bonds Wondercool onesies to keep him cool and covered, pre-patch tested infant SPF to take along with us, had a legionnaires hat for him, and some baby sunglasses (which are adorable as well as practical).

This meant he was well sun-protected the entire trip. We spend a lot of time outside as a family so Owen is very used to wearing a hat and sunglasses. It’s a good idea to get baby used to wearing these things as early as possible so keeping them on isn’t an issue.

What if?

The question that got asked a lot when we said we were heading out sailing with such a little baby was, ‘What if something goes wrong?’. Well, there’s always the chance of that. As far as medical emergencies, the boat was well stocked with essential medical supplies, I packed a thermometer and baby paracetamol and I’m a Registered Nurse so I feel well equipped to deal with any minor issues out on the water.

We had the luxury of Starlink, meaning we were easily contactable the whole time we were away and the boat itself also had all the necessary emergency equipment such as life jackets, flares, and an EPIRB, so we felt safe and sound while we were on board.

Read more: A Parent’s Guide to Babypacking, AKA Bikepacking With a Baby

Rough Seas

Because we wanted to cram a whole lot of nautical miles into a short time, we had to deal with some very rough sailing, which surprisingly, Owen actually seemed to enjoy. Rather than becoming sea sick, the rocking made him very calm and sleepy. While we were sailing and it was rough, we liked to hold him and stay inside the cabin to make sure he had ample neck support and wasn’t at risk of falling, which worked really well for us. Using a baby carrier on a boat can be unsafe in rough weather as it can alter your centre of gravity, making you more likely to fall so we avoided doing this.

Having Fun

It goes without saying that one of the benefits of travelling with family is babysitting. I was able to feed Owen then leave for an hour or so to snorkel the incredible coral reefs of the Whitsundays. The highlights were swimming with a huge Māori wrasse named George at Mantaray Bay and a very friendly sea turtle at Butterfly Bay.


Gimme some fin, noggin, duuuude


It was the first time we’d ever left our baby with anyone so it was such a novelty for Nick and I to be able to snorkel together. We popped Owen in for his first dip in the ocean at Whitehaven Beach but it’s safe to say, he didn’t appreciate the experience, he was happier staying warm and dry on the boat instead.

Top tip: Remember to bring reef safe sunscreen!


To our surprise, there are actually some beautiful hikes in the Whitsundays and we even took Owen with us in his carrier on some short tracks. We hiked Spion Kop Track on the very quiet South Molle Island which featured panoramic views and a sea of grass trees. On Whitsunday Island we walked the Hill Inlet Lookout Track, Whitehaven Beach Track, and Whitehaven Headland Track. I’ve never seen more crystal clear, turquoise water anywhere in my life.

It’s best to get here early because this beach and its walking tracks are far from hidden gems, it gets VERY busy. If you get the chance, try to experience the Whitsundays from land and sea, it really gives a unique perspective of the area.


Ahhhh, feel the serenity

Our Takeaway

Our takeaway from this trip is that things are always harder and scarier in your head than they are in real life. Allow having a baby to motivate you to experience more wonderful things as opposed to missing out. This was an incredible and jam-packed family adventure and these memories will last a lifetime. Next time a wonderful opportunity for adventure comes our way, we won’t hesitate to say YES!

Read more: 4 Things Learnt on our First Road Trip With Our Baby


George the Maori Wrasse

Our Itinerary

Day 1:

  • Drive from home to Newcastle Airport
  • Fly from Newcastle to Whitsunday Coast Airport
  • Bus transfer from Whitsunday Coast Airport to Whitsundays Sailing Club
  • Sail from Airlie Beach to South Molle Island
  • Hike Spion Kop Track
  • Sail to Tongue Bay

Day 2:

  • Sail to south end Whitehaven Beach
  • Hike Hill Inlet Lookout Track, Whitehaven Beach Track and Whitehaven Headland Track
  • Swim Whitehaven Beach
  • Sail to Mantaray Bay

Day 3:

  • Snorkel Mantaray Bay
  • Sail to Butterfly Bay
  • Snorkel Butterfly Bay
  • Sail to Airlie Beach

Day 4:

  • Walk Airlie Beach
  • Bus Transfer from Whitsundays Sailing Club to Whitsunday Coast Airport
  • Fly Whitsunday Coast Airport to Newcastle Airport
  • Drive from Newcastle Airport to Home


Clearly missed our calling as route artists…add some legs and you’ve got a bin chicken!

If you’re interested in following along with our family adventures or have any questions, please do reach out to us at or through our YouTube and Instagram