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With the wind in your hair and the salt on your skin, there’s nothing quite like sailing through the Whitsundays to make you feel like a pirate. The Whitsunday Classic Overnight Sailing Adventure from Airlie Beach YHA takes you to amazing reefs and white-sand beaches – and the boats are BYO, so you can have a swig of rum on the deck like Blackbeard and his buddies used to.
Pirates wouldn’t have peg legs without sharks, and the best place to come face-to-face with the fearsome predators is in Port Lincoln. Stare Jaws and co. in the face with YHA’s great-value Shark Cage Dive Special (and don’t worry, there’s no walking the plank here!).
Discover the iconic SS Maheno shipwreck on this escape to Queensland’s iconic Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island. This three-day 4WD adventure tour from Hervey Bay YHA takes in the island’s stunning lakes, rainforests and beaches, including the rusted skeleton of this WWI hospital ship that washed up on Seventy-Five Mile Beach during a cyclone in 1935.
Australia’s only recorded pirate, Black Jack Anderson, plundered vessels travelling through the treacherous Recherche Archipelago just off Esperance in south-west WA – and located just 20m from the sea front, Esperance YHA boasts panoramic views of the waves where old Jack wreaked havoc in the 1830s until he was killed by his mutinous crew. Argh, mateys!
Yeah, we know, the First Fleet weren’t exactly pirates but in keeping with the nautical theme, why not check out 1770 – the site of Captain Cook’s first landing in Queensland in the year (you guessed it) 1770. The town is the last surf beach before you head north to the Great Barrier Reef and a must-see stop on popular Brisbane-to-Cairns road trip for adventure-seekers wanting to surf, snorkel and stand-up paddleboard. 1770 YHA even boasts a private boardwalk so you can roll out of bed straight to the beach.