A Family’s Whitsundays Adventure with Portland Roads

From Snorkeling Adventures to Nostalgic Reunions

Last year, Rowan McMahon from TMG Yachts, spent a week with his family exploring the stunning Whitsundays onboard Portland Roads – Sailing the Whitsunday’s newest vessel, the Lagoon 42 “Lawless”. 

With his wife Kylie and their 8-year-old son Spencer by his side, the McMahons set sail, immersing themselves in life at sea aboard their temporary floating home. Spending a week onboard the Lagoon 42 allowed the family to experience a slice of liveaboard cruising as well as the comforts and experiences granted to you through Lagoon Catamaran ownership. This blog shares some of the standout locations to add to your travel list for your next Whitsundays trip.

Written by Rowan McMahon

Day 1-2

Coral Sea Marina

As we stepped aboard the stunning vessel at Coral Sea Marina, my wife Kylie, our son Spencer, and I eagerly anticipated the adventures that awaited us. With every charter, a briefing is essential, but my experience with Lagoons and years spent cruising in the Whitsundays made the process swift, allowing us to settle into our new home for the week without delay.

We lucked out with the weather for our charter and the Lagoon Escapade, enjoying a perfect week with light winds of 0-10 knots. We only had to hoist the sails once, which was just fine by us!

Cape Gloucester Resort

Our journey began with a fantastic start at Cape Gloucester Resort for the annual Lagoon Escapade. We were delighted to join Lagoon owners for a memorable gathering filled with laughter, captivating stories, pirate-themed games, delectable cuisine, and refreshing beverages.

Lagoon 42
Lagoon Whitsundays Escapade Yachts TMG AUSTRALIA

Day 3

After a few days at Cape Gloucester, we bid farewell to our fellow Goonies and set our course eastward towards the islands.

Manta Ray Bay

Our first stop at Manta Ray Bay treated Spencer and Kylie to a mesmerizing snorkelling experience, where they encountered a myriad of marine life, including the curious Maori Wrasse and Giant Trevally.

We also saw many whales in late August, with mothers and babies breaching. It was unforgettable!

Hill Inlet

After drying off, we left the mooring and sailed south to Hill Inlet to visit the famous lookout. It’s best to go when the tide is high, but we arrived when it was low. Luckily, we had the beach and lookout all to ourselves, which was peaceful. The National Parks have done a great job with the walking track, observation decks, and even toilets at the peak.

Descending back to the beach, we couldn’t help but feel a sense of adventure reminiscent of a Hollywood film. While Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson may have searched for treasure on these shores in “Fool’s Gold,” we found our treasure in the form of cherished family moments, guided by the majestic vessel “Lawless.”

Chance Bay

As night fell, we anchored in Chance Bay, seeking shelter and tranquillity. Under a blanket of stars and the glow of a full moon, we gathered for a memorable barbecue. Spencer, eager to try his hand at fishing, cast his line off the back of the boat. Though he didn’t reel in any keepers, the thrill of simply trying filled him with joy and excitement.

As we retired to bed, lulled by the gentle lapping of the waves, we reflected on the beauty of the day and the boundless wonders of the Whitsundays. It was moments like these that reminded us of the sheer privilege of experiencing nature’s splendor in all its glory.

Lagoon 42

Day 4

The next day, after a filling breakfast, we hopped into the tender to explore the beaches and cruise around the cliffs, hoping to spot some marine life. Chance Bay greeted us with its long, flat beach, perfect for high tide sightings. We were treated to the sight of dozens of Sting Rays gliding in the shallows and even spotted a few baby reef sharks prowling near the mangroves that lined the shore.

Hamilton Island

Heading towards Hamilton Island, we found ourselves drawn to Catseye, the resort beach. Kylie and I couldn’t help but feel a wave of nostalgia for this place we once called home for five years. Although Spencer, only two when we left, didn’t have any memories of our time there, returning almost seven years later felt like a heartwarming reunion, especially reconnecting with old friends. For those arriving by water, the marina team offered a warm welcome, guiding us to our berth and helping secure our boat.

Walking along Front Street, we were delighted by the array of take-away joints, clothing stores, and restaurants, not to mention the newly stocked IGA store, which was a game-changer. Renting a golf cart is a must on Hamilton Island, given its steep roads. Despite its small size, the island offers hours of exploration, and having a golf cart only adds to the fun and convenience.

We made the most of our time, catching up with friends over dinner, reliving old memories in the resort pools (including recreating a photo from Spencer’s toddler years), visiting the wildlife sanctuary, and doing some shopping at the IGA for provisions and souvenirs. Although we had planned to hike up to Passage Peak, time slipped away from us.


Lagoon 42

Day 5

Nara Inlet

As our journey in the Whitsundays entered its final stretch, we set off at lunchtime for Nara Inlet, our destination for the night. Excitement filled the air as we anticipated the adventures that awaited us, including a special exploration into the region’s rich Indigenous history.

Spencer’s interest in Indigenous studies sparked my desire to show him the ancient rock art left behind by the Ngaro people, who once called this area home. Anchoring our vessel, we ventured ashore, trekking through the lush vegetation to uncover the hidden cave adorned with Ngaro rock art.

Though the paintings may not rival the works of Picasso, they hold a profound significance as one of the oldest Indigenous sites on Australia’s east coast. As we stood in awe of these ancient treasures, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of reverence for the rich cultural heritage of this land.

Sharing this experience with Spencer was truly special, offering him a glimpse into the lives and traditions of the Indigenous people who have inhabited these lands for thousands of years. It served as a reminder of the importance of preserving and honoring the stories and legacies of those who came before us.

As we returned to our vessel, the sun setting on the horizon, we reflected on the day’s adventures and the incredible journey we had embarked upon. Though our time in the Whitsundays was drawing to a close, the memories we had created would stay with us forever, a testament to the timeless beauty and cultural richness of this remarkable region.

Lagoon 42

Day 6

Back to Airlie Beach

As the sun rose on our final day in the Whitsundays, a sense of melancholy settled over us as we prepared to bid farewell to this tropical paradise. Gathering our belongings and saying goodbye to our friends, we embarked on the journey back to Airlie Beach.

While I was content to continue our adventure and explore further, I knew that our time aboard was drawing to a close. As we motored across the passage, we were greeted by the familiar sight of whales, dolphins, and endless blue skies, a fitting farewell to our unforgettable family trip in the Whitsundays.

Reflecting on our journey, I couldn’t help but feel grateful for the experiences we had shared. While my grand plans of sailing around the islands had not come to fruition, I realized that the perfect weather had provided ample opportunities for Spencer to learn and grow in other ways.

From driving the Lagoon, to exploring the beaches, snorkeling, fishing, and even spending time on Hamilton Island, Spencer had embraced every moment with enthusiasm and joy. It was a reminder that sometimes, the best adventures are the ones that unfold organically, guided by the rhythm of the sea and the spirit of exploration.

Our journey also highlighted the incredible advancements in technology that have made living aboard more accessible than ever before. With Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite system, staying connected to the world while enjoying a life at sea has never been easier. And while disconnecting from the grid for a week was a welcome respite, the ability to blend modern amenities with the timeless lessons of life onboard was a valuable experience for us all.

Whitsundays Family Adventure
Whitsundays Family Adventure
Whitsundays Family Adventure

A heartfelt thank you to John and the team at Portland Roads-Sailing the Whitsundays for an incredible journey aboard the Lagoon 42, Lawless. Their expertise, hospitality, and dedication made our time aboard an unforgettable experience. Having had the privilege of sailing on two of their vessels, I can confidently say that each journey has been nothing short of extraordinary.

It might sound biased, but Lagoons vessels always provide comfort and all the homely essentials a family needs; the saloon and cockpit area allow for a large social platform above the deck, while the cabins below provide comfort for a restful night’s sleep. For parents with young children, I hope this ignites your passion for getting out there and taking advantage of adventures like this while your kids are young; it is a great learning and development experience, so why wait? 

If you find yourself inspired by our adventures and eager to explore the world of Lagoons and sailing, I encourage you to reach out to the team at TMG Yachts. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or dipping your toes in the water for the first time, they can guide you on the best path forward for your needs.



Lagoon World Escapade, Australia: Celebrating 40 Years of Lagoon Catamarans

Lagoon World Escapade, Australia: Celebrating 40 Years of Lagoon Catamarans

The annual Lagoon Escapade looked a little different this year for several reasons, marking a significant milestone—Lagoon Catamarans’ 40th Anniversary. This grand celebration unfolded globally over the same weekend, featuring 25 events around the world. Among them, the Australian event stood as our biggest ever, with 20 boats and 62 enthusiastic participants gathering to celebrate, connect, and enjoy a fantastic time.

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