Our Heritage

Welcome Friends

Our waters & islands are the ancient home of the Ngaro

Always Was – Always Will Be

“We were never lost, we did not need discovering; 

This has always been our home!”



Portland Roads – Sailing the Whitsundays has a genuine and passionate interest in Aboriginal Affairs and we support initiatives that bring better understanding between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and the wider community.

We hold a particular interest and understanding towards our local tribes of 

the Ngaro, Yuwibara, Koinmerburra, Barada Barna, Wiri, Gia and Juru  
Portland Roads – Sailing the Whitsundays respects and acknowledges the unique culture, societies, history and traditional lands of Aboriginal Australians in Queensland, Australia and the World over. 

Portland Roads – Sailing the Whitsundays  wish to lead by our actions, our words and our association with local elders; And local indigenous community groups


With local Ngaro blessing, you are welcome to sail with us in these ancient tribal waters. Tribal waters that fed our First Nation Peoples without waste, without pollution and with a real connection to sea and land. A connection that has long been lost!


It is our mission to tell their story with immersive experiences and consistent facts. In doing so we are working towards returning the land and sea to a self sustaining state. A state where the ecosystem can once again grow wings and wrap itself in life. It is incumbent on us to do so


Many try to rewrite history!  Protests about Australia Day seem to target Lt. James Cook, when Australia Day has little to do with Cook. Indeed, Cook did not even converse with any indigenous at Botany Bay in 1770. It is also important to know that he did not even sail into Port Jackson (Sydney)!

Cook’s first meaningful dialogue was with our First Nation’s People was some 1,500 nautical miles to the north of Sydney at Gungardie, (Cooktown), on the banks of the Waalumbaal Birri, (Endeavour River, now named after Cook’s vessel).

After almost 3 months ashore, he warmly penned that the locals “In reality are far happier than we Europeans”. During his visit, there was no invasion, no genocide, no murders and the only real conflict was when local Guugu Yimithirr tried to return captured turtles to the ocean that Cook’s men had caught to feed the crew. The first sign of indigenous sustainability!


Cook and his crew took the opportunity to scribe hundreds of indigenous words whilst living in far north Queensland, including the local area name for Kangaroo (gangurru).


Some 18 years later Governor Arthur Philip sailed into 

Ka-May (Botany Bay). It was quickly established that this was not the desired location to offload 11 ships of convicts, with the lack of fresh water being the main concern. 

Philip chose to investigate further north, heading off in one of the cutters, leaving the fleet at anchor in Ka-May. What a sight opened up as he and his crew rowed / sailed into Port Jackson. So extraordinary was the scene , he famously penned, ‘the finest harbour in the world in which a thousand sail of the line may ride in the most perfect security’. 

Returning with the fleet he chose to make anchor and landfall at woggan-ma-gule, (Farm Cove – immediately east of today’s Sydney Opera House). 


His hosts were the local Gwyeagal. First dialogue with the Gwyeagal was challenging and Cook’s dictionary of Guugu Yimithirr words proved to be a complete waste of time! 

Botany Bay was a failure, and now his dictionary of aboriginal words was wrong! Was Cook that far off the mark? 

Unlike Polynesian tribes across the pacific that Cook had liaised with, Australia’s First Nation’s People were made up of over 500 tribes. That means 500 languages. Sydney and Cooktown are separated by 2,700 kilometres and so explains why Cook’s dictionary did not work with the Gwyeagal people. The Gwyeagal called the Kangaroo Patagorang, which if Cook had learned, our favourite marsupial could well be know by a different name today.


It is important to note that it was Philip’s eventual landing of the First Fleet on 26th January 1788 (18 years after Cook’s landing) that we commemorate on Australia Day.



For anywhere up to 125,000 years & Evidenced for at least 60,000 Years, our local indigenous seafarers preserved this wilderness; And in the blink of an eye (only 230+ years), we have sadly created an unhealthy cycle of excess, waste and pollution. 

The team at Portland Roads – Sailing the Whitsundays are working to help change this.

We do hope that you can join us in our quest.
Wodda Moolie, Naana Naana Dook 

Welcome Friends

Welcome to the Whitsundays

Welcome to the land and sea of the Ngaro


Have you ever imagined the Whitsundays and our Great Barrier Reef
Beyond a tourist brochure? 

Here are some facts to look further into her soul

  • The Whitsundays are the ancient home to 7 indigenous tribes – “Australia’s First People”
  • Elders, and descendants of all 7 tribes still reside locally and we acknowledge this as their traditional home
  • The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is the ancient home of up to 70 Traditional Owner Groups
  • The Great Barrier Reef is one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World
  • The Marine Park was not protected as a Marine Park until 1981
  • The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park covers a staggering 348,000 Square Kilometres
  • The Marine Park is UNESCO World Heritage Listed – (United Nations Educational, Scientific & Cultural Organisation)
  • The Marine Park contains the World’s Largest Coral Reef Eco System
  • It includes some 3000 Coral Reefs, some 600 Continental Islands, (of which 74 islands are right at our back door), some 300 Coral Cays and about 150 Inshore Mangrove Islands.
  • The reef makes up 10% of the World’s Reef systems
  • The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority tell us that she is also home to the following staggering numbers – Some 600 types of Soft and Hard Corals, more than 100 Species of Jellyfish, 3000 varieties of Molluscs, 500 Species of Worms, 1625 types of Fish, 133 Varieties of Sharks and Rays, and more than 30 Species of Whales and Dolphins.
  • From the North to the South, she is 2,300 Kilometres long
  • The team at Portland Roads – Sailing the Whitsundays have always lead the industry in areas of indigenous involvement and sustainability. It is our aim to make friends, not money; and in doing so – give back to our beautiful backyard.
  • In 2019 we achieved official certification with Ecotourism Australia’s ROH – Respecting Our Culture certification.
  • Yesterday, today and tomorrow – We will continue to make a difference and continue to tell the whole story. With the ongoing support of our team, the Proserpine Indigenous Reference Group, local Elders and our Great Barrier Reef Master Reef Guide we will lead the way for an industry otherwise lost at sea.


This website and it’s contents are owned and operated by Portland Roads – Sailing the Whitsunday .
We will always be Fair and Friendly with you, And Fabulously Fascinated by our World Heritage Listed backyard ;
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the Ancient Ngaro Waters and Islands of the Wonderful Whitsundays


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0427 814 553 /
1300 991 474

From anywhere else on planet earth Call

+61 427 814 553