I am an owner with Sunsail and have been to the Whitsundays and the Grenadines. I prefer the Grenadines....especially if I lived in the US and could get there easier. Here are the reasons:
1. At present exchange rates, Australia
is &")@" expensive. Worse than the Caribbean
2. While the sailing there is good, there are a lot of narrow passages with strong tidal steams that drive the timing of the trip....fine if you can plan ahead. Frustrating if you don't
3. The coral
is better in the Whitsundays. However, the visibility is not good at all, especially if the wind
4. As has been said earlier, there are deserted islands and spendy resorts with NOTHING in between. There is no Admiralty Bay...
5. The Australian regulations
boats are a pain. You will have to check in twice per day.....
All of those negatives aside, here are the upsides:
1. If you like beaches, Whitsundays have more nice ones than anywhere in the Carib.
2. All of the sailing legs are short, 15 miles is a big day
3. The views from the top of the islands are breathtaking
4. That time of year the weather
will be cool enough that you won't mind hiking up to the hills.....
Good luck with your trip planning.
P.S. the first time we went to the BVIs, we hated it for the reasons the OP gave. We included St John and Culebra
on our second trip and that added enough variety to vault the VI into our preferred destination
list. We're going back in a couple of weeks....although I don't know if we'll get Culebra
P.P.S. Culebra is my favorite spot that we've sailed to, worldwide so far