Whitehaven Beach, located in the Whitsunday Islands, lies within the Great Barrier Reef National Marine Park and is a protected world heritage site. This pristine environment continuously gets voted one of the best beaches in the world, attracting thousands of visitors each year.
Whitehaven Beach is indeed a white haven. Its 98% silica white sand, which gives a brilliant, near luminescent colour, juxtaposed with bright turquoise water coupled with its remote location makes Whitehaven absolutely breath-taking.
There are two ways to get to Whitehaven, by boat or a scenic flight. Boats are the most popular form of transport with a plethora of day tours running from Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island.
Most tours to Whitehaven are eco-certified. To make sure everyone who visits Whitehaven gets to experience its beauty, tour operators stagger their timings so guests have plenty of space over the 7-kilometre beach.
For those cruising the islands on a private yacht, you will be able to visit as a day activity or pull up a mooring at a nearby bay or even anchor at Whitehaven, wind conditions permitting of course.
Whitehaven Beach is on the western side of Whitsunday Island, the biggest island out of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays. It's not part of the Great Barrier Reef; however, it sits within the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef National Marine Park.
Whitehaven Beach is in Queensland's sub-tropical climate with temperatures averaging between 23-30 degrees Celsius, or about 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. The wet season runs over summer and winter being a dryer time with slightly cooler, yet sunny conditions. It's ok to visit Whitehaven at any time of year.
A bareboat self-sail yacht charter is the best way to visit Whitehaven Beach. Bareboat charters will allow you to experience a side of Whitehaven which day-trippers don't get the opportunity to enjoy.
When you anchor your vessel at Whitehaven, you can watch the sunset over Whitsunday Island and the sunrise over Chalkies Beach on Haslewood. You will also be the first to set foot on the beach in the morning and the last in the evening. If you're an early bird, you may even get up to Hill Inlet before the tours start.
To learn more about anchorage, navigation, wind and tide tips for getting your boat into Whitehaven, check out a post in our archives on hits for sailing to Whitehaven Beach.
The first thing you will want to do when you visit Whitehaven is take a dip in the pristine ocean. The shores are shallow, making Whitehaven a safe beach to swim off. With no major rips or swells to worry about, and the water temperature delightfully tropical, you may not want to get out.
Safety Note: If you're swimming, please make sure you check if it's stinger season and take the necessary precautions. You will only need to be aware of occasional currents in certain tides and winds, your tour operator will inform you, or if you're on a bareboat charter, you can check your copy of 100 magic miles.
Snorkel at Chance Bay
Whitehaven is not a snorkelling hot spot in the Whitsundays because it lacks fringing reefs. If you want to snorkel on your trip to Whitehaven, take the walking track to Chance Bay with your gear.
The view over to Hill Inlet is the most famous vista in the Whitsundays. From the northern end of Whitehaven Beach tale a short 20-minute hike up to the viewing platforms. As you look down over the north end of the beach, you will see where the shifting tides create swirling layers of white sand and turquoise water. The best time to see the iconic patters in the inlet is at mid-tide, but the view is fantastic at any time of day.
If you’re on a bareboat charter arriving via Tongue Bay, boats should come in on the high tide. As you walk up to the lookout, keep an eye on the information signs dotted along the way.
The sand is perhaps the most striking feature of this beach. When you walk along the 7-kilometre sandy stretch, note the way it doesn't retain heat and how it squeaks under your feet. Many people bring their jewellery to Whitehaven to polish it using the famous fine sand.
There are several walking tracks you can do on your trip to Whitehaven Beach. The rainforest of Whitsunday Islands offers interesting flora and fauna to explore, keep an eye out for the rather giant (friendly) lizards!
The most famous walk is up to the viewing platform looking over Hill Inlet and Whitehaven’s northern end. Take the beach track which has Tongue Bay access and veer off on the Hill Inlet Track, which is a 700m loop that will take you to the three lookout points of the swirling sands.
On the southern end of the beach, there is a 3 km walk to Chance Bay, a stunning cove which has some great snorkelling if you want to put a mask and snorkel in your backpack.
The 1.2km Solway Circuit loop walk, also found on the southern end of Whitehaven, will take you to another stunning view. From this vantage point, you can join the Whitehaven Beach Headland track, a 400m loop that will eventually take you back down onto Whitehaven.
The Ngaro people inhabited the Whitsunday Islands for over 8,000 years. These seafaring people moved with the seasons on the mainland and through the Whitsunday Islands using bark canoes. Whitehaven Beach was once known as the ‘Whispering Sands’ by the Ngaro. The Ngaro women are said to have used Betty's Beach for birth and on the other side of Whitsunday Island at Nara Inlet, you can see cave paintings from
When you camp at Whitehaven Beach, you get to wake up and have the beach all to yourself. There is a camping spot on the southern end of Whitehaven Beach with picnic tables and toilets.
Chance Bay also has a campsite for eight people; this spot can be accessed from your yacht or from the walking tracks starting at Whitehaven. We think it’s one of the best camping spots in the islands, again picnic tables and outhouse toilets are provided.
There is no running water on the island, and campfires are strictly prohibited. You will need to bring everything with you. Book your campsite online with national parks or through our neighbours at Shute Harbour, Scamper Island Transfers.
On the north end of Whitehaven, there is a secret little cove with the same white sand. Follow the coastline to your left, and you'll come to some rocks, it might seek like you can’t go any further, but climb over, and you'll see Betty's Beach! This place is a secluded oasis, you will probably have it all to yourself.
Whitehaven beach is pristine national parkland and an incredible place to visit on a bareboat charter or day trip. If you want to experience Whitehaven to yourself through a private yacht charter, please get in touch.
Join us in the Whitsundays and enjoy the freedom to explore