Hill Inlet is one of the most iconic sights in the Whitsundays. Located on the northern end of Whitehaven Beach, the Inlet is a continually changing vista showcasing shifting pure white swirling sands with the turquoise ocean.
It's best to view Hill Inlet from the Lookout at Tongue Point. You’ll access panoramic aerial views looking down over the entire Inlet and beyond. For some people, seeing this view is a big tick on their Australian bucket list.
The Inlet itself is located on the eastern side of Whitsunday Island, at the northern end of famous Whitehaven Beach.
Hill Inlet is a wide inlet offering refuge to a variety of marine and birdlife. Mangroves line the sides, and the Inlet provides nesting habitat for a range of shore and migratory birds that use the Whitsundays as a stopover on their annual migration.
The Inlet is best seen from the Tongue Point lookout on a low tide. It's classified as protected and restrictions on access may be imposed at times for environmental management. We do not recommend people take boats into the Inlet.
Photo Credit Go Pro
Access the walking track to the Hill Inlet Lookout via Tongue Bay. To view exactly where the viewing platform is, see this map.
Suitable for all ages, a moderate, 20-minute hike will take you to a recently extended viewing platform showcasing massive 180-degree views of Whitehaven, the Inlet and surrounding islands.
The lookout platforms are a popular destination for day tours from Airlie Beach. Tours are staggered to avoid overcrowding, but in peak seasons you can expect lots of people taking a walk to see the famous view.
Despite the possibility of tourist crowds, everyone will get a chance to take a beautiful photo.
As you approach the Lookout, the track opens up ahead of you to one of the impressive views imaginable. Hill Inlet won't disappoint. Marvel at the turquoise water as swirls with the white silica sand in front of you.
Note that there are no bathroom facilities on the hike nad you will need to take water. The kids can join you on this hike, they will love spotting local goanna’s, birds and other animals along the way.
On your way up to the Inlet lookout from Tongue Bay, keep an eye out for a track that branches off to Betty’s Beach (it’s a short 10-minute walk).
Betty's Beach is located in the Inlet. The secluded, small beach has the same silica white sand as Whitehaven and has recently found Instagram fame from a white driftwood tree which washed up after Cyclone Debbie in 2017.
Betty’s is a great place to enjoy a dip. At low tide, water pools form in the white sand making for pristine private swimming holes.
Aboriginal women of the Ngaro people treat Bettys as a sacred area.
Charterers have the advantage of being able to visit the Hill Inlet Lookout early or late in the day, avoiding heat and tour crowds.
Depending on the wind, there are several overnight anchorage options to consider if you want to access the Lookout. You may like to plan an overnight stop at one or two of the below suggestions, leaving time to cruise to Tongue Bay and see the view.
If you’re visiting the Hill Inlet lookout while on a bareboat charter, the best place to anchor or pick up a mooring is at Tongue Bay, simply because it is the closest anchorage to the lookout access point. Tongue Bay is found on the northern side of the Inlet and is a great protected anchorage in it's own right. You're likely to see lagoon rays and green sea turtles bobbing in the clear waters. It's an incredible sunset location.
Access to the beach and walking track at Tongue Bay is recommended from mid to high tide.
Tongue Bay is sheltered in South-East to North-West winds.
Chance Bay is a great overnight anchorage option if you want to visit Whitehaven and the winds are coming from the north. You can take a walking track from Chance through the lovely forest to Whitehaven.
If you plan to visit Tongue Bay and the Hill Inlet lookout, then it's a short sail from Chance Bay at the southern end of Whitsunday Island, up past Whitehaven and around Tongue Point to the anchorage at Tongue Bay.
Chalkies Beach sits opposite Whitehaven Beach on Haselwood Island and is in proximity to Tongue Bay. There is a lot to be enjoyed at Chalkies with snorkelling, a great hike and the same beautiful white sand as Whitehaven.
Protected from east and south-east winds, you can pick a mooring up here for an overnight anchorage.
There are a few anchorages along the length of Whitehaven Beach where you can moor for the day or night and visit this famous beach. To see the inlet views from Whitehaven, you will need to sail around to Tongue Bay.
Whitehaven can be exposed, making it a bit choppy and uncomfortable for anchoring at night. If any southerly winds are blowing, you will want to find an alternative anchorage.
To fully appreciate Hill Inlet at the end of Whitehaven Beach, view it from Tongue Point on Whitsunday Island when the tide is low, and the colours merge to create a stunning kaleidoscope.
Even if you've seen this incredible view once, you may want to see it again as each experience of the Hill Inlet vista is never the same. Enjoy.
See Hill Inlet have the freedom to explore with Whitsunday Rent a Yacht.