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Discover the top 10 Whitsunday Beaches

Whether you're chartering a yacht through the Whitsunday Islands or visiting the Whitsunday region, discover these top Whitsunday Beaches

It's difficult to make a list of the top Whitsunday Beaches, simply because there are countless beaches to enjoy. The Whitsunday Islands are after al, spectacularly pristine with crystal clear waters, white sandy shores, rainforests meeting the beach and an abundance of marine life.

If you're short on time, we suggest looking at these top-rated beach destinations to ensure you make the most out of your visit to the region. If however, you have plenty of time and freedom while on a bareboat charter, why not explore and take your time - seeing where the wind takes you and what secluded beaches you can discover.

In this post, we'll feature the best beaches to see in the Whitsunday Islands and for those not exploring by boat, we'll also list our favourites beaches on the mainland within the Whitsunday Region.

Beaches in the Whitsundays Whitehaven Beach

How can I access the Whitsunday Island Beaches?

There are many ways to access the Islands in the Whitsundays, with several boat hire options running from Airlie Beach.

The best way to experience the Whitsunday Islands is from a bareboat. In other words, a sailing yacht or catamaran you hire and skipper yourself.

In the Whitsundays, you don't need a license or qualification to hire a bareboat. Before setting sail, you're given an extensive briefing and continuous support throughout your charter. If you feel like you need assistance to operate the boat, there are options to hire a sail guide or extend your training.

Accessing the beaches among the islands is simply done at your own pace. If you find a place you like and the weather conditions are favourable, you can choose to anchor and spend the night.

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Whitsunday Beaches

The Best Whitsunday Beaches Among The Islands

Whitehaven Beach - Whitsunday Island

Whitehaven Beach is consistently voted as one of the best beaches in the world and has won countless awards such as Queensland's Most Beautiful Beach.

Perhaps its biggest claim to fame is that Whitehaven is the most photographed beach in Australia. Visiting the Whitsundays and not seeing this picture-perfect location is like visiting Rome and not seeing the Sistine Chapel!

Stretching 7km in length, with incredible turquoise water at a temperature close to 25 degrees' year-round, Whitehaven is the perfect place for a day in paradise. It's the uninterrupted white silica sand that makes Whitehaven so unique. The sand is so soft that when you walk on it, it squeaks and it's so fine that it can polish jewellery.

Whitehaven is a must for people cruising the islands on a charter or visitors to Airlie BeachTake a picnic, enjoy a rainforest walk to Chance Bay and swim until your heart's content.

If you are on bareboat charter and plan to spend the night near Whitehaven see this post on Whitehaven sailing and anchorage tips.

Whitehaven Beach Best Whitsunday Beach

Langford Spit - Langford Island

Sometimes referred to as the disappearing beach, Langford island is relatively small narrowing down to a tidal sand bar beach on the east.

Langford's coral sand beach and vegetation gives the feeling of both a continental island a true coral quay. The long sand spit is interesting to explore, with a world of hidden treasures washed up with each tide.

We recommend charterers plan to visit Langford on low tide to get the most out of the unique sand spit. The spit is surrounded by crystal clear water; the perfect spot for sunbaking, cricket and to use as a base for swimming. There’s also a short walk up the bluff to a view that looks over to the Whitsunday Passage.

The reef on the north side of Langford Spit is one of our favourite spots for snorkelling. A group of local turtles frequent the area and are often seen on the north-western end of the beach.

It's not advised to anchor and spend the night at Langford, simply because it's not protected enough. Plan for a day stop off here on your route to your overnight stop off at whether Nara Inle, Cid Harbour or Hook Island.

Best Whitsunday Beach Langford Island

Blue Pearl Bay - Hayman Island

Blue Pearl Bay on the western side of Hayman Island offers a suburb overnight anchorage in easterly conditions. The area is famous for its diverse coral and marine life with some of the best snorkelling or scuba diving in the Whitsundays.

The beach is made of coral, so make sure you bring your shoes, but don't let it stop you from enjoying the stunningly clear water and exploring opportunities. This is one of those spots where you will have the chance to discover hidden enclaves and coves all to yourself, particularly if you're on a private charter.

Blue Pearl Bay Best Whitsunday Beach

Catseye Beach - Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island can be a great place to stop while on a yacht charter. It is conveniently located in the middle of the Whitsunday Islands and has extensive resort facilities, restaurants, cafes and shops to help with stocking supplies or enjoying a meal out.

You can book an overnight berth at the Hamilton Island Marina for $135.00 or visit on an hourly basis for $17.50 per hour. Visitors are welcome to hire a golf buggy and drive around the 16km road looping the island taking you to its pools and beaches.

Catseye Beach, with its clear water, a long stretch of palm trees and sun lounges, is a great place to soak up the resort vibe of Hamilton Island. You can enjoy a cocktail from a hammock, get into some water sports, go snorkelling and even take a dip in one of the three resort pools skirting the bay.

At low tide on Catseye Beach, you can walk out onto the flats and take in Hamilton Island from a different perspective. The kids will love spotting hermit crabs and keep an eye out for turtles popping their heads up.

Best beach Whitsundays

Cateran Bay – Border Island

Cateran Bay is a beautiful, secluded place to stay and enjoy. Surrounded by imposing cliffs, the sandy beach feels like you’re in your own private paradise. We often tell couples to visit Cateran Bay because it’s one of the best moorings in the Whitsunday Islands for a romantic escape.

Border Island has been a protected green zone for a long time, meaning that snorkelling and diving are fantastic at Cateran Bay. The best snorkelling sites are on the east and west sides of the bay.

You can also enjoy a hike up to the top of the hill to experience incredible views of the southern island groups.

Note that the beach is accessible by dinghy on a mid and high tide only.

Border Island Best beach whitsundays

Chalkies Beach – Haselwood Island

If you’re keen to experience the famous sand found at Whitehaven Beach without the day tours, then visit Chalkies Beach. Located across from Whitehaven and popular with locals, Chalkies is a local favourite.

You could spend a whole day soaking up the salt and sand at Chalkies and taking the newly established hiking trail up to a lookout with views over Whitsunday Island.

This is another great spot for snorkelling and swimming with great examples of the Great Barrier Reef’s fringing reef. You’ll be able to safely swim right off the beach and experience fantastic coral gardens and marine life, particularly in the north of the beach.

Charterers are not allowed to anchor off Chalkies, however, minimal moorings are available for day trips or staying the night. We suggest you get in quick.

Chalkies Beach Whitsunday Beaches

The Best Beaches On The Mainland

Amazing Whitsunday Beaches are not exclusive to the islands. We understand that not everyone can take a charter yacht or take a tour, so we wanted to list a few favourite beaches which anyone can drive to when visiting Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday area.

Montes Resort  - Hydeaway Bay

Ask any local where you should go when you visit Airlie Beach and they will say “have you been to Montes?”

You'll wonder why this place isn't world-famous, it feels like you've stumbled across a secret and well, you kind of have.

About an hours’ drive to the north of Airlie (on the way to Cape Gloucester) you’ll find Hydeaway Bay. When you arrive, there isn't a town… keep driving past the holiday houses, over the ridge until you hit a dirt road and keep an eye out for the turnoff to Montes Reef Resort.

Trust us, you'll be pinching yourself when you arrive and you won't want to leave. Montes Resort provides the most incredible setting, great service, and reasonably priced fresh seafood. After lunch, you can enjoy a swim off the stunning beach, throw a line in or take a cocktail down onto the sand lounges.

Montes Resort Best Beach

Dingo Beach

Neighbouring Hydeaway Bay is Dingo Beach. Thankfully, this charming spot doesn't appear to have changed much in 30 years.

Dingo Beach is quiet and secluded. You’ll find a great shaded BBQ area and the beach is long enough to enjoy an enjoyable walk.

A visit to Dingo Beach is not complete without stopping off at the pub, you can’t miss it, apart from the general store it’s the only shop in town. Offering a classic Queensland experience with open walls, local characters the Dingo Beach Hotel is what travelling is all about. And don’t worry, it’s not “fancy”, there isn’t a backpacker scene or any hustle and bustle to be found, just a quality experience with a high chance of great live music. 

Cape Gloucester

Cape Gloucester is located in the northern end of the Whitsundays, just up past Hydeaway Bay.

There are stunning views of the Coral Sea as you drive from Hydeaway Bay towards Cape Gloucester. Drive to the end so you can take your pick of sandy beaches or secluded coves to take a dip in.

We suggest allowing a whole day to enjoy beachcombing, swimming, fishing and a long lazy lunch at the Cape Gloucester Eco Lodge sitting right on the beach. Those visiting for lunch are welcome to enjoy a dip in the amazing beachfront pool or soak up some sun on the deck.

Australia has many beautiful deserted beaches, but it’s still amazing to find a beach in Queensland that is so undeveloped so close to a major tourist town.

Best Beaches Whitsunday

Horseshoe Bay - Bowen

Situated in the northern region of the Whitsundays, Bowen is a charming older-style town just an hour north of Airlie Beach. Famous for its mangos which have been grown in the district since 1880, a visit to Bowen is not complete without stopping past the “Bowen Big Mango” at the information centre

After getting your selfie with The Mango, make sure you head to a beach constantly voted one of the best in Queensland, Horseshoe Bay. Framed by two stunning granite outcrops and surrounded by fringing reefs, you can snorkel and dive right off the beach.

In 2019, "Bywa", an inter-tidal sculpture was installed in the bay as part of the Whitsunday Reef Recovery and Public Art Project. "Bywa" was created by Indigenous artist Brian Robinson and tells the reef’s creation story. Over time the sculpture will change and interact with its environment, making this art piece an interesting attraction for snorkelers. It's also possible to see more underwater sculptures around the Whitsunday Islands.

To round off a wonderfully relaxing day exploring the bay, treat yourself to a meal at the fully licenced Horseshoe Bay Cafe and Beach Bar.

Best Whitsunday Beaches Bowen Beach

Boathaven Beach – Airlie Beach

Often referred to as “New Beach” by the Airlie locals, Boathaven Beach consists of 60,00 cubic meters of soft white sand. How do we know how much sand is on the beach? Because it has been completely man-made.

In 2013, with the opening of a new marina development at the Port of Airlie, this beach was created with one thing in mind, swimming and relaxing. Boathaven was designed so that it wouldn’t be affected by low and high tides are there are great views over to the Whitsunday Islands.

Spending a day hanging at  "New Beach" is a favourite thing to do among Airlie Beach locals.

Best Beach Airlie Beach
















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Footprints on a beach in Stonehaven Bay, with view of Hook Island across the water of the bay

Discover the many beautiful beaches the Whitsundays has to offer from the secluded to Australia's favourite at pictureseque Whitehaven.