Suggestions for Sailing to Whitehaven Beach


Sailing to Whitehaven Beach and being able to experience one of the best beaches in the world from a private yacht is a bucket list experience! Check out these tips for navigation, anchoring and things to look out for.

If you’re planning to go on a bareboat charter around the Whitsundays Islands for the first time, the chances are sailing to Whitehaven Beach will be on your itinerary.

Whitehaven Beach is a world-famous destination and one of the many reasons the Whitsundays are the best destinations to charter a yacht in Australia. Consistently voted one of the best beach in the world, this pristine 7km stretch of pure white sand and turquoise water encapsulates why people come to the Whitsundays.

Tours bring day-trippers to experience Whitehaven and to view the swirling sands from Hill Inlet. It’s a large area, and most tours scatter their arrivals, so they don’t all land at once. There will be a few groups of 15-20 people on the beach.

Those lucky enough to see Whitehaven from a private yacht charter will find opportunities for seclusion in this fantastic patch of paradise. Before you bring your bareboat into Whitehaven, we suggest you check out these navigation, anchorage and tips on things to do.

Hiil Inlet The Whitsunday Islands sailing to whitehaven

The best sailing conditions for visiting Whitehaven

The best winds for visiting Whitehaven are east around to northwesterly. South Easterly winds can be pretty uncomfortable at Whitehaven.

Navigation tips for Whitehaven:

Whitehaven Beach is on the east coast of Whitsunday Island, the largest island in the 74 Whitsunday Islands. There are a few things to look out for navigating this popular attraction.

Solway Passage:

Take care in the Solway Passage, paying particular attention to what the tides are doing. The passage can get challenging if a strong tidal pull combined with winds.

When coming into the passage from the south, keep an eye out for the reef marker on the southeast end of Whitehaven Beach. To clear the reef, sail north until you are clear of the passage, then turn towards the beach.

French Shoal:

French Shoal is a sandbank out from Whitehaven Beach, and it’s one of the important spots to look out for when navigating the Whitsundays. When coming from the North, French Shoal is located between Chalkies and Whitehaven, but it is hard to see. Pass to the west of Esk Island to avoid the bank, and then turn south to avoid the shallow mouth of Hill Inlet. After the Inlet, head just west of Lagoon Rock, just off the beach.

An alternative route to anchor at Whitehaven:

A simple way to anchor at Whitehaven is to come straight down, with Esk Island and French Shoal to your right. Sail until you’re level with Martin Islet, then turn towards the anchorage, avoiding French Shoal and the shallow coral on the southern end of Whitehaven.

If this navigation talk is making you nervous, don’t be. You will be briefed and taught all about navigation when you first get your boat. Most of this navigational advice is from 100 Magic Miles, the Whitsundays Islands bible which you will have on your boat.

Sailing to Whitehaven Beach

Where to anchor at Whitehaven

The most protected anchorage for staying overnight at Whitehaven is at the southern end of the beach, adjacent Chalkies.

If you never anchor in less than 5.5 meters or more than 9 meters of water, you will never have to worry whether the tide is coming or going.

When you do your morning or evening radio call, our radio operators will be able to advise the best anchoring locations based on current weather conditions & tides.

There are no moorings at Whitehaven. You can learn more about anchoring in this post: How to anchor a boat.

Tongue Point Sailing to Whitehaven Beach

Where to stay the night near Whitehaven

Whitehaven can be exposed, making it choppy and uncomfortable for anchoring at night. If any southerly winds are blowing, you will want to find an alternative to anchoring for the night at Whitehaven.

Tongue Bay

Tongue Bay is a much more sheltered anchorage in southerly and northerly winds, at the northern end of Whitehaven Beach. From here, you can take a 700-meter hike up to the famous Hill Inlet

There are moorings in the bay, and it’s also possible to anchor.

You must be mindful of the tides at this anchorage, especially when taking your tender ashore. The beach can only be accessed at low tide.

Chance Bay

Chance Bay is a beautiful little spot. Take a 3km hike from Chance Bay to Whitehaven when you go ashore in your tender.

Chance is an excellent overnight anchorage in northerly conditions. Take care of the reef in the bay.


Chalkies Beach, located on Haslewood island, is opposite Whitehaven Beach. Many locals opt to visit Chalkies to avoid day crowds while still experiencing the same rare silica sand found on Whitehaven.

You can pick up a mooring at Chalkies in south-east and easterly winds. There are some great snorkelling spots on the reefs here.

Chalkies Beach the Whitsundays

Take advantage of experiencing Whitehaven from a private yacht

We have a blog post outlining all the things there are to do at Whitehaven Beach.

For people who are self-sailing, you will also be able to enjoy:

  • An empty beach in the mornings and evening away from the day tours
  • A relaxing hike to the Hill Inlet Lookout in the morning or evening. Try to time your walk at mid-low tide if you can. This is when the swirling fusion of colours is at its best.
  • If you are at Whitehaven close to the full moon, enjoy the stunning moonlight reflections from the sand.
  • Hike over to Chance Bay, and you will likely have this secluded cove to yourself. Pack the snorkelling gear on your boat and check out the reefs at Chance.
  • It’s possible to camp on the south end of Whitehaven or to camp at Chance Bay with toilet and picnic amenities provided. Pack camping gear and spend a night on land amongst the forest for a different adventure.
  • Sunsets and sunrises from your boat, seeing Whitehaven from a completely different perspective.

Sunrise from Whitehaven Beach the Whitsunday Islands


Go sailing to Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands and enjoy the freedom to explore

  Contact us 1800 075 000 or

Exploring the 74 Whitsunday Islands

Exploring the 74 Whitsunday Islands

The Whitsunday Islands are located off the east coast of Queensland in Australia. Part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, each Island in the Whitsundays has a unique draw card, whether it be a stylish resort, world-famous beach, spectacular snorkelling site or...

Border Island; A nature lovers hotspot

Border Island; A nature lovers hotspot

Border Island is a local favourite destination in the Whitsunday Islands. It's far enough away from the day tour crowds, yet close enough to be within comfortable sailing reach. Perhaps what makes Border Island such a special place is its natural beauty:  its been...

* indicates required


Get In Touch

1800 075 000

+61 7 4946 9232


6 Bay Terrace
Shute Harbour QLD 4802

Office Hours

8am - 5pm Weekdays
8am - 4pm Weekends
8am - 4pm Public holidays

Ready to Explore?

Ask us anything in the form below. If you want to get a quote or make a booking,  please use our booking enquiry form.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Sign up to our newsletter

* indicates required



Whitsunday Rent a Yacht acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and in particular the Traditional Owners of the Whitsunday's Region, the Gia, Juru and Ngaro People; We recognise their continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Call Now Button