With 74 islands and miles of sandy shores, the Whitsunday Islands have some of Australia’s most beautiful beaches. Whether you’re looking for sunset views, pristine, swimming-friendly waters, or exotic marine life—here are our picks for the best beaches in the Whitsundays.
Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island
The sweeping sands of Whitehaven Beach are the quintessential postcard image of an Australian beach, and its guidebook fame has made Whitehaven Beach the most visited of the Whitsunday beaches. For a view of Whitehaven’s magnificent swirling sands—almost 3 miles (5 kilometers) of white silica sands that disappear beneath the deep aqua waters to create a melange of colors—head to Hill Inlet Lookout or, better yet, soar overhead in a helicopter.
Catseye Beach, Hamilton Island
Hamilton Island is the Whitsundays’ top resort island, and Catseye Beach is its No. 1 resort beach. With access to resort facilities, Catseye straddles creature comforts and the wild outdoors at once; you’ll find pool loungers and a multitude of rentable water-sports gear, including snorkels, paddle boards, and catamarans
Chalkies Beach, Haselwood Island
Across the water from Whitehaven Beach, Chalkies Beach serves up a stretch of powder-fine white sand to rival its more famous neighbor. Benefitting from far fewer crowds, Chalkies is an idyllic spot for swimming and snorkeling, with vibrant coral gardens just beneath the water’s surface.
Pebble Beach, Hook Island
A pocket of wilderness far from the more developed beach resorts, Hook Island is a rugged national park with spectacular lookouts and colorful coral reefs. The little-known Pebble Beach is one of its best-kept secrets, with some of the most spectacular snorkeling on the island.
Turtle Bay, Whitsunday Island
Situated on the south side of Whitsunday Island, Turtle Bay often gets passed over by travelers making a beeline for Whitehaven Beach, but trust us: It’s well worth the detour. The glass-clear waters teem with tropical fish, and there’s a good chance of spotting sea turtles as you swim and snorkel.