With its powder-white silica sands, gleaming turquoise waters, and fringe of lush rainforest, it’s little surprise that Whitehaven is one of Australia’s most photographed beaches. Stretching for almost 3 miles (5 kilometers) along the coast of Whitsunday Island, it’s a magnificent sight and an idyllic spot for swimming and snorkelling.
A tour of the Whitsundays Islands isn’t complete without a stroll along the silky soft sands of Whitehaven Beach, and most visitors opt to explore on a day trip from Airlie Beach or Hamilton Island.
It’s possible to visit on a half-day cruise, while full-day tours offer even more beach time. Tour highlights include the views from the Hill Inlet lookout, snorkelling along pristine coral reefs, or a bushwalk through the surrounding rainforest. For the most spectacular views, experience the natural beauty of Whitehaven Beach from above on a helicopter or seaplane flight.
Things to Know Before You Go
- To meet conservation guidelines, facilities are limited on Whitehaven Beach, so bring everything you need with you; restrooms are located at the north and south ends of the beach.
- There are no umbrellas available at the beach, so be sure to pack sunscreen and a hat, as well as plenty of water.
- Most Whitsundays Islands cruises are by catamaran, but a motorized raft tour allows you to explore protected areas in Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and reach the best snorkelling spots.
- Some boats and tours are wheelchair accessible, and beach wheelchairs are available to rent.
How to Get There
Whitehaven Beach is located along the southeastern coast of Whitsunday Island and is accessible only by boat. Most ferries and boat cruises leave from the Port of Airlie at Airlie Beach and take around 1.5 hours, typically stopping at Hamilton Island to pick up passengers along the way.
When to Get There
The Whitsundays are a year-round destination. The most popular time to visit is during the summer (January and February), when it’s advisable to book tours and accommodation in advance and make an early start to avoid the crowds. Average day temperatures are still 73°F (23°C) in the winter months, so it’s possible to swim and snorkel all year. This is also the time to spot migrating whales along the coast.
Cruising the Whitsundays Islands
Whitehaven Beach is just one of the many natural wonders of the Whitsundays Islands, and it’s worth choosing a day or multi-day cruise that takes in the surrounding sights. Highlights include sailing across the Whitsunday Passage, snorkelling at Mantaray Bay or Luncheon Bay around Hook Island, spotting koalas and kangaroos at the Wild Life Hamilton Island reserve, and looking out over Hamilton Island from One Tree Hill.