What makes Whitehaven Beach so special? It's the silica. The sand on this 6km (4 mi) stretch of paradise is 98% silica, the powdered remains of a long-dead coral forest. That's what makes it so sugar-fine, radiantly white and slip-through-the-toes silky.
Of course, a beach doesn't keep its Best Beach awards and places in Top 10 lists through sand alone. Whitehaven teams its pristine whiteness with warm, lapping, peerlessly blue waves, a rainforest backing and Hill Inlet, which is famous for the play of colour as the tide washes in.
Often described as one of the best views in all of Australia, Hill Inlet is a must-visit in the Whitsunday Islands area. Its a feature of countless tours throughout the region and sits on the large Whitsunday Island at Whitehaven Beach.
If you travel along Whitehaven Beach to the north, you'll run into Hill Inlet. Try to be there when the tides are retreating, as this is when you'll have the luxury of watching perfect white sands appear in a twist among the clear blue waters. From the air, it almost looks unnatural, like a water-color painting or a colorful piece of sand art.
Most people arrive by boat and take a dingy ashore. To truly appreciate the view, however, you'll want to make your way to the most popular lookout point over Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet, a spot called Tongue Point. It's here that the magnitude of the beach and inlet are best experienced.