Whitsunday IslandA large island home to what is widely considered Australia's most beautiful beach.
Considered by many to be the most beautiful beach in Australia and one of the top in the world, Whitehaven Beach is a wondrous 7-kilometre stretch of pristine silica sand stretched out along the eastern side of Whitsunday Island that features a myriad of small coves, lagoons and inlets along its expanse that add to both the physical beauty and exploration options available.
There’s no Photoshop needed when depicting Whitehaven Beach; the imagery you see in pictures of Whitehaven is exactly what you get, and the yellow-white of the sand contrasts brilliantly with the turquoise-blue of its water to make for one of Oz’s most impressive panoramas.
It’s common to come across promotional material for Whitehaven Beach where special care is taken to mention its “white silica sand” as a major natural selling point, which is all well and good, but what does it actually mean? Silica is a substance that’s contained in a very high-purity form of sand in which the grains are extremely fine, and as a result it’s simultaneously soft to the touch and doesn’t get too hot underfoot.
Coupled with the bleaching effects of the sun, the sand is an almost pure-white colour that contributes to the overall magic of Whitehaven and is a large factor in it being the most photographed beach in the country.
It’s thus no surprise that Whitsunday Island is the target destination of numerous tour and cruise operators who aim to bring eager guests to catch a glimpse of Whitehaven Beach as well as the island’s other natural highlights. Whitsunday Island itself is huge in comparison to many of its neighbours, and its central location surrounded by various other islands and islets makes for a wonderful outlook from various vantage points; the island has two main walking tracks that both culminate in lookouts that offer lovely panoramas.
The Tongue Point Track is a roughly 15 minute walk which culminates in a wonderful view of Whitehaven Beach itself, while the Dugong Beach to Sawmill Beach track provides some excellent scenery looking out over the surrounding bays. Both of these beaches have their own substantial camping grounds that make for idyllic spots to spend a night, and they’re surrounded by a blend of woodland and pine / palm hybrid forest that blankets the island as a whole.
There are a number of other campsites on the island as well – including Whitehaven Beach itself – with booking required in advance if you’re planning to stay there. Various companies that provide both camp bookings and transfer packages are in operation and can be contacted to arrange this.
Getting to Whitsunday Island from the mainland takes a fair amount of time investment in comparison to some of the other islands on this list – the island lies approximately 30 kilometres off the coast, so expect it to take roughly 2 hours one way – and departs from Airlie Beach, however this option tends to be far cheaper than the alternative of travelling from Hamilton Island. Other alternative options – such as high-speed rafting adventures – provide a more adrenaline-filled way to get there and allow for several hours to spend on Whitehaven Beach and exploring Whitsunday Island before returning on the same day.
If you’re travelling to Whitsunday Island bringing your own supplies is essential unless you have them included as part of a tour – there’s no commercialisation or shops here, and thus no food or drink to purchase. With issues such as climate change and overuse possible factors in the deterioration of Whitehaven Beach’s perfection in the future, if you’re considering travelling to the Whitsundays and Whitsunday Island in particular, there’s no better time to do so than now.