Visit the Untouched Whitehaven Beach in Australia

Photo of Phoebe Lowndes
2 March 2020

Whitehaven Beach, which lies within Australia’s Whitsundays, is a paradise on Earth.

Untouched and uninhabited, this insanely beautiful beach is an absolute must-visit if flawless white sand and crystal-clear water is your idea of bliss.

Whitehaven Beach is a seven-kilometre (four-mile) stretch of paradise | © Culture Trip

Life’s a beach

Nestled in the Whitsunday Islands amid an abundance of dense rainforests and white-sand beaches, Whitehaven frequently tops lists of the best beaches on the planet. This lengthy seven-kilometre (four-mile) stretch of shoreline is lapped by azure waters and plays host to mind-blowing marine life. One of its best-known features, however, is its pure silica sand.

For those unacquainted with silica, it is the softest, most luminescent sand out there. These fine grains maintain a cooler temperature in the hot sun – meaning your feet won’t burn as you sink in your toes into it, pose for a selfie or two, or stroll along the shore.

Everyone is accustomed to dodging dog-ends during a day at the beach, but thankfully, that’s not an issue here. Smoking is banned to help maintain beach purity, an action that is increasingly being adopted around the world. It takes an estimated 12 to 15 years for a cigarette filter to degrade at sea, so this measure not only keeps the beach looking photogenic but has a massive impact on ocean health, too.

Unlike many other world-renowned beaches, crowding isn’t a problem at Whitehaven as long as you pick a spot away from the main thoroughfare. Boats have the luxury of their own stretch of sand, so the sheer size of the beach means day-trippers can spread out and enjoy unspoiled views.

Azure waters

No matter where you are in the Whitsundays, waters of the truest turquoise surround you, but Whitehaven arguably offers the best. There’s no fringing reef near the shore, which makes the water especially clear and gentle – it’s like swimming in Evian.

Thanks to its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, marine life is in bountiful supply, and swimming off your boat is an exciting experience. Cruises provide stylish stinger suits to protect you from stingrays and other creatures such as jellyfish.

Keep your eyes peeled for sharks, but only because they are a cool sighting (don’t let their presence put you off). Most of the species you may encounter here are non-aggressive and disinterested in humans. Follow the basic advice readily available to ensure you stay safe while in the water.

Hill Inlet

Make sure you include Hill Inlet on your cruise, especially if you prefer doing activities to sunbathing. The beach’s famous turquoise water and white-sand formations are viewed best from a platform on Tongue Point – and are second only to the jaw-dropping panoramas from a seaplane or helicopter. Time your arrival with the low tide when the tide shift reveals its swirling display, showing nature at its most striking.

Getting there

Exploring the Whitsundays is simple. Catch a speedy 30-minute catamaran ride from Hamilton Island, or to make a day of it, book one of the numerous tours from Airlie Beach and the surrounding island resorts. As always, do your research before choosing an operator and pick one with an itinerary that appeals to you.

Options include booking a day cruise, allowing a few hours at the beach, or an overnight sailing experience to get a sense of paradise living. Skipper your own boat if you feel like escaping tour groups.

If you’re a keen explorer, the island has plenty of mixed-ability hikes that will reward you with stunning scenery and a glimpse of the local wildlife – saltwater crocodiles, anyone?

Perhaps you’re more into games and water sports? Kayaking, windsurfing and snorkelling en route are just some of the activities on offer. If your main aim is to relax and take in the beauty of your surroundings, some tours make a beeline for the most secluded spots, where you can simply sit back and enjoy the scenery.

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