Things To Do On Whitehaven Beach

Saachi James-Mason on February 1st, 2024

Where is Whitehaven Beach and How to Get There:

Nestled on the east coast of central Queensland, approximately 1120km north of Brisbane and 630km south of Cairns, Whitehaven Beach is an icon that attracts thousands of tourists to its beaches annually. Located on Whitsunday Island in the Whitsunday group, there are several ways to get to Whitehaven Beach as it is easily accessible by boat, airplane or helicopter from Airlie Beach, Daydream Island and Hamilton Island.

Visitors have the choice of a full day tour that just goes to Whitehaven Beach for the day or a combo package tour that also includes a snorkelling trip to other sections of the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef.

They also have the option of several half day tours by boat or airplane or helicopter rides that may land on the beach for a swim and then fly off to another destination on the same day.

Which Whitehaven Beach Tour to Choose There are so Many?

When looking at Whitehaven Beach tours you need to look at what sections of Whitehaven Beach each tour operator will take you as there are 3 sections to this location. One is North Whitehaven Beach then South Whitehaven Beach and then there is the Hill Inlet. Follow this article here to explain the difference between north and south Whitehaven in much more detail.

Hill Inlet is the location where you traverse the hillside to reach the lookout points at the top, to have that magical view over the swirling white sands in the Inlet. The boats arrive at Tongue Bay and visitors walk to the other side of the island to take those magical images you see on the internet and socials. 

Once you have been to the top of Hill Inlet you can go down to the beach to dig your toes into the silky soft sands that you have read and heard so much about. This part of beach is not actually Whitehaven Beach, it is just another section of Whitsunday Island. However, the silica sand your toes are enjoying is identical to the sand across the Inlet, so it is really same same but different. 

Quite a few of the Whitsunday tour operators will call into Hill Inlet first and then make their way around to South Whitehaven Beach to spend the day there where you can again climb a lookout and see the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef from another vantage point and enjoy your time exploring Whitehaven Beach.

What is the Attraction of Whitehaven Beach:

Whitehaven Beach stretches over seven kilometres along Whitsunday Island, and it is often ranked among the world's best beaches. What sets Whitehaven Beach apart is its pristine, pure silica sand that consists of 98% silica. This unique composition means that the sand remains cool even on the hottest days, creating the perfect surface for beachgoers to sink their toes into. For us it’s the serenity!

Why Visit Whitehaven Beach, What Will I See?

1.   Whitsunday Island & Hill Inlet: Whitehaven Beach boasts a range of the Great Barrier Reefs natural wonders mixed with man-made accessibility for visitors to see Tongue Bay, Betty's Beach, Hill Inlet Lookout, South Whitehaven Lookout, and Chance Bay. These points of interest offer visitors access to captivating visual locations dotted throughout the Whitsunday Island's stunning landscapes.

2.   Walks & Lookouts: No matter where you are on Whitehaven Beach, you'll find a captivating lookout point. The southern end features a 1-kilometer walk through Australian native bush and rainforest, offering breathtaking views of the Whitsunday Islands National Park. On the opposite side of the northern end lies the iconic Hill Inlet, renowned for its swirling white sands and turquoise waters so you can take a walk to the northern end and see Hill Inlet on the opposite side.

3.   Camping on Whitehaven Beach: For a truly immersive island experience, consider camping on Whitehaven Beach. Limited camping spots are available on Whitsunday Island, allowing you to wake up to the stunning beach at your doorstep. Self-sufficient campers and boaties can anchor overnight off the beach, while national park campsites on the southern end offer rustic amenities. Whitsunday Camping can assist with your camping plans.

4.   Overnight Sailing and Yachting: The Whitsundays is known worldwide as sailor's paradise, boasting some of the world's most beautiful scenery, safe sailing conditions and a variety of liveaboard sailing yachts to choose from for people from all walks of life. With a vast fleet of crewed sailing vessels, luxury charter boats, motor yachts and superyachts there's an overnight sailing adventure for everyone. Just imagine watching the sunset over the Great Barrier Reef and then greet the morning as the beach starts to sparkle on sunrise, simply magical.

Things to Do on Whitehaven Beach:

Some folks are not real beach goers or what we call beach bums here in Australia, and we get asked all the time what can we do on Whitehaven Beach, what will we see and what experience will we have so we have written this blog to give you some tips and hints on all the things to do and things to see on Whitehaven Beach and from there you can make your choices. If still confused contact the team at Barrier Reef Australia and they will be able to assist.

1.   Paddleboarding: The crystal-clear waters surrounding Whitehaven Beach provide the perfect setting for stand-up paddleboarding. A few tours offer paddleboards or kayaks for a bit of extra fun gliding through the water, allowing you to take in the breathtaking surroundings from a unique perspective. These tours are operated on the South Whitehaven Beach section. 

2.   Capture the Ultimate WOW Factor Photo: As mentioned above, Hill Inlet is not really Whitehaven Beach as it sits on the opposite side of the inlet however lots of folks are happy to just go there and then down to the beach to feel the silica sands which are the same sand you find on the Whitehaven Beach section anyway. The short 1-kilometer return walk from Tongue Bay takes you to the Hill Inlet Lookout. This viewpoint offers an awe-inspiring view of North and South Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet, and the surrounding islands. The best time to visit is on a mid to low tide to witness the stunning patterns in tidal lagoons. This natural phenomenon is a photographer's dream.

3.   Marine Life Spotting: Hill Inlet on the opposite side of the northern end of Whitehaven Beach is a well-known nursery for marine life. You can spot baby stingrays, lemon sharks, and various small fish species as they cruise through the shallow lagoon. So, if you are on a day tour to South Whitehaven Beach you could walk up to the northern section and go on your very own nature walk.

4.   Visit Betty's Beach: If you're seeking a tranquil escape away from the crowds, Betty's Beach is a hidden gem on the northern end of Whitsunday Island at Hill Inlet. Once you have climbed the lookout, instead of heading back to where your boat is moored in Tongue Bay swing right and follow the trail down to a section of rocks that you need to climb over, and you have arrived at Betty’s Beach. This is a magical secluded spot, perfect for a quiet swim or sunbathing session. Just make sure your tour boat does not leave you behind. Speak to the crew first if you wish to explore Betty’s Beach.

5.   Beach Sports: The expansive southern end of Whitehaven Beach, stretching over 7 kilometres, is an ideal location for organising beach sports. Whether you're into beach cricket, volleyball, or simply want to enjoy a game of footy, there's plenty of space for everyone to have fun and the tour operators GSL even set up a beach club on a daily basis for all the fun beach activities.

6.   Picnic at Sunrise/Sunset on Whitehaven Beach: If you are on a liveaboard sailing holiday or a superyacht then this is the perfect thing for you to do if you are anchored off the beach overnight. Enhance your Whitehaven Beach experience with a romantic picnic during the serene hours of sunrise or sunset.

7.   Spot Local Wildlife: Whitsunday Island is teeming with marine and land-based creatures, from sea turtles and dolphins to lace monitor lizards and soaring sea eagles. Some you may be very surprised to see indeed. Have a look at this Government website link to see the native wildlife of the Whitsundays Islands National Park.  Keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready for memorable wildlife encounters.

8.   Wake Up in Paradise: Camping on Whitsunday Island is an opportunity too good to miss for nature enthusiasts. With basic amenities like picnic tables and hybrid toilets, it's a unique way to experience the beauty of the Whitsundays, waking up with the velvety white sand of Whitehaven Beach at your feet.

9.   Experience Whitehaven from the Air: Nothing quite compares to the breathtaking view of Whitehaven Beach from the air. Helicopter rides and airplane scenic flights offer stunning coastal views, while some helicopter flights even allow you to land on South Whitehaven Beach for a few hours to enjoy a swim or a picnic.

10.  Take a Whitehaven Beach Tour on a Boat: Numerous boat tours depart from Airlie Beach, Hamilton Island and Daydream Island, offering half day tours of around two hours or full day tours to experience the beauty of Whitehaven Beach. These tours range from sailing boats, fast catamarans, rib jet boats private charter yachts and superyachts.

11.  Helicopter Rides: Departing from Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island, helicopter rides offer both scenic views and the opportunity to land on these soft white sands and then fly off to another location such as Heart Reef or out to the Reef world pontoon where you can enjoy diving and snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef.

12.  Scenic Flights in a Plane: If you prefer a different perspective, consider taking a scenic airplane flight. These flights provide breathtaking views of the islands, surrounding waters, the Great Barrier Reef and Heart Reef.

13.  Visit Hill Inlet: Located at the northern end of Whitehaven Beach, (on the opposite side) Hill Inlet offers panoramic views of the beach and the mesmerizing swirling sands that merge into Whitsunday Island. Remember, you can only get here if you book a tour operator that anchors in Tongue Bay for a Hill Inlet tour.

14.  Walk to the South Whitehaven Beach Lookout: Opened in 2019 by Queensland National Parks, the South Whitehaven Beach Lookout at the southern end of the beach offers unparalleled views of the entire 7-kilometer stretch of the beach, Chance Bay, Pentecost Island, and the Lindeman Island group.

15.  Take a Walk Along the Beach: The expansive 7-kilometer stretch of Whitehaven Beach is perfect for a leisurely stroll. As you walk, you'll be treated to stunning surroundings, including turquoise waters, white sand dunes, and marine life playing in the calm waters.

16.  Visit the National Park: Whitehaven Beach is part of the Whitsunday Islands National Park, home to a range of flora, fauna, and wildlife. A walking trail to Chance Bay provides an opportunity to explore Whitsunday Island and its coral bays.

17.  Relax on the Beach: With its soft, white sand and crystal-clear water, Whitehaven Beach is the ideal place to relax. Whether you're sunbathing or taking a leisurely swim, this paradise offers the ultimate setting for unwinding.

Everything About Whitehaven Beach is Simply Stunning

Everything about Whitehaven Beach is a natural connection to nature and environment. It’s not a place with lots of hurried activity or things to do, it’s a place of beauty where visitors can come to appreciate what Mother Nature provides to us naturally. A place where we can be still and quiet away from the crazy world, we all envelope ourselves in daily. Whitehaven Beach offers visitors the opportunity to jump off that mouse wheel and just sit, relax, and just suck in the ambience of the beauty that surrounds you.

Saachi James-Mason

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