Whitehaven Beach
Whitsunday Island's iconic beach

Map of the Great Barrier Reef

The iconic award-winning Whitehaven Beach lives up to its name by providing a deliciously secluded haven for visitors who want to enjoy the pristine location. Ideal for anyone who wants to explore the Great Barrier Reef, Whitehaven Beach is especially reputed for its sun-kissed silica sand that stretches for nearly seven kilometers.

Walking on Whitehaven Beach

If you haven’t heard of it, you may be thinking, where is Whitehaven Beach? Whitehaven Beach just off the coast of Queensland’s Airlie Beach, and is part of the world-famous Whitsundays Islands, an assortment of 74 islands known for their unblemished beauty.

Unlike other beaches, the sand in this area never becomes increasingly hot in spite of the weather, which enables you to enjoy a comfortable barefooted stroll in the middle of summer. Whitehaven Beach was even awarded the highly-coveted “Queensland’s Cleanest Beach” by Keep Australia Beautiful.

Getting To Whitehaven Beach

To reach the island, tourists can hire a boat from Shute Harbour, Airlie beach or Hamilton Island. There’s also the option to take a helicopter (pictured below) or seaplane.

Helicopter taking off from Whitehaven Beach

To get to Whitehaven Beach from Airlie Beach via boat takes just over one hour for higher speed vessels, and around two hours for sailboats. If you are lucky enough to fly direct to Whitehaven Beach on a helicopter or seaplane adventure the trip time can be as little as 15 minutes.

One of the easiest ways to get to Whitehaven Beach is by catching a ferry from Arlie Beach. The ferry typically takes 1 hour and 20 minutes and is usually done as part of a guided tour.

The ferry departs hourly from Airlie and will take you to the Hamilton Marina, pick up additional passengers and from there it is about a 30 min ride to Whitehaven Beach.

Diving Adventures

Whitehaven Beach is an excellent diving spot, especially if you want to explore the Great Barrier Reef. Wing Diving Adventures, for example, offers different types of adventure tours with overnight stays on the company’s eco catamarans.

In fact, this company also offers 2-3 night adventure tours, enabling you to spend as much time as you want scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef.

diving at Whitehaven Beach

Often hailed as Australia’s most remarkable attraction, the Great Barrier Reef is abundant with corals and rich marine life with no less than 3000 types of reef systems. Scuba divers will also appreciate the coral cays that dot the lagoon.


Whitehaven Beach is especially reputed for its scenic camping spots where you can spend the night in the middle of nature, after an exhilarating day of visiting the Great Barrier Reef.

camping on Whitehaven Beach

With a plethora of campsites, Whitehaven Beach also offers a glorious view of the unblemished night sky, something that will undoubtedly please amateur and professional star-gazers alike.

If you want to hire a private boat to camp on Whitehaven Beach, rest assured that the process is relatively inexpensive, but you still need to procure a permit.

No permit is needed if you’re planning on reaching the beach on your own boat.

Visitors who are planning longer stays to check out the Great Barrier Reef in all its glory should also take the necessary precautions since the island is not equipped with drinking water. In fact, according to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, campers should make provisions for five litres of water per day and per person.

Hill Inlet

Whitehaven Beach is also known for its Hill Inlet, a charming little cove where visitors will undoubtedly marvel at the incredible swirl of colors that happen every time the tides shift. Several tourists describe the shifting of the tides as a unique mosaic where the azure lagoon seamlessly lends itself to the white silica sand.

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can also book a scenic helicopter ride above Hill Inlet to watch the magic happen from high above. Several companies also offer seaplane rides to help you experience this unique scenery.

On these trips, you will also be able to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the Great Barrier Reef.

Hill Inlet

While you may want to take home some sand as a souvenir, it is protected under the Great Barrier Reef National Marine Authority, and it’s also situated in a national park, so you can’t take any sand from Whitehaven with you.


Great Barrier Reef Experiences

There are plenty of things to experience on Great Barrier Reef.

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About 'greatbarrierreef.org'

greatbarrierreef.org is a 'Web Magazine' website that is dedicated to all things related to the Great Barrier Reef. We are passionate about Australia's great natural wonder, its vast marine life, its golden sun-kissed beaches, its warm turquiose waters and the unforgetable experiences that are waiting for all who visit. Our aim is to discuss the Great Barrier Reef, its history, its environment, its marine life and its spectacular destinations. We hope that this website will inspire all who visit, just as much as the Great Barrier reef has inspired us.

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