Whitehaven: Australia's Beach Paradise
by Katie McCabe | @awelltraveledpair | April 22th, 2018
Whitehaven Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Located in Australia's Whitsunday Island chain, this four mile stretch of sand is the definition of paradise. Surrounded by swirls of turquoise water and the purest sand in the world, Whitehaven Beach is the thing dreams are made of.
How to Get There
Located off the east coast of Australia, this gorgeous archipelago is in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. On the largest island - Whitsunday Island - is the stunning Whitehaven Beach. The only way to get to Whitehaven Beach is by boat, helicopter, or seaplane. There aren't any hotels on Whitsunday Island and overnight camping is not allowed. Therefore, local tour operators offer numerous daily trips out to this idyllic place from nearby towns, like Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island.
Where to Stay
If you're planning a trip to Whitehaven Beach, then your best bet is to find a hotel in either Airlie Beach or on Hamilton Island. We stayed at the Reef View Hotel on Hamilton Island and it was perfection. Hamilton Island is a tiny island next to Whitsunday Island and consists of a handful of hotels, restaurants, shops, a golf course, a marina, and a small airport. At the Reef View, we had an amazing two-story hotel room overlooking the mesmerizing Great Barrier Reef. If you stay there, book a Reef Suite - trust me!
Flights to Hamilton Island are frequent, inexpensive, and quick. We flew non-stop on Qantas from Sydney to HMI for $150 USD round-trip per person.
Airlie Beach is a busy town located on Australia's mainland, and is packed with hotels, restaurants, shops, and pretty much everything you need, but it lacks the exotic island vibe that you'll get on Hamilton Island.
Both places are great, it just depends on what you're looking for - island relaxation or a busy beachside town.
What to Do
There are numerous activities to do on and around Whitehaven Beach. There's the typical snorkeling, scuba diving, boating, and of course, beach relaxing. If you're looking for a little more adventure, taking a helicopter or seaplane tour over the sprawling Great Barrier Reef is quite an exhilarating experience. Hamilton Island Air offers fantastic helicopter tours from Hamilton Island, and Air Whitsunday has exciting seaplane tours that leave from Airlie Beach.
For those of you looking to stay a little closer to the ground, or the sea in this case, then check out Cruise Whitsundays or Explore. Both companies offer full and half day trips to Whitehaven Beach, scuba diving and snorkeling adventures in the Great Barrier Reef, and romantic or family-friendly dinner cruises. Cruise Whitsundays and Explore operate from both Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island.
Another fun activity to do near Whitehaven Beach is hike to the breathtaking Hill Inlet. You cannot access Hill Inlet directly from Whitehaven Beach, so be sure to sign up for a tour that stops there. You don't want to miss this beauty!
TIP: Go to Hill Inlet during low-tide. The sand bars are more prominent and look jaw-droppingly beautiful.
When To Go
The Whitsunday Islands experience warm tropical weather year-round. The average temperature during the summer months of December, January, and February is 87° F. Even though this is the rainiest time of year, the frequent showers are usually very brief. The winter months of June, July, and August are slightly cooler with an average temperature of 75° F. This makes the Whitsundays a great holiday destination during any month.