Ever since my parents had a framed photograph of Whitehaven Beach hanging on their living room wall, it has been at the top of my Australian “must do” list.
Quite simply, that photograph looked like my idea of paradise.
Australia is home to over 10,000 beaches and whilst we have yet to put a small dent in that number, we have visited some of the most iconic: Cable Beach and Margaret River in Western Australia, Wineglass Bay in Tasmania, Byron Bay, and Bondi.
But we had yet to visit the most famous of them all, Whitehaven, and our expectations were HIGH, and for good reason.
Whitehaven Beach was recently ranked 3rd BEST beach in the world on Trip Advisor via their Travelers’ Choice Awards, and it also shot to fame when the queen of television, Oprah Winfrey, dug her toes into the sand on her legendary trip Downunder.
Located in the Whitsunday Islands in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, Whitehaven is 7km long and provides the foreground to the beautiful Whitsunday Islands National Park.
To say Caz and I were super excited to set foot on the pristine white silica sand, swim in the clear aqua water, and take hundreds of photos would be an understatement.
Not only was it our first ever visit, but we were going to Whitehaven with a group of blogging friends equally as excited as us to experience a piece of Aussie paradise.
It was going to be a dream come true.
Our journey to Whitehaven Beach started with an hour long cruise through the Whitsunday Islands from Airlie Beach.
Protected by national parks and untouched by human hands, we sailed through the azure and turquoise waters of paradise.
Forested islands, sandy coves, coral fringed beaches, and sand so white it illuminated the horizons surrounded us. We soaked it in with champagne, good conversation and the excitement of a 5-year-old on Christmas Eve.
First Glimpse of Whitehaven Beach
As Whitehaven Beach comes into view, you get your first appreciation of how breathtakingly beautiful this beach is, and for one that is SO FAMOUS, how incredibly lacking in people it is.
Setting foot on Whitehaven Beach
We left our mother ship and took the short boat ride into the shore. It was time to set foot on paradise.
The first thing you notice is where the “white” in Whitehaven comes from. The sand, amongst the purest in the world, is 98% pure silica which is why it is so white and powdery clean.
You can shine up your jewellery with the sand and give yourself a good exfoliation.
And try finding this much open space on Bondi or Byron Bay to lay your towel – can it get any better?
The Lookout at Hill Inlet, Whitehaven Beach
At the northern end of Whitehaven Beach, take the short walk through the tropical rainforest of Whitsunday Islands National Park which leads to a spectacular lookout.
From here you can witness “Hill Inlet”, a stunning cove where the tide shifts the sand to create a fusion of swirling colours.
I have marvelled at this site many times through photographs, but to witness it with my own eyes was truly breathtaking.
Don’t forget to swim at Whitehaven Beach
It’s tempting to stand at that lookout for hours and admire mother nature at its best. But we didn’t need a second invitation to strip down to our boardies and cozies and head for the shore.
The water is crystal clear, warm, and oh so inviting. I don’t think I’ve heard as many “Wows”, “oh my god’s” and “this place is paradise” in my life.
We frolicked, floated, and took more photos as we lapped up our moment in unspoilt nature.
Even Carly, a self-proclaimed winter destination person, couldn’t help but be blown away by the place that is, Whitehaven.
Celebrating with friends
The return ferry journey was one of celebrating with friends.
So come to Whitehaven. Feel the sand between your toes. Feel the cleanliness of the water. Feel yourself fall in love with Australia all over again.
Oh, and just for the record, the sunset on the way home is pretty damn good too.
From Brisbane you have the option of flying direct to Whitsunday Coast Airport at Proserpine with Jetstar and Virgin Australia and connecting to a ferry service from there.
There are also many motor cruisers and sailing yachts that offer trips from Airlie Beach and Island resorts. We jumped on the half day cruise from Airlie Beach.
For the ultimate experience, try a helicopter flight (blog post coming).
Plan Your Trip in the Whitsundays
We’ve been traveling consistently for 17 years and have come to rely on a few trusted websites that save us money and time when booking accommodation, flights and car rental. Below are our preferred partners:
Flights to the Whitsundays Car Rental
Flights to the Whitsundays
Have you visited Whitehaven Beach?
Share any advice in the comments.