Visiting Whitehaven Beach at the Whitsundays in Queensland

Visiting Whitehaven Beach at the Whitsundays in Queensland

Paradise. I have summed up visiting Whitehaven Beach in one word. I think everyone has seen photographs of that stunning white sandy beach – consistently named as one of the (if not THE) most beautiful beach in the world. That beach is of course Whitehaven Beach which can be found in the Whitsunday Islands a group of 74 tropical islands off the Queensland Coast in Australia. Looking at the various tours to Whitehaven Beach we decided to take a half-day trip with Cruise Whitsundays to visit the beach and check it out for ourselves. And wow were we not disappointed – what we saw was just incredible.

A map of the Whitsundays in Australia - TOURS TO WHITEHAVEN BEACH

Whitehaven Beach

We booked the cruise through our accommodation in Airlie Beach though Cruise Whitsundays do have an excellent website where you can book directly (I would recommend this as I believe cruises can get booked up). There are a number of tours to Whitehaven Beach available and as we had to be back in Mackay in the late afternoon the half-day option to Whitehaven Beach suited us.


Check-in is at the Cruise Whitsundays Maritime Terminal. For the half-day morning cruise check-in is at 6.30 am (there is an afternoon half-day cruise to Whitehaven Beach available too). There is parking at the terminal which cost us $6 for 12 hours (there was plenty of spaces available at 6.30 am when we arrived but I can’t vouch for later in the day). It is an early start but if you don’t have time for breakfast before you arrive there is a cafe at the terminal!

We boarded the Cruise Whitsundays boat at 6.45 met by a very friendly and approachable crew! They kept us informed of the itinerary during the day as well as telling us lots of interesting information about the islands as we sailed through. After stopping off at Hamilton Island to pick up more passengers we sailed towards Whitehaven Beach with its 7 kms of pure white sand! The anticipation was mounting!

Due to the possibility of stingers we were all offered a stinger suit if we wanted it before arriving at the beach.

15 photographs that will inspire you to visit Queensland


When you arrive at Whitehaven you transfer to the beach from the main boat – see the photograph below! The first steps on that beach on that pure white sand is magical – the sand is 98% pure white silica and feels like no sand I have stood on before! Clean your jewellery with it, find that your feet will be exfoliated beautifully but just keep your phone and camera away from it!

whitehaven beach the whitsundays

Transfer to shore!

Whitehave beach in the Whitsundays

Look at that water!!

visiting whitehaven beach on the whitsundays

visiting whitehaven beach on the whitsundays

visiting whitehaven beach on the whitsundays

Lots of sea planes were visiting Whitehaven Beach too! Fantastic to watch them landing and taking off!

visiting whitehaven beach on the whitsundays

Check out the local wildlife too!

The Cruise Whitsundays crew set up a covered area on the beach where you can get water when you need it. We bought sandwiches and snacks on the boat to eat on the beach though beware of the seagulls as they can mob you to try and steal your food!

We spent 2 and a half hours on this beach paradise before transferring back to the boat. Make sure to shake yourself, bags, shoes etc off and leave the sand at the beach! Your feet will be washed as you get back on the boat to remove any last grains.

visiting whitehaven beach on the whitsundays

On return journey we were offered cakes and biscuits which were a welcome snack!

After changing boats at Hamilton Island we returned to Airlie Port at approximately 1.45 having had a fantastic morning with Cruise Whitsundays! I cannot wait to experience more of their cruises soon!

The Best Things to Do in Queensland Australia


  • Check out the Cruise Whitsundays website for up-to-date information and bookings.
  • The morning half-day trip cost $99 each (per adult) and $52 each for children aged 4-14.
  • Complimentary coffee and tea is available on the boat throughout the cruise.
  • Sandwiches, crisps and snacks are available to buy during the cruise as well as soft drinks, beers and wine.
  • Keep an eye out for whales at certain times of the year as the area is a favourite for Humpback Whales who calve in the warm waters between May and September.
  • Remember to take your swimsuit, towels and suncream!
  • Enjoy!!!
  • Check out this fabulous guide if you are planning to snorkel and want to know what gear you need – it tells you everything you need to know!
An unforgettable day with Brisbane Whale Watching


We spent an evening in Airlie Beach before travelling to Whitehaven Beach. We chose to stay at a more budget style accommodation as we arrived late and were leaving early the next morning but I would have been very happy to have stayed longer.

Bush Village Budget Cabins were clean, comfortable and exactly what we were looking for when we stayed in Airlie. CLICK ON THIS LINK to make your own booking at the Cabins! Enjoy!

UNESCO World Heritage Site

UNESCO World Heritage Site

When you are visiting Whitehaven Beach and the Whitsundays you find yourself in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981. To read more about its inscription read the listing on the UNESCO World Heritage Site HERE.

visiting whitehaven beach on the whitsundays

PIN FOR LATER –  Tours to Whitehaven Beach – A day in the Whitsundays





101 Things to Know When Visiting Australia
An unforgettable day with Brisbane Whale Watching
My top 5 things to do in Bowen Queensland


Author: Tracy

Tracy is your expert expat!

She has lived and worked in 7 countries on 4 continents and travelled to over 50 more. A qualified school teacher with an interest in history, reading, photography, nature and wildlife she is always planning her next trip (preferably by train)

With a lifetime of travel experience, and a network of friends all over the world, she is also able to share genuine insider guides, recommended best book lists and train journey inspiration to help you travel authentically to some of the most beautiful places on earth.

Through down-to-earth stories, tips and advice (based on her own extensive knowledge and experience of life as an expat) she also aims to support new and prospective expats to survive and thrive in Australia.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  1. September 5, 2017 / 10:55 am

    Visiting Whitsundays would be an absolute dream one day!! #CityTripping

    • September 7, 2017 / 9:59 pm

      Definitely – I couldn’t believe it when we were there as its somewhere I have wanted to visit for years 🙂

    • September 7, 2017 / 10:00 pm

      Yes – the Great Barrier Reef is a UNESCO site 🙂

  2. September 6, 2017 / 7:04 am

    Great post. Although it’s not far from Melbourne to Qld we have never visited the Whitsundays. Another one on the bucket list. Thanks for sharing. 🙂 #CittyTripping

    • September 7, 2017 / 9:58 pm

      Definitely! So lucky to have such amazing beaches in Australia and Whitehaven is really special – that sand is incredible!

  3. Linda Tallett
    September 7, 2017 / 10:00 pm

    And I thought the Maldives were the only paradise ? Great post Tracy, looks fab. Yet another place for the bucket list ???

    • September 7, 2017 / 10:03 pm

      I know! The sand at Whitehaven is amazing its like flour!! Never seen anything like it – all beaches will seem inferior now lol!!

  4. September 8, 2017 / 3:09 pm

    I wasn’t too impressed with Whitehaven Beach, but I did like Hill Inlet!

    • September 10, 2017 / 12:12 am

      Oh why not? We will make sure to get to Hill Inlet next time if you recommend it!

  5. September 9, 2017 / 12:50 am

    No doubt I want to visit this place one day! It looks so, so beautiful. So great you were able to go! #feetdotravel

    • September 10, 2017 / 12:12 am

      Yes it is amazing – plan to go next time for longer!

  6. September 11, 2017 / 12:04 am

    I am a beach snob so have visited many stunning beaches in my time, but Whitehaven is just in a different league! The sand is the softest I have felt and the different colours of the ocean are visually stunning. I cannot wait to return again one day! #FeetDoTravel

    • September 13, 2017 / 10:24 am

      It sure is Angie – that sand is just the most amazing ever!! No beach will compare for the quality of sand! And that ocean! Stunning!

  7. September 11, 2017 / 7:12 am

    Whitsundays are just stunning! Looks like you had a wonderful day, Tracy. I had to laugh when you mentioned the stinger suits – when we visited, I received the only stinger suit in a different colour than the rest of the group. They said that if there are sharks around, that’s the colour they’ll go for first. 🙂 Luckily we didn’t meet any sharks, and snorkelling was just amazing there.

    • September 13, 2017 / 10:22 am

      Let me know the colour Jurga so I can avoid it next time!! Luckily not stinger season when we visited but we still kept a look out!

  8. September 11, 2017 / 1:24 pm

    Oh my goodness, this looks so very beautiful! I would love to snorkel here and I like your idea of cleaning jewellery on that wonderful sand. My father visited the Whitsundays a few months ago but sadly couldn’t swim because of all the jellyfish there are in the water here. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    • September 13, 2017 / 10:21 am

      Yes we were lucky as its not jellyfish season though we were offered stinger suits just in case. The beach is incredible – the most amazing sand!

  9. September 11, 2017 / 5:50 pm

    Oh Tracy, this looks perfect! Think you have made a great decision if this is not far from you. #feetdotravel

    • September 13, 2017 / 10:20 am

      It is! And only an hour and a half by car – then a boat ride through the beautiful Whitsundays!

  10. September 13, 2017 / 4:06 pm

    Of course it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site! I would expect nothing less from you! *Wink, wink. What a marvelously beautiful place to explore in your new country! Congrats on the move and can’t wait to more of stunning Australia from you! This beach rocks. Or sands. That sand! That water! I haven’t been, but DEFINITELY want to go! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

    • September 14, 2017 / 8:36 am

      Thanks Erin! It certainly is stunning! I can’t wait to go back!

  11. September 15, 2017 / 6:47 am

    Wow, that really took me back. I sailed around the Whitsundays for a week many years and Whitehaven was a highlight o fthe trip. So white sunnies hardly stop the glare. I’m pleased you enjoyed it. I hope you’re settling in well to Mackay life.

    • September 15, 2017 / 7:05 am

      Thanks Shona! The Whitsundays are beautiful and we just loved Whitehaven so much we cant wait to go again!

  12. September 16, 2017 / 8:46 am

    I would definitely take the Cruise Whitsundays to the Whitehaven beach if I was in the area. The fact it is a UNESCO site is a bonus. I am on a mission to see all the seven natural wonders of the world and the great barrier reef is one of the two I have yet to see! I’m curious to how the sand feels on the feet out there too!

    • September 17, 2017 / 9:54 am

      Like flour David! It is so fine and soft! Will look forward to hearing what you think! And definitely book with Cruise Whitsundays!

  13. September 26, 2017 / 2:18 pm

    Ah, now I’m making connections! I kept hearing about the Whitsundays but didn’t realise where they were – now I know! Sounds like a cool trip! I’ve pinned for later.

    • September 26, 2017 / 9:46 pm

      Was a great trip and we are planning another weekend there soon though it will be stinger season so may have to wear a stinger suit!