BEACH: Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, Australia
WHERE: Stretching for seven blissful kilometers along the shores of the largest of the 74 Whitsunday islands, Whitehaven is a floating ribbon of white in the heart of the barrier reef.
H20: BLUEST OF BLUES
SAND TONE: BRIGHT WHITE
HOW: You can access Whitehaven by boat from the mainland tourist ports of Airlie Beach, Shute Harbour and Hamilton Island, with a high speed catamaran from Hamilton carrying you to the sparkling shores in a speedy 30 minutes. Those in the know often opt for seaplane, which gives you an unbeatable aerial view of the swirling myriad of colours created by the shifting tides.
WHY: Famed for its perfect white sand, at 98% silica the grains here are so pure and fine that some of them were reputedly purchased by NASA to make the lens of the Hubble space telescope. Our favourite quality of the sand is that it doesn’t retain the heat of the beating afternoon sun like the usual stuff, making it perfect for that post-slumber amble to the water’s edge. With seven kilometres worth of secluded sunbathing spots to find, the opportunity to snorkel with baby lemon sharks, and beautiful forest walks providing a shaded route to the breathtaking views of higher land, it’s no wonder that there are claims for Whitehaven being the best beach in the world.
STAY: Rest your head at the stunningly natural Qualia on nearby Hamilton Island. Stay in one of their light-filled timber, stone and glass pavilions, nestled in tropical bushland and enjoying uninterrupted views of the sea and surrounding islands. Take your pick between plane and boat as they arrange for your private transportation to Whitehaven, obviously including a picnic for kings.
WHEN: A year round tropical climate means that the Whitsundays are ready to be enjoyed whenever suits you best, however a stinger suit is recommended for swimming in the crystal waters between October and May. To catch a glimpse of the migrating humpbacks, pilot whales, and other species that come to the islands’ warm waters to calve and breed, pay a visit between July and September.