Why Whitehaven Beach Is the Best Beach in the World

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In 2021, TripAdvisor named Whitehaven Beach the best beach in the world, Let’s look at why it was voted #1.

Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsunday Islands is considered the greatest beach in the world. Its sand is almost entirely 98% pure silica, a breathtaking sight. The Coral Sea’s warm waters are brilliant for swimming and taking it easy.

The Hill Inlet Lookout provides glorious views of the sand swirls. The South Whitehaven Lookout shows a great view of the entire 7 kilometer beach.

As an extra, it’s also part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

To discover this island paradise, you’re just a Whitehaven Beach Tour away! Join the excitement with numerous local tourism operators departing from Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island. Discover the wonders of Whitehaven Beach Tours today!”

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Rare Soft White 98% Pure Silica Sand

Whitehaven Beach is renowned for its 98.9% pure white silica sand. It is so delicate and powdery that it can harm electronic equipment, and its source is still unclear.

The sand of Whitehaven Beach is a unique blend of silica, quartz and feldspar. Over millions of years, these minerals have been weathered away from rocks, creating the light-hued grains of sand that make up the beach’s shore.

But where did this sand originate? Geologists suggest that it was brought to Whitsunday Island and Haslewood Island by ocean currents, waves and forceful storms, rather than originating from Whitsunday Island itself.

In a rare trait, the sand doesn’t store heat, so visitors don’t burn their feet no matter how hot the day is. It also makes an excellent polish for jewellery.

It’s important to remember that the Great Barrier Reef National Marine Authority manages Whitehaven Beach. This means that all sand needs to be left on the beach. If you want to visit Whitehaven Beach, consider discovering the selection of Whitehaven Beach Tours that visit here daily.

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Crystal-clear warm waters

The waters of the Coral Sea in the Whitsunday Islands are renowned for their crystal-clear warmness. The blue colour is caused by a mix of things, including the absorption of light and colour by the water, the fine sediment found in the Whitsundays, and the cleanliness of the water.

Impurities like algae, silt and pollution can reduce the scattered blue light, with the amount of water and its depth also having an impact. Contrasting the blue of the water is the world’s whitest sand, creating an amazing contrast between the blue water and the white sand.

This mesmerising mix of blue and white tones in the Whitsundays attracts many people who come to view the beauty of Whitehaven Beach from the sky or up close.

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Hill Inlet Swirling Sands

From Hill Inlet Lookout, visitors can see the spectacular views of swirling sands and the glistening waters of the Whitsunday Islands. Accessing the lookout requires a boat ride at the northern end of Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island. The platforms have been redesigned to give a 180-degree view, ideal for taking photos and sightseeing. Low tide is the best time to go to the lookout, as the tide patterns make the sand swirl in hues of turquoise.

Visitors can also participate in talks by tour guides and learn more about the local wildlife. Humpback whales can be seen migrating around the Whitsunday Islands from July to August. On the way to the lookout, people may spot goannas, birds and other animals.

Hill Inlet Lookout is a popular spot for travellers going to the Whitsundays, If Hill Inlet is on your must-do list see my guide on how to choose the right Whitehaven Beach Tour for you. The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service looks after the path to the lookout to ensure everyone has a safe journey.

Hill Inlet Lookout is a place to check out, providing an unforgettable experience.

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South Whitehaven Lookout

From South Whitehaven Lookout, visitors can appreciate the amazing views of 7km of the beach throughout the year. It is well-known as one of the top 10 beaches in the world and walking along the track through native bush, it’s easy to see why.

The path starts from the south end of Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island in Queensland, Australia, and is roughly 1km in length. At the peak, people can admire Chance Bay on one side and the brilliant white sand of Whitehaven Beach on the other.

The beach is remarkable with its sand which is almost 97% silica and is so white and pure. At sunrise or sunset, the sun reflects off the sand and creates a stunning show of colours.

The views from South Whitehaven Lookout are incredible and offer the opportunity to witness the beauty of Whitehaven Beach in full. From the local rainforest, native bush, to the 7km of white sand, the lookout provides an unforgettable experience.

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Whitehaven Beach is part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area

Whitehaven Beach is part of the 348,000 square kilometre Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. It’s recognised as one of the most stunning beaches in the world, with its crystal-clear turquoise waters and diverse marine life. It’s a great spot for snorkelling and diving and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) is working to protect the area from the effects of climate change. The Reef is also culturally significant to Indigenous Australians, making it a special place with great historical and spiritual importance.

The coral reefs at Whitehaven Beach are home to a wide range of fish, turtles and other marine life, making it a unique experience. The Reef is also home to some of the oldest living organisms on Earth, giving us a glimpse into its origins.

Whitehaven Beach is an important part of the incredible Great Barrier Reef. It offers visitors a chance to see its abundant marine life, to snorkel and dive, and to understand its cultural significance. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone wanting to experience the wonders of the world’s greatest natural wonder.

Consistently Ranked Among the World’s Top Beaches

below are the awards this epic beach has won over the last 10 years, as you will see this determines year on year why Whitehaven Beach is the best beach in the world.

Year Ranking Source
2013 3rd TripAdvisor 2013 Travelers' Choice Beaches Awards
2014 5th TripAdvisor World's Best Beaches Travelers' Choice Awards
2015 9th TripAdvisor World's Best Beaches 2015 Travelers' Choice
2016 12th Escape - World's Best Beaches 2016
2017 1st Forbes - The World's 50 Best Beaches
2018 2nd Insider - Best Beaches in the World 2018
2019 2nd Forbes - The 2019 List of the World's Best Beaches
2019 Top 25 Insider - Best Beaches in the World According to Travel Experts
2020 None
2021 1st TripAdvisor World's Best Beaches 2021
2022 11th Time Bulletin - Top 50 Best Beaches in the World 2022
2023 4th World's 50 Beaches - Top 50 World's Best Beaches
2023 3rd World Beach Guide - Top 100 Beaches on Earth


What facilities are on Whitehaven Beach?

The day area at the south end of the beach has toilets (composting) and sheltered picnic tables.

Can you swim at Whitehaven Beach?

Whitehaven Beach is known for its shallow, tropical waters with an average temperature of 26°C, making it suitable for swimming year-round. It is a safe beach with no rips or swells.

Can you buy food at Whitehaven?

Whitehaven Beach is remote and unspoiled, with no shops nearby. The closest shops are located on Hamilton Island or in Airlie Beach on the mainland

Can you take sand from Whitehaven Beach?

Whitehaven Beach is a national park with strict regulations to protect it; it is illegal to remove any sand, coral, shells, rocks, or wildlife.

What is the length of the beach in km?

The beach is 7km long and is in the shape of a half-moon. You cannot walk the length of the beach on a tour due to its size and time constraints; however, if you are using the South campground, it’s very possible to walk the entire beach if you have a high fitness level.

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