We will be open at 10:30 am. Call 020 7590 0610
Blue Pearl Bay, Hayman Island, Whitsundays

The Best Beaches in the Whitsundays

Best Beaches in the Whitsundays

Article content

5 February 2016 by Daniel Wright

At the centre of the Great Barrier Reef there’s a chain of 74 islands whose white sand beaches and forested interiors are the only landmasses to disrupt the aquamarine waters of the surrounding Coral Sea. The Whitsundays, to give them their official name, are fast becoming the choice destination for cultured travellers, featuring some of the finest resorts, facilities and natural beauty in the world. However, with only eight of the islands being home to tourist developments, there are plenty of untouched oases just waiting to be discovered. With this in mind, we’ve put together this guide so you can find that perfect curve of sand on your Whitsundays adventure.

Hamilton Island

Hamilton is a lesson in quiet seclusion and refined luxury. More than two thirds of the island is protected national park meaning accommodation is carefully spaced; think pavilions handcrafted from local timber and stone. Take a jagged hiking trail through the tropical bush and past hidden inlets to Catseye Beach, an idyllic stretch of sand with a verdant green backdrop.

Whitehaven Beach

As possibly the Whitsundays’ best-known beach, you might be put off by its popularity. However, with its sands stretching over 7km, Whitehaven is far from spoilt or congested. Due to the sand being made up of 98% pure silica, it’s impossibly white, making for a particularly impressive contrast with the deep blues of the Coral Sea.

Long Island

Despite its rather unimaginative name, Long Island is anything but, with 13km of national park trails bringing you to some of the Whitsunday Islands' most idyllic beaches. Take a kayak and paddle out over the island’s coral reefs, or put on a mask and snorkel to get closer to the abundant marine life, which includes dolphins, turtles and seemingly hundreds of species of tropical fish.

Daydream Island

Only 1km in length and with nothing taller than its palm trees, this teardrop-shaped island widens to a 400m spit of white sand. That’s not to say, however, that it’s untouched as it features one of the world’s largest man-made reefs where marine biologists will guide you through sea cucumbers and coral gardens to clownfish and de-barbed baby stingrays. Hold a starfish and touch a shark in the lagoon’s predator nursery.

Airlie Beach

It's not strictly in the Whitsundays but we’ve included Airlie as a fine alternative. Once a backpacker favourite, its marina is now home to prestigious sailing yachts making it an ideal gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsundays. It’s also a lot easier to reach than the archipelago, being located on the mainland.

Hook Island

With its Pebble Beach more boulders than stones, Hook Island has some rugged alternatives as well as classic beaches. Indeed, it doesn’t even have permanent accommodation. However, its snorkelling opportunities and sublime coral gardens keep visitors coming back while its walking tracks are equally rewarding.

South Molle Island

One of the smaller islands in the collection, South Molle’s beaches are quiet and unassuming – perfect for a secluded retreat. What really makes it stand out, however, is its feathered fauna. Rainbow Lorikeets are fed every afternoon at the golf club and the bizarrely long bills of eastern curlews are often spotted. This being Australia, also watch out for green tree snakes and brown pythons.

Hayman Island

The Tropical Cyclone Debbie in 2017 had a major impact on World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef's Hayman Island, meaning the resort is temporarily closed. It's due to reopen in late 2018, where low-rise, boutique accommodation preserves natural sightlines as guests are treated to fine dining on the beach itself. Sip champagne as the day’s sun gives way to sparkling night skies.

Related offers

Sydney, the Whitsundays and Brisbane

15-day tailor-made journey from £1,995 pp incl. flights

Between the sights of Sydney and Brisbane, hop out to the Whitsundays to enjoy some island relaxation alongside hikes, cruises, kayak paddles and snorkelling trips.

Grand Australian Discovery

21-day escorted tour from £5,475 pp incl. flights

Uncover the best of Australia's iconic East Coast and the untamed landscapes of the Red Centre with escorted tour specialists, Travelmarvel by APT.

Luxury Lodges of Australia

16-day tailor-made journey from £8,945 pp incl. flights

Get up close and personal with wildlife, enjoy private views of Uluru, wander deserted beaches and indulge in exquisite food and wine with Luxury Lodges of Australia.

The Great Barrier Reef: Port Douglas, Daintree and Lizard Island

14-day tailor-made journey from £5,160 pp incl. flights

Visit the ancient rainforests of Queensland’s Daintree, relax in Port Douglas and unwind on Lizard Island, a remote hideaway on the Great Barrier Reef.

Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0610 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

Learn why Wexas is the leader in creating luxury holidays. What is tailor-made travel?

Expert advice & support

Visit us in our London office

Let our travel specialists curate the perfect holiday:

  • Inspirational ideas based on experience
  • Established for over 45 years
  • Tailor a holiday to your precise requirements
  • Personalised quotes and documentation
  • In-depth Wexas travel guides

Every step of the way

Every step of the way

Our services are with you from start to finish:

  • Dedicated personal consultants
  • Wexas Travel App
  • Free airport lounges on qualifying bookings
  • Care and guidance pre, post and during holiday
  • Full financial security: ABTA & ATOL protected