Welcome to Paradise! – Whitehaven Beach

Welcome to Paradise – Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, Australia

From the first time I saw a photo of Whitehaven Beach this place went on my bucket list and it didn’t disappoint.

I’m a cynic, I’m always prepared for a beauty spot to not look as good as it does it the photos of glossy magazines and travel brochures. Looking down on Whitehaven Beach  I couldn’t quite believe that it was possible for nature to look so utterly beautiful, so vibrant and so crafted to precision.

View from above of swirling Whitehaven Beach

I love the feeling of accomplishment when I finally see something that I have been dreaming about for ages, ticking it off the bucket list, and it is just as beautiful as all the photos I had seen and as I had hoped and imagined. Whitehaven Beach proved my cynicism unwarranted.

I’ve found paradise!

I literally had to be dragged away from the look out over Whitehaven Beach, I was mesmerized by the beauty I saw below me, the swirls of turquoise water that curled around the pure white silica sand, stretching as far as I could see until framed by the luscious green, jungled hills of the Whitsunday Islands.

I could have gazed upon the swirling ocean from the hill inlet lookout on Whitsunday Island for hours but I was soon glad I got dragged away as our ocean rafting speed boat swerved through the turquoise swirls I had just been admiring from afar.

A picnic in paradise

When it came to a stop I was once again blown away by the beauty of this place as we waded through the still, clear, water to an island made out of pure, white, silica sand in the middle of the turquoise swirls.

The stunning colours of Whitehaven Beach, the best location for a picnic I’ve ever had!

As I laid out the towel, cracked open the wine and got started on the dips that formed our picnic in paradise I was still awed by it all. To the horizon was nothing but turquoise and pure white sands.

Whitehaven Beach is absolutely spectacular and it’s easy to see why this Queesnland paradise has been voted one of the finest beaches in the whole world.

Whitehaven Beach is a 7 km long stretch of bright, white sands. The reason the sand is so white is from the 98% pure silica thought to have been brought to the beach by sea currents over millions of years. Unlike regular sand, the silica sand on Whitehaven Beach is very fine and does not retain heat so it doesn’t get uncomfortable to walk barefoot on a hot day.

jumping for joy on whitehaven beach

Jumping for you against the stunning scenery of Whitehaven Beach

After taking some almost obligatory jumping for joy photos in the amazing scenery, we finished the food and wine and swam in the shallow waters. I couldn’t believe that we were having a picnic right in the middle of the turquoise swirls that I had dreamed of seeing for so long.

Our time on the beach sadly came to an end. Now I really didn’t want to leave, the swirls of Whitehaven beach and hill inlet were now even more pronounced as the tide drew out and I had to be dragged away again.

Cruising through paradise

whitsundays yacht

There are many ways to experience the Whitsunday Islands – a popular way is to spend a few days cruising on a yacht

The boat powered through the sparkling water under the bright Queensland sun overtaking yachts and passing through the drowned, forested peaks that make up the 74 stunning Whitsunday Islands. I kept my eyes pealed for whales and dolphins but unfortunately there weren’t any that day but I can’t complain too much as I had been lucky enough to see the majestic gentle giants of the seas up close while whale watching in Hervey Bay before.

We zoomed past the expensive and exclusive island that houses Hayman resort, slowing down when a huge mantaray, the size of a person, was spotted hugging the rocky coastline of a island until we came across Maureen’s Cove.

You can even camp in paradise for $5!

You can actually camp in this wonderful, pristine, island wilderness, and also on some of the other Whitsunday Islands. You will need a permit costing $5.75 pppn to camp on the Whitsunday Islands, you will need to book early though and bee self sufficient. See QPWS website for details and to get a permit. A small price to pay for your own secluded piece of paradise!

whitehaven beach whitsundays

You can even wake up in paradise camping on secluded islands in the Whitsundays

The underwater paradise

I donned a snorkel and plunged into the water to experience the underwater world of coral, reef and fish life in the Whitsunday Islands that is actually part of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest reef system.

In front of me, in this underwater  world, hundreds of fish swam around me, apparently unphased by my presence. Black and white zebra striped fish, blue and yellow fish and a bright blue parrot fish with pinkish lips that suckled at the reef that was my favourite.

As I swam the visibility became unclear and then I realized it was a huge shoal of small silvery fish, all swimming along in a never ending stream of sardines. The shoal of fish never got frenzied, just calmly parted for me and as I swam, the steady stream of flashes of silver fish parted like magic to let me through. Soon I was swimming slowly amazed at how the fish created an impenetrable wall of silver as they encircled all around me with fish so thick and so far that I could see nothing else, even covering the sandy floor of the reef.  Such a magical experience swimming with a shoal of thousands of silvery fish

shoal sardines whitsunday islands

Swimming with a shoal of sardines was a magical experience. Photo credit: National Geographic

I lay out on the side of the boat to dry under the warm Queensland sun and when I looked down I saw two huge fish below the boat. The huge, grey grouper with his big, puckered purpley, green lips stared up at me, almost making eye contact somehow.

All too soon our ocean rafting boat turned for home, racing, swerving and splashing alongside another as we speed back to Airlie Beach, the launching pad for the Whitsundays. There are many ways to experience the wonderful Whitsundays for all budgets, from camping and backpacker tours to 5 star resorts and luxury yachts so don’t let budget put you off seeing this beautiful place for yourself.

I’ve been lucky enough to see some stunning sights in the last 18 months from California to Thailand’s beaches to Halong Bay, Sydney Harbour, Angkor Wat and the Taj Mahal but truly, Whitehaven Beach was right up among the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen! See my other highlights of 2014 here.

airlie beach sunset

Sunset at Airlie Beach on the perfect day at Whitehaven Beach

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Have you been to Whitehaven Beach? Did you love it as much as I did?

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