Got your shades ready? Because you’re really going to need them at Whitehaven, the finest and possibly the brightest stretch of sand along Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Often acclaimed among the best beaches on the planet, Whitehaven stretches nearly five miles along the east coast of Whitsunday Island. Comprised of 98% silica, the strand is shockingly white — a giant ultra-bright smile stretching between a rocky headland at one end and a meandering tropical creek at the other.
Protected within the confines of Whitsunday Islands National Park, the beach is also incredibly pristine, not a single resort, restaurant or other edifice along it. Dogs are banned, so are campfires and smoking. All trash must be taken home.
Visitors can anchor offshore overnight or crash at a campground hidden in the shady eucalyptus woods and vine forest at the south end. Snorkelers can explore the coral around Esk Island, Lagoon Rock and Martin Islet. Trekkers can summit Hill Inlet for a bird’s-eye view looking south across the creek and beach.