If you’re travelling to the Great Barrier Reef, it’s certainly worth spending a day exploring the Whitsunday Islands National Park and Whitehaven Beach!
The Whitsundays are just a short boat trip from Airlie Beach, about 900km from Brisbane. The are is known for its perfect white sands, crystal clear waters and pristine beaches.
The sand in the area is the result of a now dormant volcano just off the coast which produced the spectacular white silica sand. Aside from the beautiful white colour, the silica sand has the added benefit of never getting above about 26 degrees Celsius so it’s perfect to walk on bare foot year round.
The Whitsunday Islands and the surrounding area is internationally significant and protected as part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. It was the first such area ever declared in Australia and is still the largest ever established.
If you’re short on time, a great way to explore the area is via one of the many available day trips.
Tours leave from most of the island resorts in the Whitsundays, including Hamilton Island, Daydream Island and Long Island.
One of the best walking trails at Whitehaven Beach is accessible only by boat. You begin your walk at Chance Bay and then follow stone steps up into a thick rainforest. Native hoop pines on the headlands and hillsides support a variety of native fauna including beautiful birds and rock wallabies native to the area.
After an uphill walk of about 15 minutes, the trail opens up to three fantastic viewing platforms of the white sands and surrounding waters. If you’re lucky, between May and September you might be able to spot a migrating humpback whale!
After soaking up the views on one of three platforms, the path will gradually take you down to the waters edge where you can see baby rays relaxing in the crystal blue waters by the shore. The entire circuit can be done in as little as 30 minutes but it is definitely recommend you take your time to enjoy this world renowned location.
Finish your day of adventure off with some snorkelling before heading back to either Airlie Beach or one of the beautiful island resorts.