What's a tropical island without a dreamy beach to go with it? The Whitsundays is no shrinking violet when it comes to the white sandy stuff. Some like famous Whitehaven need no introduction, others, like the wisp of sand on tiny Esk Island don't even have a name. These little gems are within reach of bareboat charterers with the luxury of creating their own itinerary. Here's our list of the ten best Whitsundays beaches.
Chalkies Beach, Haselwood Island
The poor cousin of famous Whitehaven Beach on the opposite shore of Whitsunday Island, Chalkies Beach is undeservedly neglected by most. Which is a little unfair but is a bonus for those who do venture ashore here. White silica sand and water every bit as aquamarine as Whitehaven make it pretty special. Snorkelling on the inshore reef is pretty cool too.
Catseye Beach, Hamilton Island
The beachside hub for Hamilton Island holidaymakers, Catseye Beach is one of the few north facing beaches (therefore protected from prevailing south easterly winds) in the Whitsundays. Subject to tides, at low tide rock hoppers poke among the nooks and crannies while at high tide the sea is dotted with colour Hobie cat sails, SUP boarders and kayakers. A pleasant strip of sand is shaded by coconut palms.
A slip of white sand that almost disappears at high tide, Langford Island is as close as you'll get to a coral sand cay the likes of which the Maldives do so well. Rock pool hoppers will be thrilled with a reef that exposes at low tide on the southern side of the sand spit while swimmers and sand castle builders should be equally satisfied.
Palm Bay, Long Island
A tiny cove with a narrow sliver of white sand peppered with coconut palms, Palm Bay sits on the west side of the narrow neck midway along Long Island. The location of a small resort whose fortunes rise and fall (currently on the rise), Balinese style huts line the shore. Bareboaters love this beach, running a mooring line ashore tied to a palm tree.
Lookout Beach, Whitsunday Island
Not to be confused with Whitehaven, Lookout Beach runs along Tongue Point and is froms the northern shore of Hill Inlet. Take the short walk up the lookout platform to capture Instagram-worthy photographs of the inlet with its snaking channels of sand and ocean.
Boathaven Beach, Airlie Beach
The new kid on the block, Boathaven Beach was created as part of Port of Airlie marina development. It's an all-tide beach on the peninsula known as The Beacons in downtown Airlie, with an enclosed marine stinger net in place during stinger season (generally November through May).
Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island
There's not much more than can be said about Whitehaven Beach that hasn't already been said. With a trophy cabinet bulging at the seams, it is deserving of every accolade. Put simply, the sea is turquoise and startling white sand stretches endlessly. Do Whitehaven in style by dropping in by seaplane, stepping ashore for a decadent beach picnic before flitting off into the skies.
Horseshoe Bay, Bowen
A crescent shaped cove bookended by granite outcrops connected by a wide expanse of clean white sand, Horseshoe Bay is Bowen's answer to Whitehaven. It's more than equal to the challenge. Bowen's not really on the Whitsundays tourist radar, but with beaches like this little gem it's a serious contender for Australia's best beaches list.
For the exclusive use of One&Only Hayman Island guests, Hayman's beach is a corker at high tide. Dotted with beach umbrellas and sun lounges at one end and Hobie cats, kayaks and SUP boards at the other, it's also the location for Hayman's famous Ocean Dream Massage. Laying supine on a shaded massage table in the shallows, as the tide laps gently around the table a masseuse soothes away bodily tension.
One of many un-named Whitsunday beaches, this one is a triangular shaped dollop of sand at the northern tip of Henning Island. It's popular with campers and is easily accessible for bareboat yacht charterers and dinghy hirers from nearby Hamilton Island. It's location near a busy waterway means there are plenty of distractions once you tire of looking at forest-clad islands.