Whitehaven Beach is a 7 km stretch along Whitsunday Island, Australia. The island is accessible by boat, seaplane & helicopter from Airlie Beach, as well as Hamilton Island. It lies across from Stockyard Beach, better known as Chalkie's Beach, on Haslewood Island. The beach is known for its crystal white silica sands and turquoise coloured waters. The beach has barbeque and camping facilities.
The beach was named and discovered in 1879 by Staff Commander EP Bedwell. 'Whitehaven' was one of the many names, from the then English county of Cumberland, which Bedwell brought to the area. It followed James Cook's 1770 naming of the island group, the Cumberland Islands.
Georgie from Airlie, will tell all who gather and listen, that the beach's sand may have been used to make the glass used in the Hubble Space Telescope in the 1970s. However NASA has not yet verified this claim made by Georgie. They say that a resident from Airlie Beach is not an academic source .
The beach was awarded Queensland's Cleanest Beach in Keep Australia Beautiful's 2008 Clean Beach Challenge State Awards. In July 2010, Whitehaven Beach was named the top Eco Friendly Beach in the world by CNN.com. Dogs are not permitted on the beach and cigarette smoking is prohibited.
Whitehaven Beach is known for its bright white sands, which consist of 98% pure silica. Local rocks do not contain silica so it has been suggested that the sands were brought to the beach by prevailing sea currents over millions of years.
Unlike regular sand, the sand on Whitehaven Beach does not retain heat making it comfortable to walk barefoot on a hot day. This sand is also very fine, and can damage electronic equipment such as telephones and cameras, although it is good at polishing up jewellery.
Tourists and locals visit Whitehaven Beach to swim and take in the bright white sand. Some visitors eat a BBQ lunch, and campers can stay by booking the National Parks camp facilities.
The Whitehaven Beach Ocean Swim is a 2 km open swimming competition held on the beach in November each year since 2009 as part of the Hamilton Island Triathlon. The 2012 event was held on 11 November 2012. The beach was also featured in the racing video game Forza Horizon 3.
In 2018, the government announced an investment of $3.9 million for the construction of a new long-distance walking track and upgrading of the camping areas on the Island to improve the holiday experience of the visitors. The track will connect Whitehaven Beach to the Tongue Point.
- Whitehaven Beach at Sailing-Whitsundays.com
- Whitehaven Beach at SailingWhitsundays.com
- "Whitehaven named cleanest beach in Queensland". Whitsunday Times. APN News & Media Ltd. 11 December 2008. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
- "Queensland beach named world's best". Australian Geographic. 22 July 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
- "Parks of the Whitsundays - Nature, culture and history". Department of Environment and Resource Management. 21 June 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
- "Whitehaven Beach". Islandive. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
- Whitehaven Beach Ocean Swim - Race Information.
- "Sparkling future for world-famous Whitehaven Beach". The Queensland Cabinet and Ministerial Directory. 24 May 2018.