Whitehaven Beach is known as one of the best beaches in Australia and like many places around the world, claims to have the whitest sand known to mankind. To be fair the sand is pretty damn white and this beach is bloody epic, so we will let Australia do it’s little humble brag and claim to have the whitest sand in the world. The beauty of this beach is that is a bit out of the way, which means it isn’t too busy. Boats drop off tourists for day-trips as do helicopters with couples on tours. However, the best way to experience the whitest sand in the world is camping at Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays.
WHITEHAVEN BEACH FLIGHTS
Another way to see Whitehaven Beach is from the air. In fact, it is actually the best way to see it because Hill Inlet looks amazing from above with all of its patterns. You can either take a helicopter flight or a scenic plane flight. I think the helicopter is always better because they can hover a bit for photos and look around. You can book both online before you go to make sure you secure your flight. The plane flights are generally cheaper than the Helicopter flights and you do still get a great view.
Book a tour: Helicopter Flight over Whitehaven Beach
Book a tour: Scenic Plane Flight over Whitehaven Beach
CAMPING AT WHITEHAVEN BEACH
The night we camped it was myself and my sister at our campsite and a couple of hundred yards away was another couple. That was it. Just four of us on one of Australia’s best beaches. All of the tourists had left at sunset and no-one arrived til after sunset. Camping at Whitehaven Beach was the ultimate way to experience not only Whitehaven Beach but the nearby Hill Inlet and the Whitsundays region.
We did the adventure with Scampers Island Camping Transfer. It was perfect for a traveler like me who definitely doesn’t carry around a tent, cooler, cooking gear, and other camping essentials.
Transfer to and from Hamilton Island was handy for me in the purpose-built Scamper aluminum boat. However, you can also get the Scamper Island transfer from Airlie Beach, which is part of mainland Australia. For $40 on the first night and $20 for each additional night, they will rent you the tent and basic camping gear. You can check out the transfer prices from your destination and see what Scamper is all about on their website by clicking here.
Scamper picked us up from the airport ferry dock at about 9 am. I was a little hungover from my cousins wedding the night before (the reason I was actually on Hamilton Island). Needless to say, I wasn’t stoked to be getting on a boat to battle the waves. Luckily the journey was only about 45 minutes and the Scamper boat got me there in one piece.
We arrived mid-morning to begin our Whitehaven Beach Camping experience. There were one or two other boats at the beach with day-trippers but along the 8km of sand, we would be able to share it with fifty odd tourists.
THE CAMPSITES AT WHITEHAVEN BEACH
The campsites are slightly hidden behind the trees. The day-trippers probably don’t even know they are there. Purpose built clearings have been made for 4-5 individual campsites with their own privacy. A communal toilet block with no running water is in the middle of the campsite.
First things first it was time to get the tent and campsite set up. We were only staying one night but it’s always good to get ready early. As we were setting up we had our first interaction with the Aussie wildlife. A huge Goanna casually strolled through our campsite as if he was dropping by to say hello. Several other Goanna’s cruised around the campsite during that morning as we set up and it was pretty surreal. I can’t imagine being a city slicker from overseas and having a 2-meter-monitor lizard watch you set up the tent on a deserted beach!
I was dying to go and explore Whitehaven Beach and make it all the way down to the Hill Inlet, which is one of the most spectacular aerial views in Australia. Camping at Whitehaven Beach was a blast, we just grabbed our day packs and strolled down the beach towards the Hill Inlet. Often at times, we felt like we were on a deserted island. On a beach this long you are often entirely alone.
Along the journey, we stopped in to check out a colony of crabs thousands strong as they scurried across the sand. During the journey to Hill inlet, we also investigated some dead trees, damaged by the cyclone/storm of 2017 that ravaged the region and Whitehaven Beach. We were in full exploration mode and loving the adventure.
HILL INLET AT WHITEHAVEN BEACH
After a couple of hours, we arrived at Hill Inlet and the tide was a bit high to pass so we stayed on the southern end of the Hill Inlet. I sent up the drone and enjoyed every second of flying over this epic landscape. It had been on my bucket list for a while so it was super cool to combine Hill Inlet with camping at Whitehaven Beach. There’s probably no better way to explore this region other than possibly getting up top in a chopper. However, a chopper ride is short lived and we had 24-hours to fully take in Whitehaven Beach on our camping adventure.
We made the journey back to our campsite area just in time for the golden hour, grabbed some snacks and then headed back out to the beach to watch the sun disappear over the mountains and the sea-planes to leave Whitehaven Beach. The sunset was a pearler and we felt so relaxed as the last boat left and we and the other couple were the only four people on the island!
A good nights sleep in the tent was followed by an early wake up as we went up to the viewpoint to see if we couldn’t double our luck with a beautiful sunrise to go with the sunset from the night before. Despite it being cloudy and windy there was a small window where the sun shone through and made for a beautiful scene as we sat atop the rock watching the clouds roll through.
For the rest of the morning, we spent the day beach-bumming and soaking up the good vibes of our camping experience at Whitehaven Beach. There are a few hikes in the area and lots to explore on paddleboards like our camping neighbors. I would have loved to stay for 2-3 nights and highly suggest doing so if you have the time. If not, one night is still fun and it’s a great way to really enjoy the beach and the region. When we saw the day-trippers coming to the beach, they really only sat where they were dropped off, took some selfies and went home. I’m sure they had fun but this beach and region have quite a lot of cool spots and activities to offer if you take the time to explore.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO CAMPING AT WHITEHAVEN BEACH
- You need to bring all of your own water
- You need to bring all of your own food
- Bring toilet paper
- There are no facilities other than a drop toilet
- There is no wifi
- Bring warm clothes as it can get cold overnight depending on the time of year
- Never leave any food out where mice, lizards, snakes or bugs can find them
- You must take out all of your trash with you