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Can You Swim At Hill Inlet?

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Tom Linkins
Updated Fri 26 May 2023

Woman in a red bikini swimming in blue crystal waters

Yes, you can absolutely swim at Hill Inlet. Despite the local population of stingrays and lemon reef sharks, it's a stunning and relaxing spot to take a dip! And it’s not as dangerous as it sounds! In fact, it’s as safe and serene as your daydreams. 

Hill Inlet is picture-perfect. The white silica sands of Whitehaven Beach and crystal clear waters are a staple of the Whitsunday region’s magnificence, and you’re likely to have seen their natural beauty grace everything from postcards to your sweetest dreams.

Marine life at Hill Inlet

Keep in mind you’ll be sharing the waters with a few finned and winged friends. The waters of Hill Inlet are home to dolphins, lemon reef sharks, stingrays, and, between July and August, even humpback whales!

No need to fret about the lemon reef sharks, these fellas are pretty chill and typically uninterested in humans. In fact, there are zero recorded cases of fatal attacks by lemon reef sharks — but, as polite visitors in their territory, we still like to respect their space.

Reef shark in clear waters at Hill Inlet

Stingrays at Hill Inlet

As for the stingrays, they love the shallow waters of Hill Inlet, and can often be found making meals out of the soldier crabs buried in the sand as the tide comes in. There are a variety of species that occupy the region but the cow tail stingray in particular accounts for a lot of the ray traffic.

As always, exercise extreme caution in ray-populated waters. Whilst these winged beauties aren’t out intentionally hunting for humans, they can become territorial and reactionary when threatened. And if that’s still a little too close for comfort for you, head up to Hill Inlet Lookout to see the winged beauties gliding through the shallows from afar!

Stingrays in Whitehaven Beach waters

Stinger season at Hill Inlet

Jellyfish tend to go it alone until the warmer months when the increase in temperature gets them hot and heavy, sick of being single, and ready to mingle. In other words, warm waters equal mating season. Expect much higher volumes between the months of October and May. Though the chances of being stung are still rare, guests are encouraged to don protective stinger suits during these periods. Most tours will provide suits for their swimmers.

By no means should any of this discourage swimmers, just be mindful and aware of the space you’re swimming in. As an extra precaution consult your tour guides on their knowledge of the safer spots and the no-go zones.

Two young people in wetsuits and snorkel gear

How to get to Hill Inlet

Hill Inlet is located on the northern end of Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island, the largest island out of the 74 that make up the region. This narrow strip of natural treasures, white silica sands and turquoise blue waters are only accessible by boat. Most seafarers moor their boat at one of Tongue Bay’s several mooring points and dinghy to shore, where the remainder of the distance is covered by a scenic bushwalk.

Hill Inlet Lookout is a cruisy, short walk from Tongue Bay, and only takes about 40 minutes. Simply follow the well-maintained path! For the best kaleidoscope of colours, hit the lookout at low tide. Emerge from the scubby bush track to feast your eyes on a spectacle of pure white strips of sand slithering between incredible turquoise waters and lush island greenery. 

Woman in a big hat and glasses looking out at the view at Hill Inlet Lookout

Tours to Hill Inlet

There is an array of Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet day tours where you can spend the day snorkelling and exploring! And if you’re short on time there’s also Explore’s half-day tour from Hamilton Island.

Whitsunday Bullet boat with girl in white bikini laying on the sand at Whitehaven

It’s time to see the beauty of Hill Inlet for yourself!

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