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Is Whitehaven Beach Better At High Tide Or Low Tide?

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Gabby Boucher
Updated Mon 06 Feb 2023

The perfect time to visit Whitehaven Beach is when the tide is dropping from high tide to low tide. Ideally, you would visit closer to low tide. But for anyone wondering, “Is Whitehaven Beach better at high tide or low tide”, you’ll get the most impressive views when the tide is somewhere in the middle!

Timing your visit to Whitehaven Beach with the tides is essential for capturing that quintessential Whitsundays view. The swirling of white sands with turquoise water that occurs at Whitehaven Beach is one of the most iconic views in all of Australia. This article will explore the tides at Whitehaven Beach so you can understand the best time to visit this magnificent natural wonder!

girls at lookout


How To Get To Whitehaven Beach


Whitehaven Beach is located on Whitsunday Island. This is the largest island in the chain of 74 Whitsundays Islands in Queensland, Australia! To get to the fabulous Whitehaven Beach, you should fly into Airlie Beach and plan your trip from there. 

From Airlie Beach, you can get to Whitehaven Beach by booking a guided tour or chartering a boat. There is no public transport to Whitehaven Beach, so your best option is to book a tour! There are boat tours, seaplane tours, and helicopter tours that will get you to Whitehaven Beach in a timely fashion. If you have more time to spare, book a multi-day sailing tour and combine Whitehaven Beach with other highlights of the Whitsundays!

ocean rafting boat tour


When Is The Best Time To Visit Whitehaven Beach?


For optimal views of Whitehaven Beach and the swirling sands, visit in between high and low tide while the tide is dropping. Hill Inlet Lookout is the perfect place to capture the magic of the white silica sands swirling together with the turquoise water. When the tide is dropping, the water level is receding just enough to allow those white sands to peek through. This is when you’ll get the best view and the best photos!

people posing at hill inlet lookout


Is Whitehaven Beach Better At High Tide Or Low Tide?


But if you had to choose between visiting Whitehaven Beach at high tide or low tide, low tide is probably better. If you visit Whitehaven Beach at high tide, there is too much water and you won’t be able to see the white sands. Sure, the vibrant blue waters are still beautiful, but the inlet will look more like a normal river.

hill inlet 

If you visit Whitehaven Beach at low tide, at least the captivating shapes of the shifting sands will be exposed! However, at low tide, you won’t see as much brilliant blue water. What little water is left will have more of a subdued hue as it is closer to the sand. 

During low tide at Whitehaven Beach, you can at least still see the shape of the water stream snaking through the sands. But at high tide, you won’t really see any sand. So for the ideal scene, visit Whitehaven Beach when the tide is dropping so you can see both the turquoise water and the white silica sands. 

hill inlet lookout


Whitehaven Beach Tours


There is a wide variety of tours to Whitehaven Beach that will allow you to witness the swirling sands in their ultimate position. Local tour guides are well-versed in the tides of the Whitsundays. You can bet that they will take you up to Hill Inlet Lookout at the prime time! 

Most Whitehaven Beach day tours like Whitsunday Bullet or Ocean Rafting include snorkeling, lunch, and free time to paddleboard or sunbathe on the beach. So if you’re on a full day tour of Whitehaven Beach, your guides may take you snorkeling first if the tide is too high. That way the tide has time to drop before you hike up to Hill Inlet Lookout! Or if the tide is perfect when you arrive, you’ll head up to the lookout first. 

For an even better chance of seeing Whitehaven in its prime, consider a multi-day sailing tour! With 3 days out on the water, you have more time to soak in the scenery of the Whitsundays. On sailing tours like Solway Voyager or Apollo, you’ll have ample time to visit Whitsunday Island and hike up to Hill Inlet Lookout when the views are at their best. 

sailboat whitsundays


See Whitehaven Beach From The Air


For an even more unique perspective of Whitehaven Beach and its kaleidoscopic sands, consider an aerial tour! You can fly over Whitehaven Beach by seaplane or helicopter. Viewing Whitehaven from the air provides an even more breathtaking view of the spectacular inlet and the surrounding tropical mountains. 

Some scenic flights soar over the Great Barrier Reef and visit sights such as Heart Reef. Other scenic flights will fly you to Whitehaven, land on the beach, and allow free time to explore the stunning area before flying back home to Airlie Beach. Either way, talk to your local guides about the tides and how you can see Whitehaven Beach at the perfect time!

aerial view of whitehaven Beach


Read more about the tides in Airlie Beach or jump right in and book a tour to Whitehaven!

Feel free to call us at 61 7 4914 2425 or live chat with our travel experts online if you have any other questions!

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