Whitehaven Beach is a 7-kilometers stretch along Whitsunday Island. It was named as one of the world's top 100 beaches by CNN in 2013. The island is accessible by boat from the mainland tourist ports of Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour, as well as Hamilton Island.
The beach was award 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.
Whitehaven Beach is known for its white sands. The sand consists of 98% pure silica which gives it a bright white color. Local rocks do not contain silica so it has been suggested that the sands were brought to the beach via prevailing sea currents over millions of years.
The beach was named and discovered in 1879 by Staff Commander EP Bedwell. Being one of the many names from the then English county of Cumberland Bedwell brought to the area following James Cook's 1770 naming of the island group The Cumberland Islands.
The Whitehaven Beach Ocean Swim is a 2 km open swimming competition held on the Beach in November each year as part of the Hamilton Island Triathlon Event. The 2011 event will be held on 20 November 2011. It is also the location of the Body Science Great Australian Swim Series on 20 November 2011.