Island Camping on Whitehaven Beach
Whitehaven Beach is one of the Australia’s most well-known beaches, and certainly is the most visited tourist attraction in the Whitsunday Islands. Tucked away in the rainforest at the very Southern end of the beach sit seven campsites that can accommodate up to 36 people at a time, hidden out of sight from the beach’s many visitors. We caught up with travel photographer Jackson Groves to ask him about his 28-hour camping adventure on Whitehaven Beach, truly one of the Whitsunday Islands’ most beautiful locations.
I was invited by Tourism Queensland to go on an overnight adventure with Scamper Camping Adventures and took my sister along for the trip. Local transfer company Scamper gave us all the gear we needed - we just made sure to have enough food for one lunch, dinner and breakfast. It was perfect for a traveller like me who definitely doesn’t carry around a tent, cooler, cooking gear, and other camping essentials. They dropped us off at the beach and told us they would be back to get us the next day.
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 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 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 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 and also investigated some dead trees, damaged by the cyclone of 2017 that ravaged the region and 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. It had been on my bucket list for a while, so it was super cool to combine Hill Inlet with camping at Whitehaven Beach.
After spending the afternoon at Hill Inlet, we made the journey back to our campsite area just in time for golden hour. We grabbed some snacks and headed back out to the beach to watch the sun disappear over the mountains and the sea-planes leave Whitehaven Beach. The sunset was a pearler and we felt so relaxed as the last boat left. Two others, my sister and I were the only four people on the island!
We spent the following 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 paddle-boards like our camping neighbours. 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.
The campsite and entire camping experience was super chill, organised and as there are only a few spots it's very quiet. It's a really natural experience but they also have toilet facilities and paths which help keep the area clean and tidy without overdoing it. My two pieces of advice for anyone considering a Whitsunday Islands camping experience are to Definitely bring a SUP (stand up paddle board) and stay for multiple nights to truly get swept away by the experience.
Words and photography by Jackson Groves