What makes Whitehaven Beach so special? It's the silica. The sand on this 6km (4 mi) stretch of paradise is 98% silica, the powdered remains of a long-dead coral forest. That's what makes it so sugar-fine, radiantly white and slip-through-the-toes silky.
Of course, a beach doesn't keep its Best Beach awards and places in Top 10 lists through sand alone. Whitehaven teams its pristine whiteness with warm, lapping, peerlessly blue waves, a rainforest backing and Hill Inlet, which is famous for the play of colour as the tide washes in.
This is not a surf beach. It's more a lie-back-with-a-sigh kind of place. Whitehaven Beach is on the uninhabited Whitsunday Island. If you're after a day on that famous sand, you can reach it by ferry or yacht from Airlie Beach. It's also included as a stop on many Barrier Reef tours. Or, if you're really in the mood to lash out, approach it by helicopter or seaplane for an aerial view of its stunning whites and blues.