International
White sand and blue water -- what more could you ask for? | Rocío Roldán/EyeEm/Getty Images

Technically, This Is the Most Perfect Stretch of Beach In the World

There’s a pretty well-worn backpacker route that runs from Southeast Asia all the way down to New Zealand.

Its spine is the east coast of Australia, from maybe as far north as Darwin to as far south as Adelaide, but definitely from Cairns down to at least Sydney. There’s a reason visitors favor this part of the continent. Perth is gorgeous but geographically isolated; Uluru is finally closed as a tourist attraction, a thing it never should have become in the first place. But that eastern coast is stuffed with back-to-back wonders; many of them famous, others less so. And one in particular that might be the most famous -- whether you know its name or not:

Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven is famous for a specific and undeniable reason: It has the whitest sand of any beach in the world, composed of 98% pure silica. I’ve been there once and, four years later, can still see the afterimage burned into my retinas. Whitehaven is only accessible by boat or seaplane, so this is something you’ll have to join a tour group for rather than visiting independently. The water is shallow and warm and bright, and you wade through it alongside little lemon shark pups, squinting against a blinding stretch of white in every direction.

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