Chalkies Beach may be a controversial selection for our #3 favorite spot in the Whitsundays series, yet we at Whitsundays Photography highly rate this location for many reasons.
Located on Haselwood Island directly across from the award winning Whitehaven Beach, Chalkies Beach (formerly Stockyard Beach) has the same pure white sand as the more popular Whitehaven, yet boasts a gorgeous fringing reef with a multitude of soft and hard corals, plus a stunning variety of fish and marine creatures. Want to see Nemo? No problem, Nemo’s here! How about snorkeling with a turtle? There’s always that possibility on Chalkies.
Chalkies Beach is a great anchorage for yachts when the south easterlies are blowing and is a popular snorkeling site for day tours from both Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach. There is a gap in the fringing reef that allows smaller boats and tenders access to the beach. Imagine snorkeling just meters from the shore, then when you are finished with the fish and coral, taking a stroll along pure white sand with barely a footprint to spoil the experience. Yes it is a special place.
Down the south end of the beach there is a geological wonder that may be interesting to some. Millions of years ago, volcanic activity cut a sheer gorge through the rocks. You can walk several meters into this ancient gorge in wonderment of the forces of nature.
Haselwood Island and Chalkies Beach has a history which some may be surprised at in todays world. The gap in the fringing reef was man made to allow barge access so that sheep could graze on the island and fatten for market. They simply dynamited the gap in the fringing reef, something that the authorities would never allow today.
On the minus scale, water visibility may not be the best at times and Chalkies Beach is not a suggested anchorage during northerly winds. Tour companies do visit other sites for snorkeling when wind and weather conditions do not suit.
On the plus scale, we love Chalkies Beach for the easy access to a fabulous fringing reef. We always take our friends and family here as it doesn’t matter what fitness level they possess, walking into the sea right from the beach is so much easier for many than accessing the water from a boat. It’s not getting in that’s difficult for some, it’s getting back on the boat that may be a problem. Add that awesome white silica sand and a destination that not all tourists visit and Chalkies Beach ticks all the right boxes for us.
Cruise Whitsundays runs a great day tour from Airlie Beach, picking up at Daydream Island and Hamilton Island, that not only allows guests to snorkel the fringing reef right from the beach, they also visit Hill Inlet lookout and spend a few hours on Whitehaven Beach. Or alternatively from Hamilton island, you can book a tour that visits Chalkies Beach with Reef Ryder.