The 74 islands of the Whitsundays lay in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, cradled by the tropical waters of the Coral Sea, a truly remarkable icon of beauty. It is not only the majestic wildlife and breathtaking natural sights that make the Whitsundays one of the best places to go on holiday in Australia, but also the huge amount of things to do in the Whitsundays.

 

Whether its getting in touch with nature while scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, to relaxing on the silky white silica sands of white sands of Whitehaven Beach, find the best things to do on the islands in our Whitsundays Travel Guide.



Walking in the Whitsundays


Many walks ranging in length and endurance can be found on the Whitsunday Coast. The newest

of those walks, the Airlie Creek Track, was officially opened in late 2011 and is a short but beautiful

walk leaving the centre of Airlie Beach and climbing up the hillside behind the town to reveal a

picturesque cascading rock pool.

 

Whitsunday Great Walk

 

walking in whitsundays

Highlights of the Whitsunday Great Walk include wandering through majestic tropical rainforest,

relaxing by seasonal creeks and looking beyond coastal townships to the Whitsunday islands. Look

for the blue flash of a Ulysses butterfly, smell lemon myrtle flowers and listen for the distinctive call of the Wompoo fruitdove.

 

The entire Great Walk is intended to be a three day escape but you can choose shorter walks that are linked to the main track, accessible from Brandy Creek, or watch out for the bi-annual ‘Run the Whitsunday Great Walk’ event.

 

All trails on the Whitsunday Great Walk are dual use for walkers and mountain bike riders, with the

exception of the Kingfisher Circuit which is accessible to walkers only. Mountain bikers must always

give way to walkers on the track.

 

Whitsunday Great Walk – shorter walks

 

Kingfisher Circuit – 2km

 

Grade: Moderate

 

Details: Pick up a self-guide brochure at the start of this walk to learn about forest wildlife, including the fascinating buff-breasted paradise kingfisher. From the car park, walkers will wind down into a moist rainforest valley then ascend to an old logging road. Turn right to return to the car park or left for the Wompoo Walk.

 

(Please return the brochure when finished.)

 

Wompoo Walk - 3.5km (Dual-use track: walkers and mountain-bike riders allowed)

 

Grade: Walking – moderate

Details: The Wompoo Walk is accessible to both walkers and mountain-bike riders.

 

 

Mountain Bike – Class 2 (easy)

 

Follow an old logging road, the start of the Whitsunday Great Walk, for 2.4km

and then turn left to reach a calm creek lined with Alexandra palms. Listen for

Wompoo fruitdoves calling from the canopy. (This walk is closed from 1 February

to the end of March under the Whitsunday Great Walk annual closure, or subject

to seasonal conditions).

 

Conway National Park walks

 

Conway National Park has a variety of walking tracks to explore.

 

Coastal Fringe Circuit – 1.2km

 

Grade: Easy

 

Details: Starting at the day-use picnic area on Shute Harbour Road, this track passes through lowland rainforest and crosses a small tidal creek. Take a self-guide brochure from leaflet box at the start of the track. (Please return the brochure to leaflet box when finished.)

 

Hayward Gully – 1.6km

 

Grade: Easy

 

Details: This track branches off the Coastal Fringe Circuit to Hayward Gully, with its

lowland rainforest and rocky gullies.

 

Mt Rooper walks

 

Mt Rooper offers views via four walking options. The turn-off to Mt Rooper is 200m along the Swamp Bay track. All distances given below are one-way from the car park. The track passes through low woodland growing in shallow, stony, clay soils where brushbox, grasstrees and wattles are prominent. Although grasstrees here are small, they can grow to 4m tall elsewhere. Their pale yellow flowers on spear-like stalks provide food for many insects.

walking in the whitsundays

 

Swamp Bay – 2.1km

 

Grade: Moderate

 

Details: Starting from the Mt Rooper car park, this track passes the foot of Mt Rooper to arrive at Swamp Bay, where a coral-strewn beach offers views of the Molle islands. Return on the same track. Signs along this track and Mt Rooper track describe Indigenous use of local plants.

 

Conway Outlook – 800m

 

Grade: Moderate

 

Details: This first section of the Mt Rooper Circuit climbs up through mixed forests for a view over Shute Harbour to the Conway Range. Either return from this outlook or walk on to a natural lookout at Mt Rooper.

 

Mt Rooper – 2.3km

 

Grade: Moderate

 

Details: Continue on from Conway Outlook. The shallow, stony clay soils support brush box, grasstrees, wattles and other woodland vegetation. Soak up the panoramic vista of the Whitsunday Passage and islands at the summit.

 

Mt Rooper Circuit – 5.4km

 

Grade: Moderate

 

Details: Continue from the lookout passing views to Daydream and North Molle islands, descend through mixed forest to meet the Swamp Bay track. Turn left and return to the car park to complete the circuit.

 

Mt Rooper Circuit and Swamp Bay – 7.2km

 

Grade: Moderate

 

Details: Take in both the circuit and Swamp Bay tracks for a comfortable one-day walk.

 

whitsundays beach walks

Coral Beach walks

 

Coral Beach – 1.1km

 

Grade: Moderate

 

Details: This track starts and finishes at Coral Beach car park. A brochure describing Indigenous use of the coastal environment is available from the leaflet box at the start. (Please return the brochure when finished.) Enjoy views across Whitsunday passage from Coral Beach.

 

The Beak – 620m from Coral Beach

 

Grade: Moderate

 

Details: After reaching Coral Beach continue on to The Beak. Walk east along Coral Beach

 

Bowen Walks

 

Details: Taking in Horseshoe Bay, Murray Bay and Rose Bay, nature lovers will be impressed by postcard-worthy lookout views as well as enjoying native wildlife and bird life. You can walk the entire circuit of just part of it, and there are entry points at Horseshoe, Murray and Rose Bays.

 

Hansen Park to Horseshoe Bay – 2.6km

 

Kings Beach Walk – 1.8km

 

Queens Bay Beach Walk – 1.6km

 

Mullers Lagoon to Queens Bay – 3.8km

 

*See Bowen Visitor Guide for more details of these walks

 

Island Walks

 

The Whitsunday Islands are drowned mountains, and the peaks of the mountains that remain and now form islands offer spectacular walking tracks ranging from short and easy to challenging yet rewarding.

 

Ngaro Sea Trail Great Walk

 

Walk through open forests, grasslands and rainforest, be challenged by steep ascents to Whitsunday Peak and Whitsunday Cairn and gain an insight into Ngaro life and culture at the caves and cultural site at Nara Inlet.

 

The tracks vary in distance and difficulty, providing a challenge and reward for every skill level. Camp out at the nearby island campsites or take the journey as part of your Whitsunday sea adventure - on an overnight boat tour, skipper yourself bareboat or a scheduled day tour.

 

Whitsunday Island walks

 

Solway circuit—1.2 km return

 

Grade: Moderate

 

Details: Starting from Whitehaven Beach, this one-way circuit winds its way uphill to a natural rock platform—giving spectacular views over Solway Passage and surrounding islands. Trackside information gives walkers an insight into Whitehaven’s slowly changing landscape.

 

Chance Bay—7.2 km return

 

Grade: Moderate

 

Details: Escape the sun and follow this track through some of Whitsunday Island’s more secluded forests to the peaceful Chance Bay. This enjoyable walk branches off Solway circuit.

 

Hill Inlet lookout—1.3 km return

 

Grade: Easy to moderate

 

Details: Take an uphill stroll to twin lookouts for spectacular vistas over Hill Inlet’s turquoise waters and white sweeping sands—a highly significant area to the Ngaro people.

 

Lookout Beach—500 m return

 

Grade: Easy to moderate

 

Details: Branch off the Hill Inlet lookout track and head downhill to the ivory white sands of Lookout Beach. Situated at the mouth of Hill Inlet you can enjoy the sunshine or rest in the shade.

 

Dugong–Sawmill Track—3 km return

 

Grade: Easy to moderate

 

Whitsunday Peak—5 km return

 

Grade: Difficult

 

Details: Stand at the top of the island and enjoy uninterrupted views of the Whitsundays. Accessed from Sawmill Beach in Cid Harbour, the Whitsunday Peak track offers a great getaway from the busy beaches. Climb through diverse vegetation, from rainforest gullies to windblown heaths, and be rewarded with spectacular vistas on the ‘roof of the Whitsundays’.

Walk safely: Remember, this track is steep and physically demanding please consider your fitness and walking experience carefully before setting out.

 

Whitsunday Cairn—4 km return

 

Grade: Difficult

 

Details: Steep and challenging, the track to Whitsunday Cairn leads off Cairn Beach,

the most northern beach on Whitsunday Island. A demanding ascent takes you through hoop pines and dry rainforest. Stick carefully to the ridge line as you walk through drier open woodland where giant grasstrees dominate. Emerge onto a wind-exposed rock outcrop below the towering Whitsunday Cairn for breathtaking views.

Walk safely: There is no defined track. Triangular track markers intermittently mark the way. This walk is for fit and experienced walkers only.

 

Hook Island walks

 

Ngaro Cultural Site—340 m return

 

Grade: Moderate

 

Details: The Ngaro people have walked this land for over 9000 years.

Protected from the elements in a once-hidden cave, Ngaro artwork adorns the fragile rock surface. The track begins deep inside Nara Inlet—an excellent overnight anchorage. Short and initially steep, the stepped track leads up the side of the inlet to a viewing platform at the cave’s entrance. Allow at least an hour to immerse yourself in the stories of the site.