Your definitive guide to bushwalking and hiking around the Whitsundays (Part 1)
Whether you’re a seasoned bushwalker, hiker, rambler, trampler, rucker, trekker or simply someone that enjoys a good walk in nature, the Whitsunday Islands are definitely the place for you.
There are over 40 tracks and trails of varying lengths and difficulties and this is your definitive guide when it comes to walking the region.
In Part 1, we’ll cover the Whitsunday Islands National Park which includes Whitsunday Island, Langford Island, Hook Island, Haslewood Island and Border Island.
Part 2 will cover the Molle and Linderman Islands National Park including South Molle Island, Long Island and Linderman Island.
Part 3 will wrap it up with the Conway National Park showcasing walks around the Conway Ranges and Mount Rooper.
Before exploring the tracks, here are a few important safety tips and guidelines:
- When embarking on your bushwalking adventure, never walk alone and let family/friends know your planned trek.
- Make sure you plan your hike based on your own fitness levels.
- Ensure you have suitable footwear, insect repellent, sunscreen and a hat. Travel light, but ensure you have emergency supplies, snacks and especially plenty of water.
- Check tide-times and most importantly – have fun!
Walking Track Grade Meanings:
Hill Inlet Lookout Track – 1.4km return. Walking time: 40min.
For postcard views of Whitehaven Beach from the Northern end, do not skip this walk! Stroll uphill to multiple lookouts for breathtaking views over Hill Inlet. For those interested in Australian heritage, this is a highly-significant area to First Nations’ Ngaro people. You can access this track from either Hill Inlet or Tongue Bay.
TRACK ACCESS TIPS – Hill Inlet is only accessible in calm conditions. Tongue Bay is only accessible with more than a 1.3m tide.
Hill Inlet Beach Track – 500m return. Walking time: 20min.
Coming off the Hill Inlet lookout track, make your way down to golden sands and glistening aquamarine waters of Hill Inlet on to Whitehaven Beach.
This short walk showcases one of the top ten beaches in the whole world!
Whitehaven Beach Lookout Track – 970m return. Walking time: 30min.
Whitehaven Beach Headland Track – 400m. Walking time: 30min.
This is a must-do walk so ensure you do both the Lookout and Headland tracks together. You’ll get to see Whitehaven Beach’s 7km shoreline from the Southern end with uninterrupted views as well as getting a closer look at the beautiful Solway Passage. There’s amazing rock formations and spectacular views of the Whitsunday Island peaks.
Solway Circuit – 1.2km return. Walking time: 40min.
This is a one-way circuit uphill from Whitehaven Beach to a natural rock platform that provides incredible views over the Solway Passage and surrounding islands.
Chance Bay Track (off Solway circuit) – 3.6km return. Walking time: 2.5–3hr.
This track will take you through some of Whitsunday Island’s more secluded areas to tranquil Chance Bay. This captivating walk branches off the Solway circuit and joins the beaches of Chance Bay to Whitehaven Beach.
Dugong-Sawmill Track – 3km return. Walking time: 1hr.
If you’re a fan of tropical rainforests, this is the walk for you. You’ll find yourself meandering under the shade of hoop pines, surrounded by solitaire palms, and a fairy wonderland of lichens, fungus and moss as you make your way from Dugong Beach to Sawmill Beach.
Whitsunday Peak Track* – 5km return. Walking time: 4hr.
Walk uphill from Sawmill Beach day-use area to what is nicknamed ‘The Roof of The Whitsundays’. You’ll understand how this nickname came about when you see the spectacular views from 400m above sea level. This is a challenging well-constructed track, but well worth the amazing views over Cid Harbour and beyond.
Whitsunday Cairn Track* – 4km return. Walking time: 3hr+.
Climb 300m above sea level from Cairn Beach, Whitsunday Island’s most northerly beach, through a dense forest to a ridge covered in giant grass trees. This is another challenging hike, but words can’t do justice to the breathtaking 360-degree views from the top!
NOTE – The drop off point for the Cairn Track is dubious – ensure you have someone drop you off rather than leave the dinghy at the beach as the shore is extremely rocky.
Whitsunday Cairn and Whitsunday Peak tracks are rocky, can be slippery in wet weather and require a good level of fitness to traverse. Please ensure you are well prepared with plenty of water and firm supportive footwear when embarking on these walks.
Langford Island Lookout – 300m one way. Walking time: 20min.
Don’t be scared off by the last couple of hikes, this one is a leisurely stroll along the mangrove lined shores of the island before a gentle uphill saunter through a mix of tall trees (including Whitsunday’s famous bottle trees), scattered ferns and orchids. This walk ends with picturesque views along the island’s spit to nearby Hook and Black islands.
Ngaro Cultural Site – 340m return. Walking time: 20min.
Step back in time and embark on a cultural journey up an initially steep, stepped track into a once-hidden cave decorated by 9000 year old Aboriginal paintings, making it one of the oldest Indigenous sites on Australia’s east coast. Access for this track is found within Nara Inlet.
Haslewood Island Lookout – 300m one way. Walking time: 20min.
Another easy wander as you leave Chalkies Beach and head uphill to the island’s rocky headland. On the other side of a natural gully of grass trees and shady eucalypts, you’re rewarded with spectacular island and sea views from the lookout.
Border Island – 1.2km return. Walking time: 1hr.
Take your dinghy ashore and enjoy the secluded beaches of Cateran Bay, then embark on a short, but steep climb to not one, but two lookouts each with expansive views across the Whitsundays that span all the way to Whitehaven Beach.
NOTE – Take caution with the tides as this walk is only accessible on a 1.3m tide or more.