All You Need to Know About The Whitsunday Great Walk
The Whitsunday Great Walk is the most challenging hike on the mainland surrounding Airlie Beach, winding its way through the conservation parks of the Conway Range with rewarding rainforest surroundings and stunning views overlooking Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands. Although famous for it’s Whitsundays sailing adventures, this little coastal tourist hub also boasts some unmissable hikes and land-based activities, the Whitsundays Great Walk being one of them.
To make things simpler for you, we’ve broken the article up into these FAQ’s:
1. How long is the trail and can it be completed in one day?
2. Can you breakdown the hike if we are to camp?
3. Where is best to stay? Is there accommodation at the start of the trail?
4. What facilities are on the trail?
Beginning at Brandy Creek Trail and ending in the heart of Airlie Beach, the 27.1km Whitsunday Great Walk trail is a test of endurance with rewarding views and wildlife.
1. How long is the Whitsunday Great Walk trail and can it be completed in a day?
It really depends on how much you’ve been training and your experience on long hikes, but the trail in its entirety is 27.1kms with an elevation of approximately 400m.
Queensland Parks recommends breaking it up into 3 days and 2 nights of hiking, which we will break down in point 2.
Having said that, we know there are lot of avid hikers and runners out there that are more than capable of completing distances like this in one day – just make sure you’re prepared, and ideally go with a friend as there are large stretches of the trail with no phone signal.
Alternatively if you’re an experienced mountain biker, parks estimate the trail takes approximately 4 hours to complete.
Why not make a proper adventure of the Whitsunday Great Walk, and camp at the two sites along the trail? Fall asleep and wake up to the serene sounds of the national park.
2. Can you breakdown the Whitsunday Great Walk if we are to camp?
There are two camping sites on the trail, both of which have access to drinking water (it’s recommended to treat before drinking though) and toilets.
The first campsite is called Repulse Creek Camp, nestled in the rainforest off the trail and is 8.3kms from Forestry Car Park in Brandy Creek. The beginning of the trail actually takes you downhill, so is quite leisurely – allowing you lots of time to take in your beautiful surroundings of blankets of green, towering oaks and climbers winding their way through the forest.
There is an option shortly after you begin the hike to take the Wompoo way track to a seasonal creek for a swim. While it is stunning, it also adds 1 hour to your journey, and you will have the opportunity approximately 4kms later to swim in a different creek along the trail.
Your first morning on in nature! Wake to the sounds of the rainforest and soak it all in as you make yourself a coffee before you begin your 11.5km trek from Repulse Creek to Bloodwood Camp. The start of this part of the trail is drier and gentle, before it becomes a little more challenging as you begin your uphill hike along a ridge to the summit of Mount Hayward. Shortly after this you’ll arrive further along the ridge at your second and final camp on your Whitsunday Great Walk trek.
Take lots of time to stop, rest and cool down, perhaps taking advantage of the two creeks you’ll cross along the way for a quick swim.
Your last day holds a final 8.5km hike from Bloodwood camp back to Airlie Beach. Sections of this final stretch are quite steep and difficult as you climb another summit with an option to turn off to Honey Eater Lookout. Queensland Parks estimates this will add 1.5hrs to your hike, but we promise it’s worth it with stunning panoramic views overlooking Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands. After this lookout your hike is all downhill and a couple hours later you’ll be sitting at a bar in Airlie with your well earned beverage of choice.
When you’re on the trail, we suggest taking a moment to pay your respects to the traditional owners of the land, the Ngaro people, and the Elders past, present and emerging.
3. Where is best to stay? Is there accommodation at the start of the Whitsunday Great Walk?
Accommodation in Brandy Creek is very limited to a few AirBnB’s. They are beautiful however, so if you have the time to treat yourself to a night there before you begin your hike – then go for it.
Alternatively, Airlie Beach is only a short 20 minute drive from Brandy Creek otherwise, just ensure you have a way of getting back to your car after you’ve completed the trail (you can taxi if you’re stuck for other options).
4. What facilities are on the trail?
In short answer, not many. As we mentioned above, both campsites have toilets and access to drinking water (when treated), however along the trail it’s just you and nature.
There are no bins along the Whitsunday Great Walk, so whatever you take with you must also leave with you. We recommend also bringing some biodegrable toilet paper for any loo stops you’ll need to make in the forest along the way between the campsites. Sanitary items cannot be burried as they do not biodegrade, so keep that in mind when you’re preparing for your adventure.
The basic nature of these trails is kind of the highlight though- it teaches you to live simply and appreciate the beauty of your surroundings, as people used to live hundreds of years ago.
Want to know more about Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays?
Hopefully we’ve answered all the questions you have about the Great Whitsunday Walk, but if you’re after more information on what to do with your time in Airlie Beach, have a look at the activities we suggest here, or book onto one of our 3 day 2 night sailing adventures here. Alternatively, we have a live chat button at the bottom of your screen, or feel free to contact us by email email@example.com
Prosail Author and Whitsundays Professional
International Yoga Instructor