3 Un-missable Whitsunday Islands Hiking Trails
From short, gentle walks, to challenging hikes with rewarding panoramic views at a 437m summit, there are plenty of options for Whitsunday Islands hiking tracks for all levels.
Famous for its worldwide recognised beaches and incredible Great Barrier Reef snorkelling locations, the Whitsunday Islands hiking trails are also a must-do activity when you’re planning out your holiday. These incredible islands are 70% National Park, with plenty of choices for all levels from short, gentle walks, to challenging hikes with rewarding panoramic views at a 437m summit. Here a list of our top 3 for the best Whitsundays sailing adventure:
1. South Molle Island (3-5kms, 1.5 – 2.5hrs)
The Molle group are a set of inshore islands and the first you’ll lay eyes on as you depart the mainland town of Airlie Beach, or the Shute Harbour (depending on what boat you have hired or which tour you’ve chosen).
The most popular of the group is South Molle island, home to sheltered eucalypt forests, grass tree lined gullies, and white, sandy beaches with coral fringed bays, it has an elevation of 190m at the peak of Mount Jeffery.
It also holds the remnants of a resort that was built in 1937, however no-longer in operation despite the picturesque palm-tree lined beach it’s nestled on. It may be Chinese whispers, but we’re told plans are in place for it to reopen in the coming years.
There are a number of hiking trails on South Molle Island, but our favourites are either Spion Cop or Mount Jeffery. Both begin behind the abandoned South Molle resort, with a gentle gradient hike through the eucalypt forests before opening to stunning views back over Bauer Bay and south towards Hamilton Island.
At this point you can either turn left, making your way up towards Spion Cop, with two platforms, one at a higher elevation looking west over Bauer Bay and back towards mainland, and another looking east over Whitsunday and Hook Island with a distant view of Hamilton. The second trail turns right and up to Mount Jeffery, with 360 views overlooking the Whitsunday Islands and mainland.
Prosail Whitsundays sailing experts
More challenging, but worth it for the incredible views – Whitsunday Islands hiking trail: Whitsunday Peak
2. Whitsunday Peak: Whitsunday Island. 5kms, 3-4 hours
Whitsunday Island is the largest of the Whitsunday group at approximately 19x13kms of diverse landscapes of subtropical rainforest, to steep volcanic rock peaks. A lot more challenging than the previous mentioned South Molle Hikes, Whitsunday Peak is a must-do for our hiking fans out there.
Although only a 5km return hike, Queensland Parks recommends allowing 4 hours to account for the steep incline. The trail begins from Sawmill Beach in Cid Harbour, a popular sheltered anchorage for many boats.
In our wet season (summer) it also crosses a creek at the beginning of the hiking trail, before winding up through lush rainforest and rocky outcrops before opening up to the summit and natural rock platform, with awestriking panoramic views overlooking the Whitsunday Islands. A second manmade platform looks south towards Hamilton Island and the Lindeman group of the Whitsunday Islands.
We recommend taking plenty of water, a radio and little snack for the top as you soak in the views. Of course, a camera or phone for taking pictures is an absolute must, too. It might also be worth packing some bathers to go for a refreshing and well deserved swim at Dugong Beach – a short 15 minute walk from Sawmill Beach. Please wear trainers or hiking shoes for this hike.
For a longer Whitsunday Islands hiking trail that’s less challenging, try Chance Bay on Whitsunday Island.
3. Chance Bay Hike, Whitsunday Island. 9kms return, allow 3-4 hours
This hiking trail is a circuit starting from the incredible soft, white silica sand of Whitehaven Beach (South). With plenty of foliage for cover from the sun, it’s a gentle winding track that takes you over to the sandy beach and crystal clear waters of Chance Bay, with beautiful views of the fringing reef and Pentecost Island.
We recommend including the Solway Circuit at the beginning or end, to enjoy breathtaking views over the entire 7kms of Whitehaven Beach from south to north. This place is truly like no other, and to be able to witness it from above via this Whitsunday Islands hiking track allows you to really appreciate how special it is. Turquoise waters, sandy bottom, fringing reef, and miles of beach – there’s a reason it makes it to number 1.
Pack lots of water, snacks, bathers for a swim, and keep your eyes peeled for the resident yellow spot goannas!
From snorkelling pristine reef to leaving footprints on silica sand beaches and exploring the Whitsunday Islands hiking trails, this little slice of heaven is a bucketlist must.
That’s just our top 3 of the Whitsunday Island hiking trails. If you have more time on your hand you can also explore south to the Lindeman island group, hike the Whitsunday Cairn (a natural volcanic rock formation slightly less elevated than Whitsunday Peak), wander up the trail of Blue Pearl Bay on Hayman Island, and cruise the short track at Chalkies Beach on Haslewood Island.
Prosail’s longer 4 day 3 night tours are a great way to really experience the Whitsundays and explore a lot of these hiking trails that aren’t available on shorter tours. We also collaborate with World Expedition Tours to offer a 5 day Hiking Tour in 2023, you can find it here.
If you’re after any extra information explore our website or jump on the live chat and our manager will get back to you as soon as possible.
Prosail Author and Whitsundays Professional
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