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About Conway circuit

Getting there and getting around

Enjoy the view from Honeyeater lookout. Photo: Ross Perry, Queensland Government.

Enjoy the view from Honeyeater lookout. Photo: Ross Perry, Queensland Government.

Forestry Road from Airlie Beach

Travel west along Shute Harbour Road for about 10km and turn left onto Brandy Creek Road. Follow this road onto Forestry Road through to the car park. This is the start of the Conway circuit.

Forestry Road from the Bruce Highway

One kilometre north of Proserpine (or 65km south of Bowen), turn off the highway onto Shute Harbour Road. Travel 12km before turning right onto Brandy Creek Road. Follow this road, and then Forestry Road through to the car park.

Camping and accommodation

Camping

Two camping areas are located along the circuit. Both have access to toilets and rainwater tanks, there are four rainwater tanks in total along the circuit. Tank water should be treated before drinking. Storage trunks are provided so you can keep food away from wildlife. Camping outside designated areas is not permitted.

Camping permits are required and fees apply.

Other accommodation

A wide range of accommodation is available in nearby Airlie Beach. See tourism information links for more information.

Things to do

Relax at Repulse Creek. Photo: Ross Perry, Queensland Government.

Relax at Repulse Creek. Photo: Ross Perry, Queensland Government.

Walking and mountain biking

Part of the Whitsunday Trails, you can explore the Conway circuit on your mountain bike or on foot. Travel through majestic tropical rainforest, relax by seasonal creeks or absorb the views beyond coastal townships to the Whitsunday islands.

All trails on the Conway circuit are shared-use, with the exception of the Kingfisher circuit which is accessible to walkers only.

Riders must always give way to people on foot on the trails.

Key to trail standards

The classification system is based on Australian Standards. Please note that while each trail is classified according to its most difficult section, other sections may be of an easier level.

Australian Walking Track Grading System
Grade Description
Grade 3 walking trackGrade 3 Suitable for most ages and fitness levels. Some bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may have short steep hill sections and a rough surface.
Grade 4 walking trackGrade 4 Bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may be long, rough and very steep. Directional signs may be limited.
International Mountain Bicycling Association, Australia
Grade Description
Easy mountain bike trackEasy Wide trail with gentle gradient and smooth surface. Some obstacles such as roots, logs and rocks. Suitable for beginner mountain bike riders with basic riding skills and off-road bikes.
Intermediate mountain bike trackIntermediate A trail with moderate gradients, variable surface and obstacles. May include steep and slippery sections. Suitable only for skilled mountain bike riders only, with a reasonable level of fitness and basic off-road riding skills.
Difficult mountain bike trackDifficult Suitable only for experienced mountain bikers used to physically demanding routes. Navigation and personal survival skills are highly desirable.
Expect large, dangerous and unavoidable obstacles and features. Challenging and variable trail with long, steep climbs or descents and loose surfaces. Some sections will be easier to walk.
Trails at a glance
Trail name Distance Duration Classification
Conway circuit 27.1km

Walking: 3 days and 2 nights

Riding: 4hr (fit and experienced riders)

Grade 4 walking trackEasy mountain bike track

Intermediate mountain bike trackDifficult mountain bike track

Kingfisher circuit 2km return Walking: 1.5hr Grade 3 walking track
Wompoo way 7km return

Walking: 3.5hr

Riding: 45min

Grade 3 walking trackIntermediate mountain bike track
Honeyeater lookout 8.2km return

Walking: 3–4hr

Riding: 2hr

Grade 4 walking trackDifficult mountain bike track

Conway circuit

Distance: 27.1km (Forestry Road to Airlie Beach)
Time: 3 days and 2 nights walking; 4hr riding (fit and experienced riders)

Walking the circuit Grade 4 walking track
Forestry Road car park to Repulse Creek camp 8.3km

There are two choices to begin the Conway circuit. You can stay on the Conway circuit, an old logging road, or you can set out on the Kingfisher circuit. The Kingfisher circuit (not suitable for bikes) will add at least 45min to your day's walk. It rejoins the Conway circuit after numerous sets of steep stairs.
On the Conway circuit, continue to the Wompoo way junction. Wompoo way leads to a seasonal creek and you must return to the Conway circuit the way you came. Allow at least 1hr for this diversion.
From the Wompoo way junction, continue on the Conway circuit passing Impulse Creek and notice the change in vegetation. Hardy, brown tulip oaks replace the moisture-loving Mackay tulip oaks, and tough, woody vines replace delicate climbers. Continue to Repulse Creek camp and set up to enjoy a night in the rainforest.

Repulse Creek camp to Bloodwood camp 11.5km

Begin your second day with a gentle walk through drier forest. You'll cross 2 creeks. The Conway circuit becomes steep and more difficult as you follow a ridge to the summit of Mount Hayward. Enjoy the cool breezes and rewarding view from the top. Continue along the ridge to Bloodwood camp where you can enjoy views beyond Jubilee Pocket to the Whitsunday Islands.

Bloodwood camp to Airlie Beach 8.5km

Follow the coastal ridge towards Airlie Beach through low vegetation tangled with vines. This forest survives on rocky soils and endures the seasonal hot sun and occasional tropical cyclones.

After a steep, challenging climb through low vine thicket the track descends through some taller forest to and intersection. Take the Honeyeater lookout turn-off for a great view, but by the time you return to the intersection it will add about 1.5hr to your journey. At the lookout, be rewarded with views beyond Cannonvale to the Dryander Range and the scattering of Whitsunday Islands. 

Continue on the Conway circuit and descend into Airlie Beach, taking time to enjoy your surroundings of grasstrees, cycads and gum trees. If the grasstrees are flowering, look for various honeyeater species coming in to feed.

Riding the circuit Easy mountain bike trackIntermediate mountain bike trackDifficult mountain bike track

The easiest way to complete the Conway circuit is to begin at Forestry Road car park, ride the circuit to Airlie Beach, then follow Shute Harbour, Brandy Creek and Forestry roads back to your start point (see map).
The circuit changes classification from easy at the beginning, to intermediate and then difficult for the last 17.2km. Average riders should begin at Forestry Road car park and consider returning to their start point after reaching Repulse Creek camp or Little Repulse Creek.

From Little Repulse Creek the circuit is classified difficult (black diamond). Riding difficulty increases significantly with many long steep sections, narrow and rough trail surfaces and technically difficult, creek crossings. Only fit and experienced riders should attempt to ride the full length of the circuit.

Kingfisher circuit Grade 3 walking trackBicycles prohibited

Distance: 2km return
Time: 45min–1.5hr

Start from Forestry Road car park. Weave through giant strangler figs and tulip oaks decorated with basket ferns and listen for the squeak of grey fantail birds. Walk uphill past bright palm trees and return to the car park via the shared-use Conway circuit. Moderate fitness is required for steep sections. Be prepared for lots of stairs.

Wompoo way Grade 3 walking trackIntermediate mountain bike track

Distance: 7km return
Time: 3.5hr walking; 45min riding

From the Forestry road car park, follow the Conway circuit for 2.3km to reach the Wompoo way turn-off. From here the trail follows an old logging road through tall, lush rainforest before finishing at a peaceful creek lined with Alexandra palms. Be prepared for some uphill sections. Return to the Forestry Road car park the way you came.

Honeyeater lookout Grade 4 walking trackDifficult mountain bike track

Distance: 8.2km return (from Airlie Beach to Kara Crescent track entrance)
Time: 3hr walking; 1.5hr riding

From the Kara Crescent track entrance at Airlie Beach, follow the Conway circuit for 2.3km to the Honeyeater lookout turn-off. Follow the trail to a ridge with views over Cannonvale and the Whitsunday islands. Be prepared from some steep uphill sections, a high level of fitness is required. Return to Kara Crescent the way you came.

Things to know before you go

Sturdy footwear is essential for walkers and hikers. Photo: Tamara Vallance, Queensland Government.

Sturdy footwear is essential for walkers and hikers. Photo: Tamara Vallance, Queensland Government.

Essentials to bring

You must be fully self-sufficient. Local facilities are limited. Your camping equipment should include the following:

  • first-aid kit—know how to use it
  • adequate clothing—be prepared for all weather conditions, especially rain and storms.
  • sturdy, enclosed footwear
  • strong, lightweight tent—no shelters are provided
  • lightweight sleeping bag and sleeping mat
  • nourishing lightweight food and high-energy snacks—take extra food in case the walk or ride takes longer than expected.
  • hat, sunscreen and insect repellent
  • small hand trowel and toilet paper
  • torch and batteries
  • pocket knife
  • compass
  • topographic map
  • lightweight cooking and eating utensils
  • container for washing up
  • water purification tablets or other method to treat tank water before drinking
  • water containers—make sure they’re big enough
  • waterproof bags to keep clothing/bedding dry and store rubbish. Rubbish bins are not provided on the Conway circuit. All rubbish must be carried out.
  • fuel stove and fuel—fires are prohibited on the Conway circuit.
  • lighter and waterproof matches.

Permits and fees

Camping permits are required and fees apply. A camping tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site.

  • Find out more about camping on the Conway circuit.
  • Book your camp site online.
  • If you cannot book online, see camping bookings for other options.

Climate and weather

The region has a well-defined dry season during winter. Average temperatures range from 10–20°C. Between January and March, high humidity, strong seasonal rainfall and average temperatures of 20–30°C make walking less comfortable.

Try to walk or ride between April and September, when conditions are less likely to be very wet or too dry. The trail will be closed during the wet season from the beginning of February to the end of March and at other times if there is no tank water available along the trail. Before you go, check park alerts for information about current access closures and conditions.

Fuel and supplies

You will need to be self-sufficient during your visit to Conway National Park. The nearest supplies are at Airlie Beach.

Staying safe

In an emergency, personal locator beacons alert rescue authorities that you are in distress and aid their search in locating you. Photo: Tamara Vallance, Queensland Government.

In an emergency, personal locator beacons alert rescue authorities that you are in distress and aid their search in locating you. Photo: Tamara Vallance, Queensland Government.

Take care while crossing Impulse Creek and heed all warning signs. Photo: Ross Perry, Queensland Government.

Take care while crossing Impulse Creek and heed all warning signs. Photo: Ross Perry, Queensland Government.

Impulse Creek crossing

Rain in the upper catchment of Impulse Creek can cause water levels to rise rapidly at the crossing on the Conway circuit.

The water at the crossing can be deceptive and be moving faster than it appears. The creek bed is unstable and loose rocks may move underfoot.

  • Check the flow and depth of the water carefully before entering.
  • Stay in the middle of the crossing where wire has been laid down to aid traction.
  • Do not attempt to cross the creek when flooded.

Ride safely

  • Wear appropriate safety gear and be realistic about your cycling abilities.
  • Give way to people on foot.
  • Slow down when approaching other trail users and alert others when approaching.
  • Avoid skidding and sliding—you could collide with other trail users and damage the track surface.
  • Never walk or ride alone—in case of accident, others in your group could assist.

Food and water

Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated, especially when walking up steep slopes in humid conditions.

  • Fill water containers at every tank.
  • Remember to treat all tank water before use.
  • Carry food and a first-aid kit.

Clothing

  • Wear sturdy, enclosed boots or shoes. Surfaces can be slippery.
  • Take warm clothes and raincoats—weather can change quickly.
  • Wear appropriate safety gear when riding.
  • A helmet approved to Australian Standards (AS 2063) is mandatory when mountain biking.
  • Gloves and cycling glasses are highly recommended.

Avoid the elements

  • Avoid walking in extreme heat or high fire danger.
  • Carry plenty of drinking water.
  • Avoid creek crossings during floods or after heavy rain.
  • Plan to complete your walk well before dark.
  • Wear a hat, sunscreen and insect repellent.
  • Don't get lost—stay on marked tracks.
  • Shortcuts cause erosion and often are dead ends.

Plan ahead

Serious injuries have happened, even to experienced bushwalkers and mountain bike riders. Don't leave things to chance.

  • Know your location at all times—use a paper map and compass for longer walks or rides, as GPS or mobile phones may not work.
  • Tell a responsible person where you are going and when you expect to return.
  • Ensure an experienced adult accompanies children.
  • Obey all safety and warning signs.

In an emergency

  • In an emergency, call Triple Zero (000).
  • Stay on the trail.
  • There is occasional mobile network coverage at elevated points along the trail between Mount Hayward lookout and Airlie Beach.
  • Otherwise, send help to either end of the trail.
  • Carry a personal locator beacon (PLB) and activate it if necessary.
  • Know your location at all times—follow your movements on a map and heed all trail signs giving location information.

Looking after the walk

Portable fuel stoves are light and easy to carry. Photo: Queensland Government.

Portable fuel stoves are light and easy to carry. Photo: Queensland Government.

Carry all rubbish out with you, do not bury it along the circuit. Photo: Adam Creed, Queensland Government.

Carry all rubbish out with you, do not bury it along the circuit. Photo: Adam Creed, Queensland Government.

Keep waterways clean

Look after the waterways. Soap, detergent, skin creams, urine and food scraps affect water purity.

  • Do not use detergents, toothpaste or soap in waterways.
  • Use hot water and a scourer to clean dishes.
  • Bathe and wash dishes and clothes at least 50m from waterways.
  • Use toilets before swimming.

Use a fuel stove only

  • Open fires are prohibited.
  • Carry fuel (gas or liquid spirit) stoves for cooking.
  • Do not leave stoves unattended when lit.

Camping

  • Use existing sites at the camping areas.
  • Do not dig trenches or flatten, or break, any vegetation.
  • Leave your site in the same or better condition than you found it.
  • Check your site thoroughly before leaving to ensure nothing is left behind.

Toilets

  • Always try to use toilets where available.
  • Toilets can be found at both bush camps along the Conway circuit.
  • To help the treatment process, do not place any rubbish or sanitary items into toilets.
  • Close the lid after use.
  • Where there are no toilets, bury human waste and the soiled toilet paper about 50cm deep and at least 100m from camp sites, tracks and waterways.
  • Take all sanitary items with you—they do not decompose.

Rubbish

  • There are no rubbish bins on the Conway circuit.
  • Reduce your rubbish by bringing as little packaging as possible.
  • Please bring out all your rubbish and dispose of it properly.
  • Solid waste and litter is unsightly and can injure and kill wildlife.
  • Keep the camp clean—pick up even tiny pieces of packaging and cigarette butts.

Things to remember

  • Stay on the trail—shortcuts cause erosion and can lead to dead ends.
  • Leave your pets at home. You will protect your pet and native wildlife, and meet more animals on your walk.
  • Never feed or leave food for animals—you might be bitten or scratched.
  • Our foods can be harmful, so let animals find their own food.

Tourism information links

Whitsunday Information Centre
www.tourismwhitsundays.com.au
Bruce Highway, Prosperpine QLD 4800
ph (07) 4945 3711
fax (07) 4945 3182
email

Bowen Visitor Information Centre
www.tourismbowen.com.au
Bruce Highway, Mount Gordon QLD 4805
ph (07) 4786 4222
fax (07) 4786 4222
email 

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
17 January 2020