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Things to do
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.
Limit the spread of weeds on the Whitsunday Trails
Before leaving home and heading out on any of the trails:
- clean the soil off you bike wheels and frame, and the soles of your shoes
- pick all weed seeds and other plant matter off your gear, clothes and shoes, place it in a sealed bag and dispose of it in a rubbish bin.
Weeds have a significant impact on our natural ecosystems. You can help stop the spread of weeds by keeping your equipment clean and staying on the formed 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.
|Grade 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||Bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may be long, rough and very steep. Directional signs may be limited.|
|Easy||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||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||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.
Walking: 3 days and 2 nights
Riding: 4hr (fit and experienced riders)
|Kingfisher circuit||2km return||Walking: 1.5hr|
|Wompoo way||7km return|
|Honeyeater lookout||8.2km return|
Distance: 27.1km (Forestry Road to Airlie Beach)
Time: 3 days and 2 nights walking; 4hr riding (fit and experienced riders)
Walking the circuit
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
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.
Distance: 2km return
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.
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.
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.