Conway National Park Whitsundays

Photo credit: Photo: Adam Creed © Qld Govt

Things to do

    Camping and accommodation

    Camping

    Walk-in bush camping opportunities are available. If you wish to camp you will need to obtain a permit—fees apply. A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your camp site. Sites are limited and you can book your camping permit in advance. Penalties apply for camping without a permit.

    Other accommodation

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

    Walking

    Conway National Park has a variety of walking tracks for you to enjoy. If you plan to go bushwalking, be prepared and tell a friend or family member of your plans. All distances given are one way. All walks and facilities are shown on the Conway national and conservation parks map (PDF, 147.2KB) . Note: The numbers that appear in brackets before the track name are map references.

    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
    GradeDescription
    Grade 2 walking trackGrade 2 No bushwalking experience required. The track is a compacted surface.
    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.

    Access from Conway National Park day-use area

    (1) Coastal Fringe Circuit Grade 2 walking track

    Distance: 1.2km

    Details: Starting at the day-use area, this track passes through lowland rainforest and crosses a small tidal creek.

    (2) Hayward Gully Grade 2 walking track

    Distance: 1.6km from day-use area.

    Details: This track branches off the Coastal Fringe Circuit to Hayward Gully, with its lowland rainforest and rocky gullies.

    Access from Mt Rooper car park

    (3) Swamp Bay Grade 3 walking track

    Distance: 2.1km

    Details: Starting from the car park, this track passes the foot of Mt Rooper to arrive at Swamp Bay, where a coral-strewn beach offers views of the Molle islands. Return on the same track. Signs along this track and Mt Rooper track describe Indigenous use of local plants.

    (4) Mt Rooper

    Mt Rooper offers views via four walking options. The turn-off to Mt Rooper is 200m along the Swamp Bay track. All distances given below are one-way from the car park.

    The track passes through low woodland growing in shallow, stony, clay soils where brushbox, grasstrees and wattles are prominent. Although grasstrees here are small, they can grow to 4m tall elsewhere. Their pale yellow flowers on spear-like stalks provide food for many insects.

    Conway Outlook Grade 3 walking track

    Distance: 800m

    Details: This first section of the Mt Rooper Circuit climbs up through mixed forests for a view over Shute Harbour to the Conway Range. Either return from this outlook or walk on to a natural lookout at Mt Rooper.

    Mt Rooper Grade 3 walking track

    Distance: 2.3km

    Details: Continue on from Conway Outlook. The shallow, stony clay soils support brush box, grasstrees, wattles and other woodland vegetation. Soak up the panoramic vista of the Whitsunday Passage and islands at the summit.

    Mt Rooper Circuit Grade 3 walking track

    Distance: 5.4km

    Details: Continue from the lookout passing views to Daydream and North Molle islands, descend through mixed forest to meet the Swamp Bay track. Turn left and return to the car park to complete the circuit.

    Mt Rooper Circuit and Swamp Bay Grade 3 walking track

    Distance: 7.2km

    Details: Take in both the circuit and Swamp Bay tracks for a comfortable one-day walk. Enjoy a picnic at Swamp Bay.

    Access from Coral Beach car park

    (5) Coral Beach Grade 3 walking track

    Distance: 1.1km

    Details: This track starts and finishes at Coral Beach car park. A brochure describing First Nations people's use of the coastal environment is available from the leaflet box at the start. (Please return the brochure when finished.) Enjoy views across Whitsunday Passage from Coral Beach.

    (6) The Beak Grade 3 walking track

    Distance: 620m from Coral Beach

    Details: After reaching Coral Beach continue on to The Beak. Walk east along Coral Beach and watch for the lookout symbol. The walk returns the same way.

    Access from Forestry Road car park

    (7) Kingfisher circuit Grade 3 walking track

    Distance: 2km

    Details: From the car park, wind down into a moist rainforest valley then ascend to meet up with the Conway circuit. Turn right to return to the car park or left to find the Wompoo way turn-off, a further 1.5km along the Conway circuit.

    (8) Wompoo way (Shared-use trail: walkers and mountain-bike riders allowed)

    Trail grade: Grade 3 walking trackGrade 3 mountain bike trail

    Distance: 7km return to Forestry Road car park

    Details: Follow the Conway circuit (an old logging road) 2.3km from the Forestry Road car park and then turn left onto the Wompoo way turn-off to reach a calm creek lined with Alexandra palms. Listen for wompoo fruit-doves calling from the canopy.

    Kingfisher circuit and Wompoo way are part of the Conway circuit (9). See the Conway circuit web page for more detailed information.

    Mountain biking

    There are a range of mountain-biking opportunities for cyclists from easy to more difficult tracks in part of Conway National Park. See the Conway circuit web page for more information.

    Picnic and day-use areas

    Stop for a picnic at the Conway National Park day-use area where toilets, a shelter shed, picnic tables and wood-fired barbecues are provided. Or stretch your legs and walk to Swamp Bay camping area, which has picnic tables only.

    Fishing

    The adjacent waters of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park offer boating and fishing opportunities. It is possible to fish from the beach at Swamp Bay and Coral Beach.

    Marine park zoning regulations protect the inter-tidal zone and waters surrounding Conway National Park. Zoning regulations specify how you can use particular sites and the permits you might require. For detailed information on activities such as fishing and crabbing, consult the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority zoning map. Maps are available from Queensland Fisheries offices, bait and tackle shops, Queensland Parks and Wildlife (QPWS) offices and online at www.gbrmpa.gov.au.

    Minimum size and maximum bag limits apply to popular fish species. Queensland fisheries legislation applies in zones where fishing is permitted. See Queensland Fisheries for more information.

    Viewing wildlife

    Conway National Park is of high biological significance. Twenty-three species are significant nationally and internationally, 6 species are rare or threatened and three are known only from this area.

    During the daytime you may see emerald doves, sulphur-crested cockatoos and brush-turkeys. Orange-footed scrubfowl mounds can be seen along the Circuit and Swamp Bay tracks. Early morning and late afternoon will be your best chance to see these unusual birds. Endangered Proserpine rock-wallabies live in small areas at the park's northern end but they are rarely seen.

    Some species of skink (a type of lizard) are found only in this landscape and in the nearby Clarke Range. A leaf-tail gecko, Phyllurus ossa, is a rare find—its population barely extends beyond the Conway Range. Keep watch for the brilliant blue flash of Ulysses butterflies as they flit amongst the foliage.

    From about November, you will share the rainforest with buff-breasted paradise-kingfishers. Every year, they make the long journey from Papua New Guinea to nest here in termite mounds. From about March, when their young are strong enough for the long flight, they return to their northern home. Listen for the birds' descending trill or look for the flash of their long, white tail plumes.

    Other things to do

    People go swimming at Coral Beach and Swamp Bay but caution is needed as these areas are not patrolled by lifesavers. Dangerous marine stingers are prevalent between October and May, but may be present year-round. Please see marine stingers for more information. Be crocwise! Estuarine crocodiles have been sighted in this area, exercise caution when near the water. Your safety is our concern, but your responsibility. Read more about being crocwise.