Conway National Park Whitsundays

Photo credit: Adam Creed © Queensland Government

Be inspired: Paddle, pedal, soar or sail—explore The Whitsundays your way!

White sands, rich green landscapes and turquoise waters combine to make The Whitsundays your ultimate tropical getaway. Photo credit: Justin Heitman © Queensland Government

Things to do

    Camping and accommodation

    Camping

    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 Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday area. See tourism information links for more information.

    Walking and cycling

    Conway National Park has a variety of different trails for you to enjoy. Trails range from short and easy walks and shared-trials to challenging overnight cross-country hikes and mountain bike rides. Remember to be prepared for any emergency, and tell a friend or family member of your plans.

    All trails and facilities are shown on the Conway national and conservation parks trails map (PDF, 170.6KB) .

    The give-way code, Conway National Park shared-trails

    Conway National Park has shared-trails where walkers and cyclists share the same trail. Please be careful and courteous and follow the shared-trails give-way code.

    • Cyclists must slow down, give-way to and watch for walkers.
    • Cyclists must alert others when approaching.
    • Everyone must slow down and go around wildlife.

    Remember to follow the Parks and forests guidelines for cycling and walking with care.

    Trails from the Conway National Park day-use area

    Coastal Fringe circuit (shared-trail)

    Grade 2 Easy

    Distance: 1.2km circuit
    Time: Allow 45min walking, 15min riding 
    Details: Starting at the day-use area, this track passes through lowland rainforest and crosses a small tidal creek.

    Hayward Gully way (shared-trail)

    Grade 2 Easy

    Distance: 3.2km return
    Time: Allow 1.5hr walking, 30min riding
    Details: This track branches off the Coastal Fringe Circuit to Hayward Gully, with its lowland rainforest and rocky gullies. Please be aware this trail becomes quite boggy during wet weather.

    Trails from the Swamp Bay/Mount Rooper car park

    Swamp Bay trail (shared-trail)

    Grade 3 Easy

    Distance: 4.2km return
    Time: Allow 1.5hr walking, 30min riding
    Details: Starting from the car park, this trail passes around the foot of Mt Rooper to arrive at Swamp Bay, where a coral-strewn beach offers views of the Molle islands. Swamp Bay is beautiful at hightide in mid-winter, when there are fewer mosquitoes and midges. Return to the carpark on the same trail. Signs along the way describe the wildlife and different uses of local plants.

    Some trails are built for boots only.

    Grade 3 The last 400m of the Swamp Bay trail is suitable for walkers only.

    Mount Rooper circuit, one-way circuit only (shared-trail)

    Photo of the view to the Whitsunday Passage from the Mount Rooper outlook.

    Catch a stunning view of the Whitsunday Passage from Mount Rooper outlook.

    Photo credit: Linda Thompson © Queensland Government

    Image of Mount Rooper circuit.

    The Mount Rooper circuit is a shared-trail. Walkers and cyclist must remain alert and follow the shared-trail give-way code.

    Photo credit: Linda Thompson © Queensland Government

    Catch a stunning panoramic view over the Whitsunday passage and islands from the Mount Rooper outlook. You can walk or ride the Mount Rooper circuit, which is a one-way circuit trail only. It is a challenging and winding uphill climb to the outlook and a winding descent back to the Swamp Bay trail. Take and drink plenty of water, wear sun protection and protective clothing.

    Remember to follow the shared-trails give way code. Cyclists must slow down, give-way to and watch for walkers. Cyclists must alert others when approaching. Everyone must slow down and go around wildlife.

    Grade 4 Intermediate

    Distance: 5.3km one-way circuit trail
    Time: Allow 3.5hr walking, 1.5hr riding
    Details: From the car park the turn off to the Mount Rooper circuit is 200m along the Swamp Bay trail. Pass through woodland plant communities on this steep and winding 2.1km one-way circuit to Mount Rooper outlook. Take a breather and soak up a panoramic vista of the Whitsunday Passage and islands at the summit. Continue on from the outlook catching passing views out across the coastline. Descend for 1.8km, winding your way down through mixed forest communities to meet the Swamp Bay trail junction. From here, turn left and return to the car park (1.2km) or right to Swamp Bay (900m).

    Walks

    From the Coral Beach car park

    Coral Beach trail
    Grade 3 Bicycles prohibited

    Distance: 2.2km return
    Time: Allow 1.5hr walking
    Details: This track starts and finishes at Coral Beach car park. Enjoy a pleasant day walk to Coral Beach. The views across Whitsunday Passage from Coral Beach are glorious. This beach is exposed and on hot days can be sweltering.

    The Beak lookout
    Grade 3 Bicycles prohibited

    Distance: 3.4km return (from the Coral Beach car park)
    Time: Allow 2.5hr walking
    Details: Take the Coral Beach track and head towards the eastern end of the beach. To reach the Beak lookout  it is a moderate 600m climb. The walk returns the same way.

    Short trails from the Forestry Road car park (Conway circuit)

    Kingfisher walk
    Grade 3

    Distance: 2.2km (return)
    Details: From the Forestry Road car park, follow the Conway circuit for 800m to reach the Kingfisher walk entrance. Weave your way through the rainforest passing by buttressed tulip oaks and the tangled roots of giant strangler figs. Return the same way to either go back to the car park or follow the Conway circuit 1.5km to the Wompoo way turnoff.

    Wompoo way (shared-trail)
    Grade 3 Intermediate

    Distance: 7km return to Forestry Road car park
    Details: Follow the Conway circuit 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.

    Picnic and day-use areas

    Image of Conway National Park day-use area.

    Relax and enjoy a picnic at the Conway National Park day-use area.

    Photo credit: Linda Thompson © Queensland Government

    Stop for a picnic at the Conway National Park day-use area where toilets, a shelter shed, picnic tables electric barbecues are provided. Or stretch your legs and enjoy the views at Swamp Bay, 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, 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

    In fine weather you can kayak around the coastal bays in the national park. If you choose to go swimming caution is needed as the beaches are not patrolled by lifesavers. Dangerous marine stingers are prevalent between October and May, but may be present year-round. Never swim alone, remain SharkSmart on the beaches and coastline in and around the park.

    Be aware that estuarine crocodiles occur in the waters around this national park. Always be crocwise in croc country.

    Enjoy you time in Conway National Park, remember to check park  alerts before you visit and follow the parks and forests guidelines for staying safe and looking after the park.