Whitsunday Islands National Park Whitsundays

Head to Sawmill Beach day-use area for a picnic, walk or to just relax. Photo credit: © Brooke Miles Photography

The iconic Hill Inlet is not to be missed on a visit to Whitsunday Islands National Park. Photo credit: © Tourism and Events Queensland

Sawmill Beach day-use area

Relax with a picnic beside turquoise waters before hiking into the hills at this day-use area overlooking Cid Harbour.

Accessible by

  • Boat
  • Canoe or kayak

Attraction facilities

  • Toilets (non-flush)
  • Picnic tables

Visit this peaceful, shady picnic area nestled among coastal vine forest and the impressively-large nests of orange-footed scrubfowl.

Take a leisurely stroll along the sands of Sawmill Beach, part of the Whitsunday Ngaro sea trail, keeping lookout for the graceful sea-eagles that use this part of Cid Harbour as their nesting ground. Reflect on times during World War II when the Australian and allied navies used this harbour as an anchorage.

Escape into the hills for a forest walk on the Dugong–Sawmill track or the more challenging Whitsunday Peak track.

If a daytrip isn’t enough, experience the Whitsundays by twilight, spending a night or two camping by the beach at nearby Dugong Beach camping area.

Whitsunday Islands National Park is part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, famed for its superlative natural beauty, outstanding examples of reef ecosystem development, evolutionary history and amazing diversity.

Getting there and getting around

Sawmill Beach day-use area is on Whitsunday Island in Whitsunday Islands National Park, located offshore from the Queensland central coast, 25km east of Airlie Beach.

  • Sawmill Beach day-use area is located on the western side of Whitsunday Island in Cid Harbour.
  • Dugong Beach, the nearby anchorage, is located about 41nm (76km) from Shute Harbour (travelling in an anti-clockwise direction).
  • Access to this site is possible from mid to high tide.
  • Read boat and fish with care for tips on boating and fishing safety and caring for parks.
  • For tourism information for all regions in Queensland, see Queensland.com, and for friendly advice on how to get there, where to stay and what to do, find your closest accredited visitor information centre.

Getting to the Whitsundays

  • Travel on the Bruce Highway to Proserpine, 125km north of Mackay.
  • From Proserpine, drive 25km east along Shute Harbour Road to Airlie Beach, and continue a further 10km to Shute Harbour. Book your tour or charter boat or launch your vessel from here.
  • All roads to the boat launch sites are suitable for conventional 2WDs.

The islands' national park is easily accessible by commercial tours and transfers, charter boat and private vessel from the coastal towns of Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour. Hamilton Island (20km south-east of Shute Harbour) is also accessible by aircraft.

Commercial tours

  • Commercial operators offer day trips, camping tours and boat, camper and kayak transfers departing from Abell Point Marina at Airlie Beach and from Shute Harbour.

Charter boat

  • Bare boats or private charters are available from Airlie Beach, Shute Harbour and Hamilton Island.

Private vessel

  • There are public boat ramps at Port of Airlie and Abell Point Marina in Airlie Beach, Shute Harbour, Cannonvale (4km east of Airlie Beach), Dingo Beach (50km north-west of Airlie Beach), Conway Beach (38km south of Airlie Beach) and Midge Point (60km south of Airlie Beach).
  • Always take the weather and tidal influences into account when boating in the Whitsundays.

Aircraft

  • Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach have airstrips and commercial operators offer sightseeing tours.

Wheelchair access

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities.

Before you visit

Opening hours

Sawmill Beach day-use area is open 24 hours a day

Check park alerts for the latest information on access, closures and conditions.

Visiting safely

For more safety information see Visiting Whitsunday Islands safely.