Whitsunday Islands National Park Whitsundays

Camp right beside the water on Hook Island, at Crayfish Beach camping area. Photo credit: © Queensland Government

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

Crayfish Beach, Hook Island

Escape to a picturesque camping hideaway at the doorstep to the best snorkelling, diving and boating experiences in the Whitsundays.

Accessible by

  • Boat

Campground facilities

  • Toilets (non-flush)
  • Tent camping
  • Snorkelling and diving
  • Canoeing and kayaking
  • Boating
  • Fishing

Sheltered by a large rocky headland to the east and towering mountains to the north and west, this secluded camping area is set in dry rainforest just off the beach.

Only metres offshore, discover the expansive fringing reef flat offering perfect conditions for snorkelling and drift dives.

Spend an afternoon kayaking or canoeing the deep blue waters of the Coral Sea and exploring the surrounding bays of Hook Island.

Rise with the sun to try your luck at reeling in a big one from the beach, or just spend the day relaxing at camp and exploring the beach, rocks and bush around the gentle waters of Crayfish Bay.

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

Crayfish Beach camping area is on Hook Island in Whitsunday Islands National Park, located offshore from the Queensland central coast, 25km east of Airlie Beach.

  • Crayfish Beach is located in Mackerel Bay South on Hook Island, approximately 17.8nm (33km) from Shute Harbour (travelling in an anti-clockwise direction).
  • This site is accessible at mid to high tide by shallow draft vessels only.
  • Anchoring is permitted. Anchorage may be poor with south-easterly or strong northerly winds.
  • No public moorings are available at Crayfish Beach. The closest public moorings can be found at Pinnacle Bay.
  • 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.

Before you visit

Opening hours

Crayfish Beach camping area is open 24 hours a day. Check-in to your camp after 2pm and check-out by 11am on the day of departure.

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

Camping area features: Crayfish Beach has outstanding physical beauty with an extensive fringing reef flat area. The camping area is sheltered by a large rocky headland to the east, and mountains to the north and west. A seasonal creek feeds from the back of the camping area to its sandy shore.

Location: Mackerel Bay, Hook Island; approximately 35km north-north-east of Airlie Beach.

Access: The camping area can be reached by boat (only) during mid to high tide by shallow craft only.

Number of sites: Open area without separately defined sites. Maximum of 12 people.

Camp sites are suitable for: walk-in camping.

Camp site surface: Sand and dirt.

Facilities: Composting toilet.

Open fires: Prohibited.

Generators: Not permitted.

Essentials to bring: Drinking water, rubbish bags, insect repellent. Read more about before you visit.

Bookings: book online or learn about our camping booking options. Advance bookings recommended for holiday periods.

Mobile phone coverage: Not available.

Visiting safely

For more safety information see Visiting Whitsunday Islands safely and camp with care.