Whitsunday Islands National Park Whitsundays

Wander through coastal vine forest to Dugong Beach on the Dugong–Sawmill track. Photo credit: Justin Heitman © 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

Dugong-Sawmill track

Explore the shady forests along the coastline between Dugong and Sawmill beaches, catching glimpses of azure water through the trees.

Journey type
Walk
Distance
3km return Start and finish points are the same and the traveller must return via the same path
Time suggested
Allow 1hr walking time.
Grade
Easy (walk)
Where
View map

Accessible by

  • Boat
  • Canoe or kayak

Journey facilities

  • Walking

Starting from either Dugong or Sawmill beach, this part of the Whitsunday Ngaro sea trail takes you on a winding path beneath towering hoop pines and tropical rainforest.

Closer to Dugong Beach, be enchanted by stands of giant rainforest trees, solitaire palms and a fairyland collection of moss, lichens and fungi. Look for marine turtles cruising by in the iridescent-blue coastal waters.

If you're heading from Sawmill Beach when the tide is high, be prepared to get wet—you have to wade through Sawmill Creek to reach the track.

Extend your visit and pitch a tent at Dugong Beach camping area to fall asleep to the sounds of gentle water lapping at the shore.

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

The Dugong–Sawmill track is on Whitsunday Island in Whitsunday Islands National Park, located offshore from the Queensland central coast, 25km east of Airlie Beach.

  • The Dugong–Sawmill track is located between Dugong Beach camping area and Sawmill Beach day-use area, on the western side of Whitsunday Island in Cid Harbour.
  • Dugong Beach 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

Dugong-Sawmill track 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 and Walk with care.