Visiting the Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail safely
The Whitsunday islands and the Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail are readily accessible by boat from Airlie Beach or Shute Harbour, east of Proserpine in Central Queensland. By road the area is about 12hr north of Brisbane and 8hr south of Cairns. When you get close to Proserpine, follow signs on the Bruce Highway to Airlie Beach. Most roads in the region are suitable for conventional vehicles.
You can access the Whitsunday national park islands in several ways.
- Private vessel. There are public boat ramps at Shute Harbour, Abel Point, Airlie Beach, Cannonvale, Dingo Beach, Conway Beach and Midge Point.
- Commercial tours. Many commercial operators offer tours of the Whitsundays. See tourism information links below for further information.
- Commercial boat transfers. Organise transfers at tourist booking agencies. Commercial operators depart from either Shute Harbour or Abel Point marina. Tides, group size, equipment and costs will determine the type of vessel required.
- Commercial boat hire. See tourism information links for further information.
If you plan to access the islands by kayak, you need to develop an itinerary according to your fitness level and ability to carry water. You need to know and understand the effects of weather to cross various passages and channels, and know what to do when the weather prevents you from following your itinerary and camp bookings. Contact us to discuss your proposed itinerary before booking your camp sites.
Refer to the Whitsunday Islands National Park Visiting safely information.
- Even though some Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail walks are short, natural hazards still exist—be aware of what to expect and how to respond in an emergency.
- Think about the abilities and limits of the walkers in your group.
- Consider their bushwalking experience and fitness levels.
- Track conditions are important factors.
- Understyand that bad weather (such as periods of high rainfall or very hot conditions) can make walking more difficult and challenging.
- Calculate how much food and water you can carry and match this with the trip’s length.
- Try to carry some extra food and water in case of emergency.
- Ensure your gear, boat, kayak is carrying pests to our precious Great Barrier Reef World Heritage islands.
Essentials to bring
- Sturdy ankle-supporting footwear.
- Drinking water—make sure you take enough for a full day’s walk.
- Nourishing lightweight food and high-energy snacks—take extra food in case the walk takes longer than expected.
- Hat, sunscreen and personal insect repellent.
Permits and fees
Camping permits are required for camping on the Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail and fees apply.
- Visitor numbers are limited to ensure a quality experience.
- You will need to book your camp site and purchase your permit in advance.
- You must display your camping permit prominently on your tent—there are fines for camping without it.
- Book your camp site online.
- If you cannot book online, see camping bookings for further options.
Climate and weather
Pleasant conditions occur throughout the year.
- April–September daytime temperatures are mild to warm (21–26°C) with cool nights (16–22°C) particularly when prevailing south-easterly winds blow.
- Water temperatures on the reef flat vary from 22°C in July to 27°C in January.
- October–January days are hotter (26-31°C) and more humid.
- Balmy nights follow strong but cooling north-easterly afternoon sea breezes.
- January–April is the wet season though showers may fall in any month.
- Cyclones are more likely between November and March.
- See staying safe for further general information.
The Whitsundays receive good broadcast, radio reception and weather forecasts are available on most channels hourly. Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology website, or by phoning 1300 360 426.
See tourism information links for further information.
Fuel and supplies
The nearest fuel and supplies can be found in Proserpine and Airlie Beach. See tourism information links for further information.
- Changes to access during Betty's Beach boardwalk replacement 8 March to 30 June 2021