Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail Whitsundays

Photo credit: Photo: Justin Heitman © Qld Government

Walking

    View over Solway Passage, Whitsunday Island. Photo: J Heitman.

    View over Solway Passage, Whitsunday Island. Photo: J Heitman.

    Short walks

    The Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail offers a variety of enjoyable short walks. Take your time to uncover the true essence of the Whitsundays.

    Short walks on Whitsunday Island

    Solway circuit (Grade: moderate)

    Track map: Whitsunday Island (Whitehaven Beach; Tongue Point) walking track map (PDF, 241.5KB)

    Distance: 1.2km circuit

    Time: Allow 40min

    Details: Starting from Whitehaven Beach, this one-way circuit winds its way uphill to a natural rock platform offering spectacular views over Solway Passage and surrounding islands. Trackside information signs offer walkers an insight into how Whitehaven’s landscape was formed.

    Hill Inlet lookouts (Grade: easy to moderate)

    Track map: Whitsunday Island (Whitehaven Beach; Tongue Point) walking track map (PDF, 241.5KB)

    Distance: 1.4km return

    Time: Allow 40min

    Details: Take an uphill stroll to look over the turquiose waters to Hill Inlet, a culturally significant area to the Ngaro people. All the lookouts have excellent views, so if the first one is too crowded, simply move on to the second or third lookout platform. Continue the circuit track, heading downhill to the track junction, which leads either back to Tongue Bay or over to Lookout Beach.

    Lookout Beach (Grade: easy to moderate)

    Track map: Whitsunday Island (Whitehaven Beach; Tongue Point) walking track map (PDF, 241.5KB)

    Distance: 500m return

    Time: Allow 20min

    Details: Branch off the Hill Inlet lookout track and head downhill to the ivory-white sands of Lookout Beach. Situated at the mouth of Hill Inlet, you can enjoy the sunshine or rest in the shade.

    Dugong–Sawmill Track (Grade: easy to moderate)

    Track map: Whitsunday Island (Whitsunday Cairn; Dugong-Sawmill track; Whitsunday Peak) track map (PDF, 241.5KB)

    Distance: 3km return

    Time: Allow 1hr

    Details: The track starts from either Dugong Beach or Sawmill Beach. Near Dugong Beach, you'll wend your way beneath towering hoop pines and rainforest stands among vivid mosses, lichens and fungi; almost a fairy-tale scene. From Sawmill Beach, you will need to cross Sawmill Creek to reach the track. Be prepared to get wet, especially at or nearing high tide.

    Short walks on Hook Island

    Ngaro Cultural Site (Grade: moderate)

    Track map: Whitsunday Island (Whitehaven Beach; Tongue Point) walking track map (PDF, 241.5KB)

    Distance: 340m return

    Time: Allow 20min

    Details: The Ngaro people have walked this land for over 9,000 years. Protected from the elements in a once-hidden cave, Ngaro artwork adorns the fragile rock surface. The track begins deep inside Nara Inlet—an excellent overnight anchorage. Short and initially steep, the stepped track leads up the side of the inlet to a viewing platform at the cave’s entrance. Allow at least an hour to immerse yourself in the stories of the site.

    Walkers enjoy the amazing view from Whitsunday Peak. Photo: J Heitman.

    Whitsunday Peak, Whitsunday Island. Photo: J Heitman.

    Long walks

    The Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail on South Molle and Whitsunday islands provides half-day and full-day walks. Enjoy the rolling hills and grasslands of South Molle Island or climb to the craggy heights of Whitsunday Peak for an unforgettable view.

    Long walks on Whitsunday Island

    Chance Bay (Grade: moderate)

    Track map: Whitsunday Island (Whitehaven Beach; Tongue Point) walking track map (PDF, 241.5KB)

    Distance: 3.6km return

    Time: Allow 2.5–3hr

    Details: Escape the sun and follow this track through some of Whitsunday Island’s more secluded forests to the peaceful Chance Bay. This enjoyable walk branches off Solway circuit which starts at Whitehaven Beach.

    Whitsunday Peak (Grade: difficult)

    Track map: Whitsunday Island (Whitsunday Cairn; Dugong-Sawmill track; Whitsunday Peak) track map (PDF, 241.5KB)

    Distance: 5km return

    Time: Allow 4hr

    Details: Stand at the top of the island and enjoy uninterrupted views of the Whitsundays. Accessed from Sawmill Beach in Cid Harbour, the Whitsunday Peak track offers a great getaway from the busy beaches. Walk through rainforest gullies and uphill to windblown heaths to see spectacular views from the ‘roof of the Whitsundays’.

    Warning: This track is steep and physically demanding. Consider your fitness and walking experience carefully before setting out. Wear appropriate shoes, hat and take plenty of drinking water (at least 2–3 litres per person on a hot day) and good food and energy snacks.

    Whitsunday Cairn (Grade: difficult)

    Track map: Whitsunday Island (Whitsunday Cairn; Dugong-Sawmill track; Whitsunday Peak) track map (PDF, 241.5KB)

    Distance: 4km return

    Time: Allow 3hr+

    Details: Steep and challenging, the track to Whitsunday Cairn leads off Cairn Beach, the most northern beach on Whitsunday Island. A very, steep ascent takes you through hoop pines and dry rainforest. Stay on the ridge line as you walk through drier open woodland where the giant grasstrees live. Take in breathtaking views when you reach the windswept and exposed, rocky outcrop below the towering Whitsunday Cairn.

    Warning: There is no defined track. Look for triangular track markers that intermittently mark the way. This walk is for fit and experienced walkers only.

    Long walks on South Molle Island

    Sandy Bay – Spion Kop (Grade: moderate walking; easy riding)

    Track map: South Molle Island map (PDF, 157.2KB)

    Distance: 8.4km return

    Time: Allow 2hr walking; 30min riding

    Details: A fantastic outing through grasslands studded with grasstrees and a beach lined with weeping, coastal casuarinas. Prepare for a gradual, gentle climb from Sandy Bay to the popular Spion Kop lookout. Signs along the last 1.2km will inform you of South Molle’s long history of travel and trade.

    Sandy Bay – Mount Jeffreys (Grade: moderate walking; easy riding)

    Track map: South Molle Island map (PDF, 157.2KB)

    Distance: 8km return to Sandy Bay

    Time: Allow 2hr walking; 30min riding

    Details: This track is a 1.3km (one way) extension off the Sandy Bay – Spion Kop track. It's a gradual, gentle slope uphill South Molle Island’s highest point—Mount Jeffreys. Rest on the rocky peak and absorb 360 degree views to the surrounding islands and mainland.

    Note: There are more walking opportunities beyond the Ngaro Sea Trail on South Molle Island.

    See Whitsunday Journey Guide (PDF, 6.2MB) for more information.

    Walk safely

    • Choose your walks carefully—some longer walks are difficult and are suited to fit and experienced walkers only. Be well prepared before departing and leave enough time for your return journey. You don’t want to be walking in the dark.
    • Keep to the track. The islands are rugged and densely vegetated—they are not places to explore off-track. Also, new tracks erode easily, damaging the landscape and the reef as increased sediment run-off smothers coral.
    • Respect sign directions. Access to some areas is restricted and some walking tracks may be closed due to maintenance, fires, cyclone damage or other safety reasons. Signs are there for your safety.
    • Wear suitable footwear. Sturdy boots or shoes will ensure you have a safe and comfortable walk.
    • Avoid stinging trees. Their heart-shaped leaves have fine hairs, which can be extremely painful if touched.
    • Take water and wear a hat and sunscreen.
    • Carry a first aid kit and prepare for emergencies as below.
    • Leave your itinerary with a reliable friend and keep them informed.

    For more things to do and island safety information visit the Parks of the Whitsundays page.

    Never leave anything but your footprints behind. Photo: J Heitman.

    Never leave anything but your footprints behind. Photo: J Heitman.

    Walk softly

    Leave no trace

    • Take all rubbish, including food scraps and fishing tackle, back to the mainland. Bins are not provided. Remove excess food packaging before your trip to minimise the rubbish you bring home.
    • Do not bury or burn anything. Even small fragments of line and string can become entangled around birds’ legs with agonising and fatal results.

    Be pest-free!

    Our precious Great Barrier Reef World Heritage islands are among the most pest-free islands in the world. They need your help to stay this way. Please Be pest-free! (PDF, 573.6KB) before your visit.

    Before you visit, please check that your boat, clothing, footwear and gear are free of soil, seeds, parts of plants, eggs, ants and insects (and their eggs), spiders, lizards, toads, rats and mice.

    Be sure to:

    • Unpack your camping gear and equipment and check it carefully as pests love to hide in stored camping gear.
    • Clean soil from footwear and gear as invisible killers such as viruses, bacteria and fungi are carried in soil.
    • Check for seeds in pockets, cuffs and hook and loop fastening strips, such as Velcro.

    While you are on the islands, remove soil, weeds, seeds and pests from your boat, gear and clothes before moving to a new site. Wrap seeds and plant material, and place them in your rubbish.

    Everyone in Queensland has a General Biosecurity Obligation to minimise the biosecurity risk posed by their activities. This includes the risk of introducing and spreading weeds and pests to island national parks.

    Be Reef Smart Don't throw food scraps or fish waste into the water from the beach, at anchorages, or where people are swimming. Don't swim where fish are being cleaned.

    See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

    Please also read more about looking after parks and visit the Whitsunday national park islands page.