In the Whitsundays we’re well known for the blue, but did you know, we also have plenty of green!
Our 74 islands are national parks, populated with native flora and fauna, and criss-crossed with some of Queensland’s very best walking tracks.
On almost every island in the main archipelago, there’s a good reason to throw your hiking boots in the dinghy and head ashore.
As we enter a new year, when fitness is back on many people’s priority list, we at #GoBareboating have decided to bring you our pick of the top 5 Whitsunday walks.
1. South Molle Island
From the moorings at Sandy Bay, park your tender on the beach and join the track to the south of the camp site.
The pathway climbs gently up the hillside and along the ridge to open grasslands.
Unlike some of the Whitsundays’ other walking tracks, much of this one is in open ground, meaning uninterrupted spectacular views.
Heading across the island, you have the choice of continuing ahead to the lookout at impressive Spion Kop, or branching right to Mount Jeffreys.
You can also take a left fork down to the rear of the currently closed South Molle Island Resort, where the pathway joins another track to equally beautiful Lamond Hill.
Mostly flat or only gently sloping, these South Molle Island tracks are among the easiest for walkers to negotiate.
The track to Spion Kop can even be tackled by mountain bike.
The rewards are postcard perfect panoramas in all directions of the Whitsundays.
Top Tip: While open ground means fantastic views, it also equates to little shade. Don’t forget to pack a hat!
2. Whitsunday Peak
Cid Harbour is the access point for one of the Whitsundays’ most challenging yet rewarding walks.
Part of the region’s Ngaro Sea Trail, the track to Whitsunday Peak is steep, but well worth the effort as it ascends 437 metres to scenes you would normally only glimpse from an aeroplane.
Starting from Sawmill Beach, the pathway zigzags up the mountain side, crossing boulder strewn creeks and cutting through thick rainforest.
Flat rocks at the peak form a natural platform for a well-earned rest and a place to catch your breath just as each vista takes it away.
Top Tip: The Whitsunday Peak track takes around four hours to negotiate so take note of the tide if you don’t want a long haul down the beach with your dinghy!
3. Border Island
Bareboaters making the effort to reach Border Island are now rewarded with more than just an out-of-the-way experience.
At Cateran Bay you will find one of the Whitsundays’ newest walking tracks.
Cleverly moulded artificial steps blend seamlessly into the hillside’s natural stone, leading the walker to the grasslands above and a choice of beautifully crafted lookouts.
Turning around you look down on boats moored peacefully in the bay, while to the east is the impressive Mosstrooper Peak and to the south little islets off the coast and the magic of Whitsunday and Haselwood Islands beyond.
Top Tip: Signposts erected by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service give the visitor useful information about the history and geography of the place and are worth photographing as part of your collection.
Photos: @_markfitz and @shazatsea
4. Langford Island
Another of the Whitsundays’ newer walking tracks can be found on Langford Island.
Starting from the north of the sandspit, the path leads past the mangroves, up the hill and ultimately to a lookout platform.
Impressive Whitsunday Bottle Trees frame the views back down the sandspit, and across to nearby Black and Hook islands.
This is also another of the gentler walks, suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels.
Top Tip: This is also another of the gentler walks, suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels.
5. Hill Inlet
The photograph every visitor to the Whitsundays wants to go home with is taken from its most famous walking track.
Paths to the Hill Inlet lookouts are accessed from Tongue Bay, where the boat will be safe at anchor or on a mooring while you make the 1.3km one-way climb.
Thanks to continued investment by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, there are now three lookouts to choose from when framing that all-important trophy photo of the Whitsundays’ most spectacular swirling sands.
The views over Hill Inlet and Whitehaven Beach are nothing short of breathtaking, and the walk on the silica sands at the bottom of the track is another of those bucket-list experiences no-one should miss.
Top Tip: For a Whitehaven view with a difference, try the brand new walking track at the southern end of Whitehaven Beach, accessed from behind the campground and also adjoining the longer track to the northerly wind anchorage of Chance Bay.