One of the most spectacular ways to explore the Whitsunday Islands is to follow in the footsteps of the Ngaro Sea Trail. The sea trail links Whitsunday Island, Hook Island and South Molle Island and takes in many of the iconic landmarks that makes the Whitsundays famous. You’ll walk along the pure white silica beach of Whitehaven, sail or paddle over turquoise waters, see ancient aboriginal rock art and take in the natural beauty offered by the rugged headlands, dry rainforest, rolling grasslands and simply breathtaking views.
The Ngaro Sea Trail allows you to travel from sea to summit with varying grades of difficulty and length across South Molle, Hook and Whitsunday Islands, as well journeying its sea paths for a different and refreshing perspective. The Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail can be accessed by private, charter or commercial boat. The area is also kayak friendly and within easy reach using hire vessels or bare boats. Commercial boats depart from Shute Harbour and Airlie Beach. Bareboats can be sourced at Hamilton Island, Shute Harbour or Airlie Beach.
As you’ll see in the story below, there’s the option to pull into any of the island camp grounds along the sea trail; set up a tent; and explore the myriad of walking trails.
Some of the walks include:
The Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail
highlights many iconic features that have made the area famous. Walk across pure white sands, sail over turquoise waters,see ancient rock art, rugged headlands,dry rainforest, rolling grasslands and experience the breathtaking views.The trail takes in all of the Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail. Travel from sea to summit with varying grades of difficulty and length across South Molle, Hook and Whitsunday Islands, as well you can journey its sea paths for a different and refreshing perspective. The Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail can be accessed by private, charter or commercial boat. The area is also kayak friendly and within easy reach using hire vessels or bare boats. Commercial boats depart from Shute Harbour and Airlie Beach. Bare boats can be sourced at Hamilton Island, ShuteHarbour or Airlie Beach. There are also numerous public boat ramps in the area.
The Ngaro cultural site Hook Island
This track is only 170m one way. Short and initially moderately steep, the track climbs the banks of Nara Inlet, to a rock shelter filled with Ngaro art motifsand extensive cultural deposits. The site has been upgraded with improved access, a new boardwalk, viewing area and interpretive displays.
Whitsunday Cairn, Whitsunday Island
Scrub Hen Beach to Whitsunday Cairn is 3km one way and is steep and challenging, this track has been created espacially for the Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail. Breathtaking views over Hook Island and beyond to Border Island are the rewards for the more serious hiker.
Tongue Point, Whitsunday Island
Tongue Bay to Hill Inlet lookout is 630m one way. Track junction to Lookout Beach is a short 250m one way. This moderate, winding track, travels through woodland and dry rainforest communities to the lookouts and beach. Visitors can walk uphill to take in the vistas over Hill Inlet and the islands emerging from the surrounding turquoise waters and the sweeping sands of Whitehaven Beach, a highly significant area for the Ngaro people. An alternative is to walk over the ridge and along the cycad-lined boardwalk to the extensive white sands of Lookout Beach. Improved circuit access tracks to the lookouts and a circuit track to Lookout Beach have formed this section of the Great Walk.
Whitehaven Beach Chance Bay, Whitsunday Island
Solway circuit – 1.1km Chance Bay – 2.5km one way from Whitehaven Beach, The Great Walk project creates a short circuit track that climbs through impressive grass trees, cycads and rock fern, with viewing opportunities over Solway Passage, Pentecost and Haslewood islands. The track then descends through coastal forest back to Whitehaven Beach. For those with more time, a branch track off the circuit winds through some of the best of Whitsunday’s forest and woodlands to Chance Bay.This secluded bay on the southern side of Whitsunday Island is also a great anchorage option for boats during northerly winds.
Whitsunday Peak, Whitsunday Island
Whitsunday Peak track – 3km one way Dugong-Sawmill track – 1.5km one way. The Whitsunday Peak track is one of the most challenging of the Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail. Reaching an elevation of 437m, this track offers spectacular views over the Whitsunday islands and surrounding mainland. Accessed from the Sawmill Beach picnic area at Cid Harbour, the Great Walk project defines the Whitsunday Peak track and upgrades theDugong-Sawmill track.
Spion Kop and Mt Jeffreys, South Molle Island
Sandy Bay to Spion Kop – 5.5km extension to Mt Jeffreys – 1.5km winding its way through open forest, grasslands, dry rainforest and stands of hoop pine, the track starts at the boaters camp at Sandy Bay and traverses the length of South Molle Island. Culturally significant sites can be visited en route to Spion Kop,and once again spectacular views are a highlight from the higher elevations of the track. The Great Walk project has now upgraded these tracks, and its access tracks from Paddle Bay camp and South Molle Island resort, providing an extensive and accessible island track network of around 12km.