Follow in the footsteps of the Ngaro people, the traditional owners of the Whitsunday area, and undertake a journey through a region of unsurpassed natural beauty and rich cultural history. Blending seaways with a range of walks, the Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail is truly unique. Walks range from as little as 170m one way, to 7km hikes across whole islands. The largely self-guided Sea Trail is dotted with campsites and the waters are generally calm and easy to traverse in a kayak or small boat.
Visit the Ngaro cultural site and see Aboriginal cave paintings at Nara Inlet, walk up to the Hill Inlet lookout at the northern end of famous Whitehaven Beach for a picture-postcard perfect view of the swirling sands of Hill Inlet, or tackle the steeper, more advanced hikes to Whitsunday Peak or Whitsunday Cairn on Whitsunday Island.
What to see
The Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail will highlight 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.
Take 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 journeying its sea paths for a different and refreshing perspective. The Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail can be accessed by private, charter, or commercial boats. 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. There are also numerous public boat ramps in the area.
Extending across three islands, South Molle, Hook Island, and Whitsunday Island, the Ngaro Sea Trail allows you to trace the footsteps of this region’s original owners, the Ngaro people. This trail takes you through a variety of landscapes, from the beach to grassland to rainforest. You can hike as much of the trail as you wish, from short, easy portions to lengthy, island-covering adventures. On Whitsunday Island, you can expect a rugged climb to breathtaking vantage points or for those who enjoy history; you may want to explore the portion of the trail near Nara Inlet, where you’ll find entrancing aboriginal cave paintings.
An excellent introduction to the island, through typical Whitsunday bushland. Starts at the Scenic Trail entrance (near the eastern end of the Whitsunday Apartments). This lookout is the second-highest point on the island and drops off to sheer cliff faces, with a stunning, panoramic view of the main resort area, marina village and surrounding islands.
Starting on the Scenic Trail and connecting with the Saddle Trail, this is a spectacular but challenging walk. Halfway through you can climb to the Hill Top Viewing Area, where you’ll find a picnic table to relax and enjoy stunning views to the north and south. Once you’ve negotiated the final steep climb to Passage Peak, the reward is an awe-inspiring view of the Whitsundays from the highest vantage point.
South East Head Trail
From the Palm Valley entrance (1750m from the resort via road), dense bush gives way to exposed rocky features and sharp cliffs. You’ll see abundant native grass trees and stunning views of the Lindeman group of islands. At the end of this walk, if you’re a more experienced hiker, you can cut overland down to the Valley Trail and Escape Beach for your return leg.
Escape Beach Trail
A trail from Saddle Junction takes you to Escape Beach where clear waters lap onto a sandy beach protected by huge rocky outcrops. This creates a secluded and charming retreat. Stop in Mangrove Flat on your way down the trail and experience a healthy mangrove ecosystem with a wide variety of birds and other marine life. Then continue on to Escape Beach. If you’re an experienced hiker and the tide is low, make the trip a circuit by walking around the rocky point at the eastern end of the beach. This leads up to the Valley Trail, which follows a creek up to Turkey Nest Junction. (Please note that the circuit return trail is currently closed. Only attempt this at LOW TIDE. Please refer to the Tour Desk daily for tide times).
Starting from the Palm Valley entrance, a short steep climb takes you up to the turn-off leading down to Coral Cove on the right, or up to the Resort Lookout on the left. Coral Cove is a peaceful, relaxing beach with views south to Lindeman Island.