Windswept hillsides, rocky headlands with majestic hoop pines, sandy beaches, secluded coves, natural grasslands, open forest and rainforest make the inshore Molle Islands a wildlife refuges and a scenic retreat for nature lovers. Open eucalypt forests clothe the hillsides, rainforest grows in sheltered gullies and grasslands cover the more exposed slopes. A seasonal colony of black flying-foxes lives on South Molle Island. The Ngaro people lived on and visited these islands for thousands of years. They used fire to flush out game and maintain the natural grasslands. A stone quarry for making tools and weapons remains on South Molle Island.
The Molle Islands were first named in 1815 when Jeffreys was charting the Great Barrier Reef Islands. Initially used for grazing, South Molle Island later became a national park and a resort was established in 1937. The islands and surrounding waters are part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and are protected.
Gloucester Islands National Park, Whitsunday Islands National Park, Lindeman Islands National Park and Repulse Islands National Park are also situated within the Whitsunday group of islands. Please explore these parks for further camping opportunities around the islands. Restrictions apply to activities such as spear fishing, fishing, collecting and anchoring.
You can spend a few idyllic hours or a week exploring this beautiful park. Go bird watching or look for tiny jewel and orb weaver spiders along the walking tracks. If time is permitted, walk from the resort through the rainforest and grassland to Paddle Bay. Walk to Spion Kop, Mt Jeffreys or Lamond Hill for a spectacular view over the Whitsundays. Take water and wear a hat and sunscreen.
You can stay at the resort or bush camp at Sandy or Paddle Bays on South Molle Island. You can also camp on North Molle, Long, Tancred, Planton and Denman Islands. Cockatoo Beach (North Molle), Sandy Bay (Long Island) and the South Molle campgrounds have picnic tables and toilets. Campers must be self sufficient. Open fires and generators are prohibited. Take water, a fuel stove and insect repellent. Remove all your rubbish from the islands.
Paddle Bay campers can only access the walking tracks at low tide. The small Tancred, Planton and Denman Island camping areas have a dry rainforest setting.
While water is usually clearer at the northern ends of the outer islands, snorkelling over the reef flat at high tide can still be rewarding. Beware of marine stingers and cyclones in warmer months.
Camping opportunities exist in 7 campgrounds on 6 of the 31 protected islands in the Molle Islands National Park and offer a range of camping experiences from basic bush camping (no facilities) to more developed area camping (facilities such as amenities)
Campgrounds may be closed for a variety of purposes, for example seasonal closure for migratory bird or turtle breeding or other management purposes. Access to each campground is dependant on a variety of factors, such as tide and weather conditions; please check access requirements for your campground before departing the mainland.
Further information: QPWS Whitsunday Information Centre
Cnr Shute Harbour and Madalay Roads, Airlie Beach, Qld
Phone: (07) 4946 7022