Conway National Park

Top choice in Airlie Beach

This serene national park encompasses the Conway Peninsula, once the hunting grounds of the Giru Dala and still home to large swaths of lowland tropical rainforest, remote mangroves, rocky uplands, and pandanus and paperbark woodlands. The day-use area, plus two car parks, 7km, 8km and 11km east of Airlie Beach, respectively, are the starting points for two easy-to-moderate walking trails apiece. The Whitsunday Transit bus from Airlie Beach to Shute Harbour (one to two hourly) can drop you at the trailheads.

From the day-use area, the Coastal Fringe Circuit (1.2km) traverses coastal rainforest, with Hayward Gully (1.6km) branching off into a rocky gully.

Mt Rooper car park is the starting point for the Swamp Bay traverse (2.1km), ending at the coral-strewn beach overlooking the Molle island group, as well as the ascent of Mt Rooper (2.3km, 221m) through low woodland. Combine the two trails via the 5.4km Mt Rooper Circuit, with good views of the Whitsunday Islands.

Just above Shute Habour, the Coral Beach trail (1.1km) takes you to the eponymous beach from the Coral Bay car park, with an additional 600m leading to the The Beak lookout overlooking the Whitsunday Passage.

Finally, 17km west of Airlie Beach, the Forestry Rd car park (off Shute Harbour Rd) is the jumping-off point for the demanding 27km Conway Circuit that brings you back to Airlie Beach, with bush camping en route.

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