Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Molle Islands National Park

What's special?

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 refuge 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.

Exploring Molle Islands

You can spend a few idyllic hours or a week exploring this beautiful park. Go birdwatching or look for tiny jewel and orb weaver spiders along the walking tracks.

If time is limited, walk from the resort through 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.

Stay at the resort or bush camp at Sandy or Paddle Bays on South Molle. 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.

Go snorkelling at Sandy Bay, sailing or visit another nearby park in the beautiful Whitsundays.

Beware of marine stingers and cyclones during the warmer months.


The park provides many opportunities for bushwalking with 9km tracks on Long Island and 15km on South Molle Island. Talk to the local rangers before walking off-track.

Getting there

The Molle group is just east of Shute Harbour. Access is by private boat or commercial boat. Arrange your passage before booking your campsite.

Sources & Further reading


Journey Back Through Time
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Aboriginal Australia
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                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email:     Sources & Further reading