For those that enjoy discovering nature on foot, the Island offers an extensive 25km network of walking trails that guide visitors through thick bushland, ranging from dry wattles and the beautiful barks of eucalypts to pockets of rainforest. Along the way discover many lookout points boasting stunning views of the surrounding bays and beaches!
The most famous and popular trail of them all is the Forts Walk which is roughly a 90 minute return walk and is the best place on the island to see Northern Australia's largest population of koalas in the wild. The Forts Walk offers magical 360 degree views of the coast and Coral Sea. It is here that you will also discover fascinating WWII history with a number of gun emplacements, an observation tower and a command post still intact.
Below you will find some of our staff's favourite tracks!
Gabul Way - Nelly Bay to Arcadia
This elevated, scenic walkway is adjacent to Arcadia Road and made up of two sections linking Nelly Bay and Geoffrey Bay. Gabul Way is suitable for walkers and cyclists and is disabled compliant, with breakout platforms along the way to pause and enjoy the island coastline and views across the bay.
1.5km return (approx 30.minutes)
Hawkings Point track
This is one of the easiest and shortest walks with an exceptional view. From Picnic Bay, a track winds to the top of a large boulder, affording a spectacular panorama over the island pas Rocky Bay to Nelly Bay and Geoffrey Bay and back towards Townsville.
1.2km Return (Approx. 1 hour) Grade: Easy-Moderate, steep but short
Picnic Bay to West Point
This walk follows a bush track that links the bays on the western side of the island. The track passes a tidal wetland, mangroves, paperbark swamps and savanna grasslands. The flora and fauna are totally different in this area to the eastern side of the island, making the journey particularly rewarding. West Point is one of the best bays to sit back and enjoy the sunset at.
You will need sturdy footwear, some water and a can of insect repellent!
16km return (Approx. 5 hours)
Grade: Easy, but long distance
Nelly Bay to Arcadia
From Nelly Bay, this walk passes through a rainforest pocket, climbs gradually to the saddle between Nelly and Horseshoe Bays and follows a ridge with views over Horseshoe Bay. The track then branches, with one track leading on to Horseshoe Bay, where you can continue on to other tracks,and the other to Arcadia Bay.
5km one way (Approx. 2.5 hours) Grade: Moderate
The Forts Walk
From the turn-off to Radical Bay, this track ascends, sometimes steeply, to follow a ridge behind the bays before arriving at the ruins of the Forts complex operated during World War II. Lookouts afford excellent views to the Palm Island Group in the north and Bowling Green Bay National Park in the south.
From the Forts car park on the Horseshoe Bay Road, an easy track leads down to these undeveloped bays which provide excellent swimming and snorkelling.
Arthur Bay walk - 1.4km return (Approx. 30 minutes) Florence Bay walk - 3.6km return (Approx. 1 hour) Radical Bay walk - 6km return (Approx. 2 hours) Grade: Easy - Moderate (some walks may be steep & a suitable level of fitness is required)
Horseshoe Bay Lagoon
Leading off the main road near Horseshoe Bay beach, a short track leads to the lagoon where a number of wild waterbirds can be seen over the wetlands. Walkers can continue on past the lagoon along he back of Horseshoe Bay beach through to the end of Swenson Street.
200m return (Approx. 15 minutes) Grade: Easy
Horseshoe Bay Road to Balding and Radical Bays
From the eastern end of Horseshoe Bay beach, the track climbs through a steep gully of closed forest to a ridge with open eucalypt woodland. One branch of the track leads down to the secluded Balding Bay and the other continues on to Radical Bay. Both bays offer excellent swimming opportunities (although proper precautions should be taken during stinger season). An unsealed road leads back from Radical Bay to the main road past Arthur and Florence Bays.