The Whitsunday Great Walk - Whitsundays
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Just outside the hub of the Whitsundays at Airlie Beach is the magnificent Conway National Park. This is where you can get away from it all for a few hours, or a few days, to enjoy rainforest-clad hills, secluded beaches and spectacular views. The park also features some excellent walking trails; The Whitsunday Great Walk is one of them.
At 30km long, The Whitsunday Great Walk can be enjoyed on foot or by mountain bike. It's challenging, with the entire circuit taking three days to complete, although it can be broken down into individual day walks.
The first part of the trail starts at Brandy Creek car park and finishes at Repulse Creek Camp. This 8.8km section is a moderate hike taking around 3 ½ to 4 ½ hours to complete, depending on fitness. From here you have two choices. You can stay on the main track, an old logging road which travels through the lush rainforest, or you can take a slightly longer route via the Kingfisher Circuit (a circuit for walkers only which takes an extra 45 minutes). Along the way, there's an opportunity to take a detour to a seasonal creek, but remember, this will add another hour to your journey. As your walk continues, you will notice the rainforest change from soft and lush vegetation to hardier trees and vines, this means you're almost at your first destination Repulse Creek Camp.
Day two, or the second section of the route, starts from Repulse Creek Camp and finishes at Bloodwood campsite, overlooking Jubilee Pocket. This is a challenging 11.5 km stretch and will take between 5 and 6 hours to complete. The day begins with a gentle walk or ride, crossing two creeks in the shade of the rainforest, but soon the trail starts to climb. The route follows a steep ridge to the summit of Mount Hayward, an ideal spot to stop and enjoy the fabulous views and the refreshing breeze. From here the ridge continues all the way to Bloodwood Camp.
Day three, or section three is another challenging 8.5km walk. This stretch takes you from Bloodwood Camp back to Airlie Beach, a walk which should take between 3 ½ to 4 ½ hours. The coastal ridge travels through low vegetation and vines, there is a steep climb before you can descend, and at the junction you can choose to turn left and increase your journey by another hour and a half. If you choose this route you will have views over Cannonvale, the Dryander Range and the Whitsunday Islands, otherwise continue straight on and descend all the way to Airlie Beach.
Important things to know:
• There are four water tanks along the track, but it's important to treat the water before drinking it.
• Open fires are not permitted.
• You must take all rubbish away with you.
• Camping permits are requited.
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