Ultimate guide to Hamilton Island's Bushwalking trails Posted by Ethan Astall - 12 October 2017 Did you know that 70% of Hamilton Island is made up of pristine undeveloped bushland and can be accessed by our incredible bushwalking trails? Well, if this wasn’t reason enough for you to pack your walking shoes and get outdoors exploring, we’ve just made it even easier to discover Hamilton Island’s natural beauty with a complete run-through of all our trails: Passage Peak Bushwalkers are greeted by an incredible view when they reach the top of Passage Peak. Starting at the Scenic Trail entrance at the east end of Catseye Beach, the Passage Peak walk is spectacular but challenging. This walk will take you through Saddle Junction, from here it’s a 900m climb to the top. The stairs which are 150m from the top will have you puffing and asking yourself why you chose to do this walk?! But it will become apparent when you’ve made it to the top; the reward is an awe-inspiring view of the Whitsundays from the highest vantage point of Hamilton Island. Tips: Keep an eye out for the pair of wedge-tailed eagles that call Hamilton Island home because if you're lucky you might spot them soaring above. If you’re an early riser, Passage Peak is the perfect place to watch the sunrise over the Whitsunday Islands. Keep a look out for the majestic locals up above. Photo by @allastalladventures Fast Facts Backpack Check: Water, camera, covered shoes and sunscreen. Distance/Time:1.9km one way/ 1hr one way. Difficulty: Steep uphill/good fitness. Whether you go at sunrise, day time or sunset the view is memorable. Photo by Kara Roselund. South East Head Trail Every part of the walk offers stunning vistas for you to look out on. Photo by @_markfitz Starting at the Scenic Trail entrance at the east end of Catseye Beach, follow the trail to Saddle Junction. From here, continue up the trail toward Passage Peak and you will see the signage for South East Head. The first section of trail winds to a nice lookout which casts over the Resort and Catseye Beach. From this point, continue on until you reach a steep hill. The signage will lead you right which will avoid the rocky, slippery hill in front of you, and will take you on a nice, easy 600m walk that pops you out at the top of the hill at Cabbage Tree Junction. The final section down to South East Head winds across the eastern face of the island, with water views the entire way, leading you down to South East Head and a forest of stunning native grass trees. Tip: If you turn your gaze toward the end of the headland, you will see a huge circle boulder. There is no marked path to it but it’s possible to walk to it. Once there you can climb on top of it for an amazing view. Don't forget to stop at the Giant Chair to get a picture. The chair is at the South East Head point of the walk. It's great fun to climb and get yourself a momento pic. The path contours to its surrounds and works in with nature. Photo by @allastalladventures Fast Facts Backpack Check: Covered shoes, more water than you think you’ll need, camera and sunscreen. Distance/Time: 3.6km one way / 1hr 30min Difficulty: Moderate, long walk. Escape Beach The magic of feeling like you're on a deserted island when reaching Escape Beach. Photo by Andrew Caitens. Escape Beach can be accessed directly from Saddle Junction, the trail takes you through the bushland of Hamilton Island, where you can sometimes see wallabies and other wildlife in their native island home. Alternatively, if you are already at South East Head; you can continue to follow the trail around directly to Escape Beach. This trail follows the southern part of the island, giving you amazing views of the surrounding islands and the vast, aqua waters the Whitsundays is renowned for. The trail passes through a beautiful creek crossing, which often is teeming with butterflies and the calming sound of running water. The trail then climbs up and around to the top of the ridge of Escape Beach which you can see below. Tip: Once at Escape Beach, you can relax on the lovely white sand and treat yourself to a well-earned swim after your walk. Coming here is better on high or mid tide unless you don’t mind a bit of an extra walk out to go for a swim. Nature is all around you on the walk. Photo by @allastalladventures Fast Facts Backpack Check: Picnic essentials, more water than you think you will need, covered shoes, sunscreen, speaker, towel and swimmers. Distance/Time: 2.5km / 1hr one way directly from Saddle Junction or 4.7km / 2hrs via South East Head trail Difficulty: Straight from Saddle Junction – Moderate walk, less scenery. Via South East Head – long walk, hilly, but better scenery. Coral Cove Crystal clear water and soft white sand at Coral Cove. Photo By Andrew Caitens. You can also access Coral Cove from Saddle Junction. Here a trail winds down deep into the bushland taking you through amazing native trees and shrubs. Half way down you’re able to see out and over the mangroves amongst the amazing aqua water. When you arrive at the beach, you will be greeted to lovely white sand, palm trees and pristine water. Tip: With tables nearby, this makes an amazing spot for a picnic. Always remember to take your rubbish with you. The best rewards for this gorgeous walk also come when timed with a mid-high tide. From above the Coral Cove is an inviting sight on Hamilton Island. Fast Facts Backpack Check: Picnic essentials, snacks, more water than you think you’ll need, covered shoes, snorkel and camera. Distance/Time: 2.3km one way from the Scenic Trail entrance / 1hr one way. Difficulty: Moderate. Resort Lookout Looking out across the entire island from Resort Lookout. Photo by @deanmarchini. From the Resort Lookout Trail entrance, you will solider up a steep hill climb all the way to the top. When you reach the top, you’re treated to a 360` view east across to Passage Peak and Pentecost Island, north to Fitzalan, Whitsunday Island and the blushing blue Coral Sea stretching far beyond, west over Dent Island and Hamilton Island’s signature Golf Course toward ‘mainland Australia’ and south across Hamilton Island’s airport and down toward the Lindeman Island group. Basically, you are standing up high in the middle of the island seeing out in every direction! Tip: Resort Lookout is the perfect place to treat yourself to a sunset over the western islands of the Whitsundays. A perfect spot to watch the world go by. Photo by @jolyonbird. Fast Facts Backpack Check: Covered shoes, more water than you think you’ll need, snacks, torch if there for sunset and camera. Distance/Time: 1.7km one way / 45min one way. Difficulty: Moderate all uphill to the Lookout – but down all the way home! Hideaway Bay The inviting water awaits you at Hideaway Bay. @allastalladventures You can access Hideaway Bay via Catseye on low tide or via the Scenic Trail entrance at the east end of Catseye Beach. 175m after the Scenic Trail entrance, where you would turn right to head to Saddle Junction, continue straight ahead on the shared trail and follow it all the way to the end. Once at Hideaway Bay, you will usually find yourself alone as not many people visit this spot. Along the ridge you will find a little cave you can explore. Entering the water here is a little rocky. On low tide it can be possible to walk out. Take the time to stop and look around on your bushwalk. Photo by @allastalladventures Fast Facts Backpack Check: Covered shoes, swimmers, snacks, water and camera. Distance/Time: 1km one way from Scenic Trail entrance / 30min one way. Difficulty: Easy. Safety Information - A few things to note about bushwalking on Hamilton Island: There are a range of trails available depending on your fitness levels, and how far you want to walk. Please make sure you pick up a copy of the walking trails map from the Tour Desk before you set out on any walk and familiarise yourself with the important safety information included within. Please take note of all signage along the trails. Please consider weather conditions before setting off. There are no toilets on the trails. Fires are prohibited on the island. To keep the environment as pristine as possible, please take all your rubbish with you. If you’re walking alone, let someone know before you start out, and never swim alone at secluded beaches. Important: Irukandji Jellyfish During the summer months when the ocean is warm, the waters of the Whitsundays experience an increased presence of the small transparent jellyfish – Irukandji. Symptoms of the Irukandji sting include severe pain, muscle constriction and breathing difficulties requiring immediate medical attention. With this in mind, please avoid swimming on secluded beaches and always swim in the presence of others. For your safety we recommend swimming in the range of pools provided throughout the island. About the Author At 16-years-old Ethan Astall picked up his first camera and started shooting anything and everything going on around him. Since then his found that combining his passion for photography with travel, adventure and the great outdoors is a great way for him to show his experiences in a creative and inspiring way. Currently living on Hamilton Island while he prepares to travel around Australia, Ethan can be found exploring the natural surrounds in his time off and sharing it on his Instagram account.