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Hook Island In The Whitsundays

Updated Tue 28 May 2024

Hook Island is one of the 74 Islands in the Whitsunday Island chain, located off the east coast of Queensland in Australia. The Whitsundays Islands are known as the home of Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet Lookout, and many coral reefs and beautiful islands. These stunning islands are popular tourist destinations, bringing in people from all over the world to explore, sail, hike, and relax.

Hook Island shoreline filled with sailboats in the Whitsundays

About Hook Island, Whitsundays

Hook Island is one of the most incredible islands in the Whitsundays. It is known for its amazing snorkeling spots, and you can often find boats anchored in the picturesque bays where visitors are exploring the warm waters. 

Off the shores of Hook Island, you will discover famous reefs at Maureen's Cove, Luncheon Bay, Butterfly Bay, and Manta Ray Bay, which are all known for their diverse corals, colorful marine life, and calm waters. The sheltered bays offer an ideal anchorage place, with many boats mooring there for the night for a calm overnight stay. The island itself has rugged and remote campsites where adventure seekers can spend the night immersed in nature. 

detailed map of whitsunday islands

Ancient History of Hook Island

Hook Island, like many Whitsunday islands, was once inhabited by the indigenous Ngaro People. Near Nara Inlet on Hook Island, you can visit the Ngaro Cultural Site, which is the oldest indigenous cultural site on the east coast of Australia! 

Rock shelters, cave paintings, and other archeological evidence teaches us about the life of the Ngaro People. Their culture in the Whitsundays dates back 9,000 years, and it is clear that their traditions and beliefs were deeply connected to the land that we visit today. 

During the 1860s to the 1930s, the Ngaro People were mostly displaced or decimated due to European Invasion. It's a tragic history, but visiting the Ngaro Cultural Site and acknowledging, respecting, and learning about the Ngaro history is a great way to get in touch with the ancient history of Hook Island. 

ngaro cultural site etched into rocks on hook island whitsundays

Modern History of Hook Island

Hook Island was officially settled for tourism in 1910 and became part of the Whitsunday Island National Park in 1936. It eventually became home to the Hook Island Wilderness Resort.

The island is 58 square kilometres and is now only inhabited by one person: the caretaker of the Wilderness Resort. This is the only habitation on the island! Long since closed, the resort was once one of the most affordable island accommodations in the Whitsundays. But is now a cluster of dilapidated buildings.

The Wilderness Resort was also home to an underwater observatory, which was a big draw to the island resort when it was open. It offered guests the chance to see the underwater world up close, with fish and corals seemingly within reach as they descended to the ocean floor.

The observatory consisted of an above-sea-level section and an underwater section that was ideal for viewing corals and marine life. When the observatory was originally constructed in 1965, over 200 cars were sunk in the area to encourage coral growth and provide a habitat for fish, making it a diverse marine landscape in later years. While it was once the main attraction, the observatory was closed in 2009 after the submarine viewing chamber was found to have insufficient ventilation.

calm water at Nara Inlet in the whitsunday islands

Why Visit Hook Island?

Hook Island remains one of the top places to visit in the Whitsundays. Most visitors generally stick to the reefs around the island. Macona Inlet, Manta Ray Bay, Cockatoo Point, and Nara Inlet are all popular spots where you can enjoy the beauty that the waters and the underwater world have to offer.

Many overnight boat tours in the Whitsundays visit the exquisite coral reefs on the edge of Hook Island. Whether you're on a 3-day sailing tour such as Apollo, or you're on a quick 2-day tour like Whitsunday Adventurer, you will most likely get to snorkel in the fascinating reefs next to Hook Island. 

If you do want to explore the remote shores and get a taste of real wilderness, you can book camping packages that include all your gear and transfers from Airlie Beach. This is the ultimate adventure for outdoorsy travellers who want to escape the crowds. 

sea turtle swimming in the whitsunday waters around hook island

Looking for a tour to get to Hook Island? Live chat with our friendly, knowledgeable staff today for more information! 

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