Where can you camp in the Whitsunday Islands?

Updated Tue 28 Jun 2022

A girl laughing wearing white sunglasses lying in a hammock over the sand

When you think of holidaying in the Whitsunday Islands I’m sure you’re imagining a resort-style vacation that involves lazing on banana lounges by the beach with waiters serving you seafood platters, drinking cocktails out of coconuts at swim-up bars, and sleeping in luxurious hotel rooms with picturesque tropical views. Am I right? Well, did you know the islands are not all about deluxe amenities and 5-star service? You can actually go the extreme opposite and camp!

There are different campgrounds hidden around the Whitsunday Islands where you can sleep under the stars and enjoy the pure serenity without all the tourist commotion. The two main islands you can camp on are Hook Island and Whitsunday Island itself. Each camping location is equally beautiful and uniquely magical. 

Three blue tents set up on the sand with rainforest behind

Here are the top campsites on Hook Island that you need to know about:

1. Steen’s Beach

Steen’s Beach has a secluded campground that will make you feel like you’re on your own private beach. Located on the north end of Hook Island, surrounded by coastal forestry and with stunning views of Hayman Island, it’s definitely a place to check out. The beach is also only accessible during high tide and one booking is allowed at a time, your experience will truly make you feel like you’re on your own deserted island. It’s the perfect spot for casting a line, kayaking, switching off from technology, and enjoying the natural environment.

2. Maureen’s Cove

Maureen’s Cove is also on the north side of Hook Island and is known for its abundance of coral. Sleep amongst the palm trees and enjoy views of Coral Sea’s turquoise waters. The cove is ideal for large camping groups where you can spend your time snorkelling or diving on the fringing reefs, kayaking, and enjoying the wildlife the island has to offer (nothing terrifying, don’t worry, you’ll most likely just see a plethora of tropical butterflies fluttering around).

3. Curlew Beach

You can find Curlew Beach in Macona Inlet (a calm anchorage, protected by the wind) on Hook Island. What’s fascinating about Curlew Beach is that it’s close to the Ngaro Cultural Site, home to ancient Indigenous cave paintings and art. Definitely a place to explore if you want to be transported back 9000 years and gain more cultural and archaeological insight. The campsite is also great if you’re a bird lover as there are unique species that roam the area you can look out for. 

4. Crayfish Beach

Crayfish Beach is another secluded location, within Mackerel Bay, northeast of Hook Island. The campsite is sheltered by towering mountainous views and rocky headlands. Fall asleep to the sound of the ocean and wake up to native wildlife noises. Spend the days exploring the fringing reefs, kayaking or canoeing the bays, exploring the bushland, and soaking in the postcard-worthy views. 

A yellow kayak on the beach with bushland behind

Top campsites on Whitsunday Island:

1. Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island is world famous for its white silica sands and picturesque scenery. It’s where all the tourists want to go when they visit the Whitsundays. However, most people don’t realise you can actually camp there! On the south-east side of Whitehaven Beach is where you can camp. Avoid the tourist chaos by waking up early and exploring the breathtaking beach by yourself (you can even get photos of Whitehaven with no one else in them which is tricky to do)! Spend your time camping fully present with no distraction from technology as there is no phone reception there. 

2. Dugong Beach

Dugong Beach is one of the largest camping spots in the Whitsundays region. Perfect to grab a big group of friends and head over for a night of relaxing fun. It’s located on the western side of Whitsunday Island and surrounded by tropical rainforests. The campground has sheltered picnic tables ideal to enjoy camp feats at. Stroll along the Dugong-Sawmill walking track, explore the rainforest and keep a lookout for turtles or even Dugongs (it’s called Dugong Beach for a reason after all!). Fun fact - you can kayak over to Cid Harbour which is an anchorage that was used by the Australian navy during World War II. 

3. Nari’s Beach

Nestled under a rainforest canopy, on the west side of Whitsunday Island is where you can find Nari’s Beach campground. Nari’s is secluded and perfect if privacy is what you’re looking for. Spend your time enjoying the Whitsundays’ crystal clear turquoise waters whether it’s kayaking above or snorkelling beneath. Like Dugong Beach, Nari’s is close to the World War II anchorage which you can explore. Perfect for unwinding, exploring and relaxing alone or with company!

4. Cairn Beach

Cairn Beach is the ultimate camping retreat to avoid the crowds and spend time snorkelling and exploring Whitsunday Island. Located on the northern tip of the island, Cairn Beach is another secluded zone filled with sheltered bushland. Nearby is the Whitsunday Cairn hiking track if you’re feeling like being active. The track winds you along a forestry path that leads you to the volcanic rocky summit. The breathtaking views are worth the tedious hike. If hiking isn’t your thing, explore the beach at low-tide where you can find starfish and crabs hiding under rocks. 

A man and woman standing in the water holding a can of beer each

What are you waiting for? Grab some friends, a tent, camping supplies, plenty of water and snacks and head on over to Whitsunday Islands to have an authentic island experience!

To find out how to get to each campsite, contact our friendly team on +61 74914 2425 or live chat today! 

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