The Whitsundays. A tropical getaway that’s only for the rich and famous, right? Think again.  


  • Sunset at Spion Kop
  • Camping under the stars
  • Multiple bush-walking options
  • Secluded beaches
  • An abundance of Marine and Wildlife to enjoy

With the weekend on the horizon and the looming question of ‘But what to do..?’ Fast-forward a bit of research and ‘Google Image Inspo’ (my go-to indicator for a thumbs up or thumbs down on an adventure).

And A Perfect Island To Visit Is Found

How does exploring a deserted island that has ocean-view camping AND hiking sound? Good, right?! Don’t know about you but that is pretty much the best way of going off-grid that you can get!

Experiencing the Whitsundays on a budget has never been so accessible — with beautiful sandy beaches and over 74 islands to discover, it’s time to think differently about what’s on Queensland’s doorstep and get amongst it!

After the devastating effects of the recent Cyclone Debbie, I was nervous to see how the islands had fared, but to my delight recovery was obvious with new green shoots popping up everywhere and minimal debris.

Day 1 — Balancing Rock — Spion Kop

We arrived on the island just after lunch at Paddle Bay — after swirling around deciding on the best camp spot, we quickly set up our tent and reviewed the map to set out on our first trail. First stop — Balancing Rock.

Balancing Rock is about 1 hour from Paddle Bay campsite. Named so because of a large rock that has situated itself perfectly atop a rocky outcrop that overlooks the abandoned resort and out towards Bauer Bay. From here, South Molle’s only lake can be seen.

Bec Boots Whitsundays South Molle Island Exploring Balancing Rock

Next stop — sunset at Spion Kop (roughly 1.5hrs from Paddle Bay), the highest point of the island and also the best vantage point, so it was an obvious choice for us for sunset. On the walk there, there were Grass trees and cockatoos a plenty.

Eventually we came to the lookout and set ourselves up for the most gorgeous display of sunset colours in the sky.

Bec Boots Whitsundays South Molle Island sunset coast

Day 2 — Lamond Hill

The next day a slower pace was welcomed as we were greeted with low wind and clear skies. After setting off to check the outskirts of the abandoned resort, we were quickly lured to the trail that takes you up to Lamond Hill, with its breathtaking (literally… it’s a steady but an elevated trot) views all the way to the top. This was a great place for morning tea and (attempted) whale spotting.

Interestingly, Island time can actually go pretty fast — so not long after we had to start packing down and get ready for our pick-up. Even though our boat was late we passed the time by watching another perfect sunset on a white coral beach and played with a random hula-hoop we found.

On the boat trip back to the mainland, not only did the excitement to have a proper shower grow but also the rich feeling of having experienced good times.

Bec Boots Whitsundays South Molle Island

How everyday should start

Essential Gear

  • Camping gear + camping permit
  • Head-torch
  • Sufficient water for the duration of your stay
  • Delicious food
  • Insect repellent/sunscreen etc
  • Good walking shoes

How To Get There

South Molle Island is located east of Shute Harbour, Airlie Beach, Queensland, in The Whitsundays.

Park at Shute Harbour and arrange boat transfers to drop you off and pick you up from the island. Travel time to get there is roughly 25-30 minutes (Option to Kayak to the island from this point is also available).


Skill Level


Distance Covered / Elevation

Various. Distance from campsite ranges from 2-4 km depending on what you want to see. On foot — allow 2 hours for most trails. Easily accessible and doable for all levels of fitness.


Want more Queensland Microadventures…?

Adventure Up Neglected Mountain (QLD)

A First Timer’s Guide To Mount Barney (QLD)

Sneaky Side Trip To The Springbrook Pinnacle (QLD)

Double Trouble // Mt May And Upper Portals (QLD)

Mt Mathieson // Main Range National Park (QLD)