Beyond the Whitsunday Passage lies the Lindeman group of islands. Like other islands in the Whitsundays, this group formed when a mountain range was drowned by rising sea levels.
Lindeman Island, the largest in the group, is situated in 690 hectares of National Park. Promoted as the warmest island in the Whitsundays, Lindeman Island is covered by nearly 20 kilometres of bushwalking tracks. Natural features include Butterfly Valley; Mount Oldfield (212 metres above sea level) offers 360 degree views of Pentecost, Hamilton and Whitsunday Islands. The Island has seven beaches with Gap Beach a popular location for snorkelling and oystering. Golden orchids grow on the mangroves at the end of the beach and over 90 species of birds dart through the trees.
The island's resort, which has its own airstrip, is the oldest of all of the island resorts in the Whitsundays. As early as 1923 Angus Nicolson established a primitive camp for visitors. Tourism to the island grew after World War II and in 1954, during Queen Elizabeth II's visit to Australia, the Britannia anchored off Lindeman and the Queen swam in the waters near Piccaninny Point. In 1974 P&O took over the island and rebuilt the resort which was eventually sold to Club Med in 1992. The resort was again closed to enable a major re-construction by the Club Med Group and the expansion of accommodation to 225 rooms. In the re-construction most of the older resort buildings were demolished. The Club Med Resort was closed on 31 January 2012 and was subsequently bought for $12 million by a Chinese-born Australian mining investor whose family company runs one of China's largest advertising enterprises. The resort is scheduled to re-open in 2021.
AccessThe resort and surrounding National Park is 35 km south-east of Shute Harbour. Access is by private or commercial boat from Airlie Beach or Shute Harbour. Some commercial transfer companies drop off and collect campers. If camping, arrange your passage before you book your camp site.
CampingCamping is permitted within the lindeman Islands National Park at Boat Port on the north-west side of Lindeman Island. Once a bay used to clean sailing vessels, this quiet campsite with sandy beaches is backed by rainforest. A good area for campers who like bushwalking, with more than 20 km of tracks linking grasslands and rainforest. Access to the camping area is by boat (only) at mid to high tides. Visitor numbers are limited to ensure a quality experience. Camping permits are required and fees apply.
WalksMore than 16 km of bushwalks are available on Lindeman and Seaforth islands. Take advantage of these to enjoy views and discover the varied vegetation types on these islands.
Departing form the airport hut near the resort.
Mount Oldfield (Grade: moderate) Distance: 7.2 km return. Time: Allow 3.5 hours. Details: This walk involves a steady climb and features some of the most diverse vegetation on the island. You will be rewarded with spectacular views on reaching the peak. Remember water and your camera.
Coconut Beach (Grade: moderate)
Distance: 5.4 km return. Time: Allow 2 hours. Details: This track takes you through eucalypt forest to the resort dam, a great place for bird spotting. It then descends to the sandy beach through fringing scrub, giving the beach a secluded feel.
Coconut Beach Boat Port Circuit (Grade: moderate)
Distance: 6.5 km return. Time: Allow 3 hours. Details: Walk this track as a circuit or as separate sections to either Coconut Beach or Boat Port.
Boat Port (Grade: moderate)
Distance: 5.4 km return. Time: Allow 3 hours. Details: This walk passes through rainforest, grassland and open forest and offers spectacular views. Steeper sections are involved.
Gap Beach (Grade: moderate)
Distance: 5.4 km return. Time: Allow 2 3 hours. Details: Winding through eucalypt forest and dry rainforest this track emerges at a pebbly beach. Enjoy spectacular views of nearby Pentecost Island.
Departing from the resort end of the airstrip
Plantation Beach (Grade: easy)
Distance: 4.2 km return. Time: Allow 2.5 hours. Details: Mainly grassland, this track also winds through rainforest, emerging at a rocky foreshore. Check tide times before setting out. At high tide you will have to cross a small creek.
Lindeman Island first received historic mention in June 1770 when the artist on board HMS Endeavour, Sydney Parkinson, included its outline in a panoramic pencil sketch of the complex of islands running from the adjacent Maher Island in the north to Burning Point at the southern end of Shaw Island. At that stage, of course, none of the islands were named.
The island was named in 1868 by Commander H. M. Bingham, RN, in HMS Virago after Sub Lieutenant George Sidney Lindeman on board Virago. The Sub Lieutenant was a nephew of Dr. Henry John Lindeman, the founder of the Lindeman Wine Company, who came to Australia from England in 1840 and in 1842 settled in the Hunter Valley of New South Wales at Cawarra Estate on the banks of the Paterson River several kilometres from today's town of Gresford. There he established a vineyard from which sprang the Lindeman Wine Company.
Cawarra still existed in 1989, occupied by descendants of Dr. Lindeman but is no longer a vineyard. Nearby the Wyndham family were establishing their vineyard and winery at Dalwood, north of today's Hunter Valley town of Branxton and they and the Lindemans became friends and business associates, this association reflected in various namings on the island.
In October 1867 while Virago was undergoing a re-fit in Sydney, George Lindeman visited his uncle at Cawarra staying for almost three weeks and in all probability met the Wyndhams. It is a reasonable assumption that when he returned to Virago he would have carried with him a fair sampling of the product of Cawarra and probably of Dalwood also to enhance the ship's wine stocks and there can be no doubt his visit accounts for the naming of Cawarra Head on Little Lindeman Island and Dalwood Point on the main island.