Conway National Park's size and undeveloped nature makes it a very
significant wilderness area. The park extends north along the coastline
to the tip of Cape Conway, 30 km south of Shute Harbour and includes
the rainforest-clad Conway Peninsula. It protects the largest area of
lowland tropical rainforest in Queensland outside Tropical North
Queensland. Hoop pines grow on coastal ridges and in damp gullies,
emerging above the rainforest canopy. Rugged, steep, rocky cliffs
provide a spectacular 35 km-long backdrop to the Whitsunday Passage and
Conway National Park lies on the Central Queensland coast, between
Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour. Conway National Park boasts a number of
walking tracks, which take you through a variety of vegetation types
including lowland rainforest, mangroves and open forest. Take the Mt
Rooper track for spectacular Whitsunday Passage and island views. You
can access the Swamp Bay camping area on foot or by boat.
Location: Approximately 30 km east of Proserpine
How to get there: From Airlie Beach, follow Shute Harbour Road
south-east for 6.5 km to the Conway National Park day-use area. To
explore the park on foot, you can leave your car at the day-use area,
at the Swamp Bay/Mount Rooper car park or at the Coral Beach car park.
Turn off the Bruce Highway just north of Proserpine, or 65 km south of
Bowen, then travel 26 km to Airlie Beach. Do not take the turnoff to
Conway Beach as there is no access to the park from Conway township.
If you are planning to access the park's undeveloped southern end by
boat, be aware that boating restrictions apply. Gates at the Conway
National Park day-use area are opened at 7.30 am each morning and
locked at 6 pm. All other parts of the park are open 24 hrs. The
Whitsunday Great Walk may be closed during seasonal wet weather.
Wheelchair accessibility: Toilets at the Conway National Park day-use
area are suitable for people in wheelchairs, however some assistance
will be required.
Dry vine thicket, mangroves, open forests with a grasstree
understorey, paperbark and pandanus woodlands, and patches of lowland
rainforest with twisted vines grow in the park. It is home to two of
Australia's mound-building birds, the Australian brush-turkey and the
Rising steeply behind busy coastal settlements, the Conway Range
appears impenetrable. Through climate fluctuations over tens of
thousands of years, the rainforest has persisted here, providing a
continuous refuge for wildlife.
The park's vegetation is very similar to that on the Whitsunday islands
because thousands of years ago the sea level rose, drowning coastal
valleys and creating the islands. For thousands of years, the Ngaro and
Gia people roamed these forests, harvesting riches of the land and the
adjoining sea country. Today the adjacent waters are protected in
Conway National Park has a variety of walking tracks for you to
enjoy. If you plan to go bushwalking, be prepared and tell a friend or
family member of your plans. All distances given are one way. All walks
and facilities are shown on the Conway national and conservation parks
map (PDF, 281K)*.
Access from Conway National Park day-use area
(1) Coastal Fringe Circuit (Grade: Easy)
Distance: 1.2 km
Details: Starting at the day-use area, this track passes through
lowland rainforest and crosses a small tidal creek. Take a self-guide
brochure from leaflet box at the start of the track. (Please return the
brochure to leaflet box when finished.)
(2) Hayward Gully (Grade: Easy)
Distance: 1.6 km from day-use area.
Details: This track branches off the Coastal Fringe Circuit to Hayward
Gully, with its lowland rainforest and rocky gullies.
Access from Mt Rooper car park
(3) Swamp Bay (Grade: Moderate)
Distance: 2.1 km
Details: Starting from the car park, this track passes the foot of Mt
Rooper to arrive at Swamp Bay, where a coral-strewn beach offers views
of the Molle islands. Return on the same track. Signs along this track
and Mt Rooper track describe Indigenous use of local plants.
(4) Mt Rooper
Mt Rooper offers views via four walking options. The turn-off to Mt
Rooper is 200 m along the Swamp Bay track. All distances given below
are one-way from the car park.
The track passes through low woodland growing in shallow, stony, clay
soils where brushbox, grasstrees and wattles are prominent. Although
grasstrees here are small, they can grow to 4 m tall elsewhere. Their
pale yellow flowers on spear-like stalks provide food for many insects.
Conway Outlook (Grade: Moderate)
Distance: 800 m
Details: This first section of the Mt Rooper Circuit climbs up through
mixed forests for a view over Shute Harbour to the Conway Range. Either
return from this outlook or walk on to a natural lookout at Mt Rooper.
Mt Rooper (Grade: Moderate)
Distance: 2.3 km
Details: Continue on from Conway Outlook. The shallow, stony clay soils
support brush box, grasstrees, wattles and other woodland vegetation.
Soak up the panoramic vista of the Whitsunday Passage and islands at
Mt Rooper Circuit (Grade: Moderate)
Distance: 5.4 km
Details: Continue from the lookout passing views to Daydream and North
Molle islands, descend through mixed forest to meet the Swamp Bay
track. Turn left and return to the car park to complete the circuit.
Mt Rooper Circuit and Swamp Bay (Grade: Moderate)
Distance: 7.2 km
Details: Take in both the circuit and Swamp Bay tracks for a comfortable one-day walk. Enjoy a picnic at Swamp Bay.
Access from Coral Beach car park
(5) Coral Beach (Grade: Moderate)
Distance: 1.1 km
Details: This track starts and finishes at Coral Beach car park. A
brochure describing Indigenous use of the coastal environment is
available from the leaflet box at the start. (Please return the
brochure when finished.) Enjoy views across Whitsunday Passage from
(6) The Beak (Grade: Moderate)
Distance: 620 m from Coral Beach
Details: After reaching Coral Beach continue on to The Beak. Walk east
along Coral Beach and watch for the lookout symbol. The walk returns
the same way.
Access from Forestry Road car park
(7) Kingfisher Circuit (Grade: Moderate)
Distance: 2 km
Details: Pick up a self-guide brochure at the start of this walk to
learn about forest wildlife, including the fascinating buff-breasted
paradise-kingfisher. From the car park, walkers will wind down into a
moist rainforest valley then ascend to an old logging road. Turn right
to return to the car park or left for the Wompoo Walk. (Please return
the brochure when finished.)
Mountain bike: Class 2 (easy)
Distance: 3.5 km
Details: The Wompoo Walk is accessible to both walkers and
mountain-bike riders. Follow an old logging road, the start of the
Whitsunday Great Walk, for 2.4 km and then turn left to reach a calm
creek lined with Alexandra palms. Listen for wompoo fruit-doves calling
from the canopy. (This walk is closed from 1 February to the end of
March under the Whitsunday Great Walk annual closure, or subject to
The Kingfisher Circuit and Wompoo Walk are part of the Whitsunday Great Walk (9).
View Larger Map
Walk-in bush camping opportunities are available. If you wish to
camp you will need to obtain a permit—fees apply. A tag with your
booking number must be displayed at your camp site. Sites are limited
and you can book your camping permit in advance.
There are a range of mountain-biking opportunities for cyclists from
easy to more difficult tracks in part of Conway National Park. See the
Whitsunday Great Walk web page for more information.
Picnic and day-use areas
Stop for a picnic at the Conway National Park day-use area or walk
to the Swamp Bay camping area. Toilets, a shelter shed and picnic
tables are provided at both areas. The day-use area also has wood-fired
The adjacent waters of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park offer
boating and fishing opportunities. It is possible to fish from the
beach at Swamp Bay and Coral Beach.
Marine park zoning regulations protect the inter-tidal zone and waters
surrounding Conway National Park. Zoning regulations specify how you
can use particular sites and the permits you might require. For
detailed information on activities such as fishing and crabbing,
consult the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority zoning map. Maps
are available from Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol offices,
bait and tackle shops, Queensland Parks and Wildlife (QPWS) offices and
online at www.gbrmpa.gov.au.
Minimum size and maximum bag limits apply to popular fish species.
Queensland fisheries legislation applies in zones where fishing is
permitted. See Fisheries Queensland for more information.
Conway National Park is of high biological significance.
Twenty-three species are significant nationally and internationally,
six species are rare or threatened and three are known only from this
During the daytime you may see emerald doves, sulphur-crested cockatoos
and brush-turkeys. Orange-footed scrubfowl mounds can be seen along the
Circuit and Swamp Bay tracks. Early morning and late afternoon will be
your best chance to see these unusual birds. Endangered Proserpine
rock-wallabies live in small areas at the park's northern end but they
are rarely seen.
Some species of skink (a type of lizard) are found only in this
landscape and in the nearby Clarke Range. A leaf-tail gecko, Phyllurus
ossa, is a rare find—its population barely extends beyond the
Conway Range. Keep watch for the brilliant blue flash of Ulysses
butterflies as they flit amongst the foliage.
From about November, you will share the rainforest with buff-breasted
paradise-kingfishers. Every year, they make the long journey from Papua
New Guinea to nest here in termite mounds. From about March, when their
young are strong enough for the long flight, they return to their
northern home. Listen for the birds' descending trill or look for the
flash of their long, white tail plumes.
Other things to do
People go swimming at Coral Beach and Swamp Bay but caution is needed
as these areas are not patrolled by lifesavers. Dangerous marine
stingers are prevalent between October and May, but may be present
year-round. Please see marine stingers for more information.
Be croc wise! Estuarine crocodiles have been sighted in this area,
exercise caution when near the water. Your safety is our concern, but
your responsibility. Read more about being croc wise.