Border Island is a local favourite destination in the Whitsunday Islands. It’s far enough away from the day tour crowds, yet close enough to be within comfortable sailing reach. Perhaps what makes Border Island such a special place is its natural beauty: its been heavily protected since the 1930s.
Where is Border Island?
If you’re short on time, you may consider this unique place a lunchtime stop-off. Suppose you have a night or two up your sleeve. In that case, we highly recommend anchoring at Cateran Bay to enjoy fantastic snorkelling, secluded beaches and a great hike.
A Marine National Park Green Zone
Border Island is a Marine National Park Green Zone, the highest form of protective zoning in the Whitsunday Islands. Green Zones are ‘no-take’ areas and extractive activities like fishing or collecting are not allowed without a permit.
Being heavily protected for over 80 years means that the marine life is abundant, birdlife is thriving, and the water is as pristine as possible around this Whitsunday gem.
Snorkelling around Border Island
There is good snorkelling and diving along the island’s southwest and southeast flanks at Pitstop Bay in northerly winds. Neither of these spots offers good anchorage for anything longer than a lunchtime stop.
Beautiful plate coral is found in the shallow waters of Cateran Bay. Inside the bay, currents are minimal; however, beware of strong currents at the entrance, particularly at the northwest tip.
Note that the tide changes can alter visibility.
While the marine life is prolific, it’s important to remember that Border Island is a ‘no-take’ zone, and fishing is most definitely not permitted.
Border Island Walk and Lookout
Access to a Queensland Parks and Wildlife maintained trail is from the island’s northwest side in Cateran Bay.
Allow one hour to return for the class 3 1.2km track, which takes you on a journey across the island’s ‘saddle’ through native grasslands. The rewards along the way are stunning views from two lookouts.
Spend the night at Cateran Bay
On the north coast of Border Island lies Cateran Bay, a unique sandy beach that has made it to our top 10 beaches in the Whitsunday region.
The steep, tree-clad slopes surrounding Cateran Bay give a sense of seclusion. We often tell couples to plan a visit to Cateran for a romantic escape where they can potentially have the place to themselves.
The secluded sandy beach should be accessed at high or mid-tide. You can snorkel off the beach or even off your boat and experience swimming with a diverse variety of fish thriving in the area.
Public moorings are available to prevent damage to the fringing reefs.
Border Island is a beautiful escape offering amazing sites below and above the water. Be sure to stop in here to get your nature fix and to lap up a truly pristine part of the Whitsundays.