Hook Island is one of the most popular boating destinations in the Whitsunday Islands, thanks to its fantastic snorkelling, diving and versatile anchorage options offering protection from most winds.
We recommend charterers plan to anchor for a night or two at Hook Island to take advantage of the Island’s proximity to popular Whitsunday attractions. For example, Hook is close to the famous Whitehaven Beach and Hayman Island, and it also hosts the fascinating Ngaro Art Cave, a cultural site not to be missed.
In this post, we’ll outline the best anchorages on Hook Island for first-time charterers’ itinerary planning, as well as attractions on and around the Island we think you’ll enjoy.
The Best Anchorages on Hook Island
Hook Island’s Famous Nara Inlet
Nara Inlet is spectacular. Thanks to the depth of the Inlet and its towering hills, Nara is sheltered from most winds. The Inlet is also quite large, meaning there is a good chance you will find a calm place to anchor for a night or two.
Nara Inlet is an excellent location for paddle boarding or kayaking, thanks to the glassy waters. During the wet season, you can paddle over to waterfalls towards the very end of the Inlet.
Not to be missed, Nara is also where you can access the Ngaro cultural site. Take the short walk from the small beach deep in the Inlet up to interpretive signage, audio stories and a viewing platform for ancient cave paintings dating back 9000 years.
Situated next door to Nara Inlet, Macona Inlet is similarly protected from most sides and offers a comfortable, sheltered anchorage. It can be an excellent alternative anchorage if the famous Nara Inlet is busy.
There are several sand beaches to explore via tender or kayak when anchored at Macona. It isn’t possible to see the cultural site from this Inlet.
When heading into Macona, keep to the port side to avoid Proud Rock sitting by the entrance.
Butterfly Bay North Hook Island
Found on the northern side of Hook Island, Butterfly Bay is a protected spot where you can pick up one of the free public moorings. The bay is home to a vast array of marine life, making diving or snorkelling from the beach or off your boat the most popular attraction.
Be wary of tidal currents if you decide to dive or snorkel in the centre of the bay where there’s a large coral bommie, home to many colourful reef fish.
You’ll have to visit to decide how Butterfly Bay gets its name. Some say it’s because the bay is shaped like a butterfly. Others say it’s because of the colonies of butterflies found along the creek beds.
Many charterers tell us that Stonehaven was their favourite anchorage while cruising the Whitsundays.
Located on the eastern side of Hook Island and boasting a sprawling bay, Stonehaven’s anchorages are surrounded by extensive fringing reefs offering excellent snorkelling. Look out for the resident turtle who frequently visits vessels, but please don’t feed him.
Approaching Stonehaven does require some vigilance due to the reef systems. Please refer to your copy of 100 Magic Miles for navigation advice.
You will need to pick up a mooring at Stonehaven. To protect the reef systems, buoy markers are placed south of Cockatoo Point right down to Ian Point. Anchoring inshore of an imaginary line between these two buoys is banned.
If you want to settle in for a Whitsunday sunset, Stonehaven is the spot!
Maureen’s Cove is a spectacular snorkelling and dive site. We don’t generally recommend mooring here for overnight stays due to the lack of wind protection, but weather permitting, you can if you must.
The beach at Maureen’s Cove is coral. A popular site for camping, you’ll find picnic tables and lovely shaded areas to relax. Make sure you take beach shoes when you land because it’s rough underfoot.
You can snorkel at Maureen’s Cove. However, the marine life is not as exciting as Butterfly Bay, just around the corner.
Manta Ray Bay
Manta Ray Bay is full of fish that are accustomed to being fed by tourists, so they are very friendly. As tempting as it may be, please refrain from feeding the fish it is against the Marine Park regulations.
Fish life is always exciting and different at Mata Ray Bay; you will probably see colossal Bat Fish and the even bigger friendly Maori Wrass who love to get up close. As the name suggests Manta Rays are found in this area, especially in winter.
Diving and snorkelling are popular at Manta Ray Bay. Adding to the bay’s underwater appeal, sculptures have recently been installed as part of the Ngaro Underwater Sea Trail.
Anchoring at Manta Ray Bay is not permitted; you will need to pick up one of the six public moorings. It can get pretty exposed at Manta Ray Bay, so it’s not the best place to spend the night unless the weather is perfect (check with our staff over the radio if you want to stay here)
Things to do on Hook Island
Snorkelling Sites on Hook Island
- The Pinnacles at Pinnacle Bay
- Manta Ray Bay
- Butterfly Bay
- Ian Point south in Stonehaven Bay
- Stanley Point
- Maureen’s Cove
- Mackerel Bay South
- Saba Bay
- Luncheon Bay
- Ravens Cove (near Nara Inlet)
To learn about snorkelling in the Whitsundays, visit our Whitsunday’s snorkelling spots blog.
Scuba diving sites on Hook Island
- The Woodpile at Pinnacle Bay
- The Pinnacles adjacent to The Woodpile
- Alcyonaria Point
- Saba Bay
- Mackerel Bay South
Where to go Fishing on Hook Island
- Ravens Cove – access from Nara Inlet
- Mackeral Bay
- Stonehaven Bay
- Stanley Point / Steen’s Beach
- Hook Passage
- Apostle Bay
To learn about the types of fishing in the Whitsundays and zoning regulations, visit our Fishing in the Whitsundays blog.
Camping sites on Hook Island
- Steens Beach – Opposite Hayman Island near Stanley Point
- Raleigh Beach – Maureen’s Cove
- Crayfish Beach – South Mackerel
If you want to enjoy camping around the Whitsunday Islands, get in touch with SCAMPER, they offer camping gear hire and can deliver you to camp sites among the Islands
Attractions and Famous Locations close to Hook Island
Visit the beautiful Intercontinental resort during your charter or moor at Blue Pearl Bay, another great place for snorkelling and diving.
Whitehaven Beach is on Whitsunday Island. If you spend the night at Butterfly Bay, take a cruise south to Border Island for a stopover at Cateran Bay before heading to Tongue Bay the best overnight anchorage for visiting Whitehaven Beach.
From north of Nara Inlet cruise along the western side of Hook Island, heading north to Langford Island. The mostly sand Island of Langford is a great place to stop for the day, have a picnic or game of beach cricket and snorkel right off the sandy beach.
As the name suggests, Bird Island is a bird sanctuary and nesting site. The Island, found on the west of Hook Island, is an excellent place for seabird watching and also scuba diving around the drop-offs. Keep an eye on the speed restrictions when visiting Bird Island.
The Hook Island Resort & Exciting New Plans for an Eco Resort
The Hook Island Resort is located on the south-east side of Hook Island, opposite Whitsunday Island and fronting Hook Passage.
The original resort has not operated since 2013 and is currently looked after by caretakers. It’s possible to anchor in the observatory bay and take your tender ashore however visitors are only permitted on the beach as far as the high-water mark.
In 2021, a new vision has been laid to re-establish a resort on Hook Island. This time, the new eco-resort will be something completely different to anything ever seen in the Whitsundays, offering glamping and tent accommodation with minimal environmental footprint & strong cultural appreciation.
Hook Island includes protected bays, deep inlets, ideal sailing and kayaking conditions and pristine fringing reefs with some of the best diving and snorkelling in the Whitsundays. Don’t miss visiting this sensational Islandswhen you charter a yacht in the Whitsundays.