Long Island in the Whitsundays is a 20-minute ferry or 1-hour cruise from our base in Shute Harbour, making it the closest island to the mainland. It also happens to be one of the prettiest Whitsunday Islands thanks to its striking landscapes and the entire island holding national park status.
As the name alludes to, Long Island is a 9km long stretch with its widest point only being 400-200m. There are several secluded bays, graded walking tracks across the island and expansive coral fringing reefs.
Long Island hosts overnight anchorage and mooring opportunities for visiting private yacht charters as well as two eco-resorts for those wanting a secluded island escape.
Whether you’re planning to stop over on a private yacht charter or visit the island for a relaxing eco holiday, this post will cover everything you need to know about a Whitsundays’ natural beauty, Long Island.
Visiting Long Island on a bareboat charter
Bareboaters can enjoy activities around the island, including snorkelling and SUP/kayaking. Parks maintain several bushwalking trails with a track running between the resorts.
Happy Bay Anchorage
Happy Bay is a popular overnight anchorage for those wanting a place to pull up without resort access. There used to be a resort here, but it’s closed, making Happy Bay a peaceful place to spend the night.
When going ashore, check the tide, so you don’t get stuck, the beach has a gradual slope, and it goes out a long way. There is access to the island’s great walking tracks from the beach. Go left and head and take the base point trail, which loops around, showing you both sides of Long Island.
Happy Bay is a great first or last night stop for people leaving Shute Harbour. It’s under one hour from our base.
Protected from North-East & South-West winds.
Palm Bay Moorings
Bareboat guests are able to book a mooring at the Palm Bay Resort for a fee. A mooring here gives access to the resort’s pool, restaurant and bar, complete with top-shelf cocktails. It’s also possible to hire kayaks and tennis gear if you want to do some extra activities while staying in Palm Bay.
Please note that Palm Bay, since April 2022, only welcomes children over the age of 16.
To book a mooring at Palm Bay, ask our reservations team or make a request in your “radio scheds” while on charter.
Things to do on Long Island in the Whitsundays
Long Island is mostly a rainforest National Park and has around 17km of walking tracks to explore. Trails will take you looping around most parts of the island, showcasing beaches, dramatic headlands and changing landscapes.
For the enthusiastic bushwalkers, take the Sandy Bay trail, a three-hour journey across 5.8 kilometres over gentle hills, protected bays, lookouts and mangroves.
Fishing is permitted around Long Island with some people throwing a line in out the front of their accommodation. Good fishing is around Palm Bay and near the jetty at Happy Bay, or around the rocks at high tide.
Kayaking and Stand-up-paddle boarding
Happy Bay is a great place for a SUP or kayak. Having a paddle out the front of the resorts is also worthwhile.
Long Island Resorts
Long Island in the Whitsundays is a quiet paradise for visitors seeking tranquillity with two resort options; both focused on sustainable and eco practices.
Palm Bay Resort Long Island
The Palm Bay Resort is a unique “adults only” resort destination. With a focus on unplugging and escaping the grind, you won’t find wi-fi or television in your room. Instead, you’ll find simplicity and entertainment from secluded beaches, nature trails and relaxing in a hammock with a book.
Balinese style accommodation ranges from beachfront villas to larger guest houses, and all have an air of merging into their natural surroundings.
The resort’s facilities include a restaurant which is open 7 nights a week. (note that Palm Bay used to be a self-catered resort, but this offering as changed in 2022)
Attractions and things to do at Palm Bay Resort:
- Kayaks or SUPs are available to resort guests.
- Independent tours can be arranged on request, taking guests out to the islands to visit famous Whitsunday attractions such as Whitehaven or the Outer Great Barrier Reef.
- Settle in at the Palm Bay Resort’s bar with its beachfront deck offering beautiful sunset views
- Take advantage of the tropical setting and relax and read a book under the shade of a palm tree.
- Take the popular Round Hill Circuit hike. This 1.5-kilometre return journey starts at Palm Bay and takes only 30 minutes.
We recommend bareboaters without children moor at Palm Bay Resort while on their charter, particularly if they come up against some unusually bad weather while on their sailing holiday.
Visiting Palm Bay Resort on a bareboat charter
Those travelling the Whitsunday Islands on a bareboat charter are able to pick up a mooring at the Palm Bay Resort for a night. Staying on a mooring at Palm Bay will give you full access to the resort facilities. Please note that children under 16 are not permitted.
- Nightly rate-$100 for 2 people then $15 per person
- Times-pick up mooring 12 pm, drop mooring 10 am
- Best way to book-call direct 0477 770 133 or ask our reservations team to book on your behalf
Elysian Retreat Long Island
Found on the southern point of Long Island, Elysian Retreat is the most secluded resort in the Whitsundays (it’s also the first solar-powered resort on the Great Barrier Reef).
Elysian is a boutique and luxe all while maintaining a strong eco-friendly ethos. Set amongst 3 hectares of rainforest with magnificent uninterrupted water views staying here is about relaxation and privacy.
Accommodation is ten exclusive, sustainable villas for adult guests. There was mention of 16+ teens being able to attend, but would you really want to take them?!
The nightly rate at Elysian Retreat is all-inclusive offering:
- Three gourmet meals made from local ingredients and matched with wines. Ingredients come from the island’s vegetable garden, with seafood sourced from local suppliers.
- Sunset cocktails with canapés and a communal fires pit looking over the Conway Rangers
- Unlimited use of un-mortised water sports such as snorkelling and kayaking gear
- Use of the resort pool
- Access to the resort’s vessel, Lotus, for trips to Whitehaven Beach or to join other existing Whitsunday tours.
- Rooms come fully equipped with modern furniture and amenities including TV, DVD player, air-conditioning, balcony, iPod dock plus so much more.
- Activities such as yoga, cooking lessons and spa treatments
How do I get to Long Island in the Whitsundays I don’t have a boat?
You can access Long Island from Hamilton Island or Shute Harbour on the mainland.
If you’re coming directly from the Whitsunday Coast airport, travel with Island Transfers who will conveniently collect you from the Airport and take you directly to Shute Harbour where you can catch a water taxi.
Those with cars can park for free at Shute Harbour before catching an Inslad Transfer water taxi.
If you fly into the Hamilton Island Airport, you can get to Long Island by taking a direct transfer with Mars Charters.
Perhaps the biggest drawcard of Long Island in the Whitsundays is you can stay in a tropical paradise away from the tourism buzz and crowds. With pristine protected rainforests, a variety of secluded beaches and views over breathtaking landscapes Long island is perfect for those looking for a Whitsundays escape.