South Molle Island: A Whitsunday Paradise for Nature Lovers


Looking for safe and well protected anchorages? Here's our guide to the top five in the Whitsundays.

South Molle Island is a little gem. The largest of the Molle Island Group, South Molle is perfect if you want to escape the crowds and explore a secluded slice of paradise.

The National Park island, with its steep gullies and bluffs, has a lot of small bays and inlets, ideal for exploring. It has a close and accessible physical connection with its nearby island brothers and sisters; you can even walk along a causeway to Mid Molle Island at low tide.

Conveniently located close to our mainland base at Shute Harbour, many of our guests opt to spend their first or last night anchored at South Molle. But this place is more than an overnight anchorage. In this post, we will delve into the wonders of South Molle Island so you can keep exploring this idyllic island in mind for your next visit.

Anchorages and snorkelling spots on South Molle Island

Bauer Bay ( & Paddle Bay)

With its cliffs, Bauer Bay is an excellent secluded anchorage and a favourite among the Whitsunday Rent a Yacht crew. You can snorkel towards Paddle Bay.

Bauer Bay is protected from southeast, southwest and westerly winds. It’s best to anchor on the eastern side of the jetty.

Please be mindful of the wind conditions when anchoring at Beauer Bay. It can get swell. Avoid using the jetty and take your dinghy to the beach if going ashore.

Sandy Bay

Sandy Bay, found on the South of the Island, is delightfully isolated and has decent snorkelling available off the beach. The beach within Sandy Bay is ideal for beachcombing or relaxing on the sand, and there is access to the rest of the island by walking tracks.

Sandy Bay is sheltered from south and southeast winds. Be aware of the tides and anchor as closely as possible to minimise tide effects while keeping a safe distance from the fringing reefs to allow for swing.

South Molle Island Whitsundays

Things to do on South Molle Island

Hikes & mountain bike trails

South Molle Island is part of the Ngaro Sea trail and is popular among hikers. It is the only island in the Whitsundays where you can also mountain bike ride.

The island is hilly, with various walking trails ranging from 2 to 10 kilometres. There are many impressive lookouts and views to take in, with the highest vantage point being from Mount Jeffreys (194 meters)

According to 100 Magic Miles, South Molle has extensive grasslands which pre-date European occupation. Across the hills and gullies, you will also experience a variety of vegetation, from hoop pine forests in the gullies to eucalyptus forests on the rocky slopes and small patches of vine forest scattered throughout.

Spion Kop
4.6km return, Class 3

Spion Kop is the northernmost peak on South Molle Island and offers bushwalkers and mountain bike riders the chance to explore the island and experience phenomenal views from the top.

Observation decks on the Spion Koop trail allow hikers to stop and soak in the views over Bauer Bay to the west and Whitsunday Island to the east. To reach the summit, you’ll need to climb some stairs requiring a good fitness level. Many people branch off on their way and take a short detour to Balancing Rock from the Spion Kop trail.

The Spion Koop trail begins at either Sandy Bay or Bauer Bay.

Mt Jeffreys
6km return, Class 3

Mount Jeffreys is the highest point on South Molle Island. Naturally, it is where you’ll experience sweeping 360-degree views of the islands.

The trail to Mt Jeffrys can be accessed at one end of Sandy Bay on the island’s southeast side and in Bauer Bay at the western end of the resort beach. You can expect to see many resident birdlife along the trail, including lorikeets and bush curlews.

Mid Molle Island

There are no other islands in the Whitsundays where you can walk to a neighbouring island. From Paddle Bay, east of Bauer Bay, you can walk to Mid Molle Island via a sandbar at low tide.


There are camping facilities at Paddle Bay and Sandy Bay. To have an island to yourselves, you can also camp on Plantation Island, situated east of South Molle Island.

Permits are strictly monitored to keep visitor numbers low. It is entirely possible that you could have the whole island to yourself!

Cultural Site Quarry History

South Molle Island is called Whyrriba by the Ngaro People, which means “stone axe”. Evidence shows that First Nation people came from the mainland to quarry a beneficial stone found for weapons and tools. You can walk past the quarry on the Spion Koop track.

The deserted resort on South Molle Island

South Molle Island resort is closed. It was purchased by a Chinese investment group in 2016; however, no timeline has been given for its redevelopment. So, South Molle is a place you can explore away from tourists.

The area around the resort is not open to the public and is considered unsafe.

south Molle island
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