Let's go fossil hunting at Dingo beach
Updated: Jan 21
Before you start
Distance: 2 km (one way).
How to get there: Follow the Dingo Beach road which ends at the peaceful and idyllic Dingo Beach township. From Dingo beach you can drive East to Nelly and Jonah Bays. You can also follow a 4WD track West to Hideaway bay, but we'd recommend taking the turnoff on the bitumen that is signposted on the drive into Dingo Beach.
Facilities: BBQ, picnic tables and toilets (and a super relaxing pub with ice-cold beer.......).
I am not sure why, but Dingo beach has been one of our favorite walks in the Whitsundays area. Perhaps it is the crystalline waters, or the fresh ocean smell, the postcard views, or just the generally relaxed vibe this place has going for it. I don't think Dingo beach is a popular destination for tourists, as it is a bit out of the way, and like us prior to this, I think many people bypass it for the more popular Airlie beach. But now that we reside in the area, we decided to explore it.
Hidden behind hills, in a dry area of the Whitsundays, right next to a calm ocean, is the town of Dingo beach. When you park the car, the sight of clear blue water and an expansive beach welcomes you. So get ready, put on some sunscreen, hats, pack your bags with a few snacks, water bottles and set your feet on the sparkling sand.
When we first followed the shoreline of shiny coral sand, I was immediately captivated by the stunning landscape of this place.
Our girls were fascinated by this place. There was so much to discover. One of the first things we found was a fossilized reef nested in the sand (which at first glance just appears to be a large flat area of old limestone rock). I am not sure about its origins, as I couldn't find any information about it. Thus, the walk became a fossil hunt. Shapes of possibly old corals and shellfish were stamped into the rocks at both Dingo beach and Nelly bay (and I am guessing around a lot of the coast here). On our walk, we first walked along the beach at Nelly Bay then came back and walked along Dingo beach. As the Nelly Bay beach is on the edge of the Dingo beach township, we pretty much had it to ourselves.
At low tide, a wonderworld emerges from the ocean. As the tide recedes, corals, starfish and, snails lay exposed in small pools. The water was crystal clear when we went, and we saw a ray and a turtle as we walked along the beach.
There is road access to the back of the beach at Nelly Bay if you want to start your walk from Nelly Bay. At Dingo beach there is a boat ramp for small boat and a tidal swimming (stinger) enclosure for peace of mind. At the Northern end of Dingo Beach is Blackcurrant Island that the more adventurous can walk to at low tide.
From Dingo beach to Hideaway bay
On the same day, we visited the adjacent town of Hideaway bay in the afternoon. We followed a 4W road from Dingo beach to Hideaway bay but would recommend driving out of Dingo beach and taking the turnoff to Hideaway bay on the sealed road. The 4WD track leads to you being trapped behind a long line of houses and it was difficult finding a way through. We escaped by entering a track going through private property (our apologies to the owner) to the sealed road.
Hideaway bay is also a small town (At an estimate less than 300 people). We decided to pass through the town and followed the road North to the resort. The road is gravel with some sealed sections and meanders between the coast and some mountains, and ends at a gate to private property on the west side. The area has quite a remote feeling and there are a multitude of places to access the many deserted pristine beaches. We went to the beach at the end of the road. It was quite amazing, with rockpools and huge granite boulders to explore, oysters to eat from the rocks, and mesmerizing turquoise water.
Make a sculpture with coral rubble.
It is a very simple art activity to do with kids, create by Laila. Grab a few pieces of coral rubble from the sand and design a sculpture of your choice. Laila made a house.
(edited by Sam Penglase)
copyrights P&F photography