Before you start
Trail name: Honeyeater lookout. Airlie Beach, Queensland
Level: Difficult (rough terrain and steep hills)
Distance: More than 8 km (return).
Time: Allow 4-5 hours with young children.
How to get there: Follow Shute harbor road into Airlie beach city and get yourself to Kara crescent (turnoff at Begley St, then take Lamond street that leads into Kara Crescent).
About Conway National Park
Conway National Park protects an area of 2200 hectares of rainforest, Australian eucalypt bush, and mangroves among others. It extends South from the Airlie Beach area all the way to the tiny township of Conway Beach and east towards Proserpine. Within the Park, there are plenty of Hiking options, including the popular Whitsunday Great Walk or the Conway circuit. In this post, we focus on our hike through the beautiful rainforest peninsula to reach the top of the Honeyeater lookout.
The trail starts in a dry eucalypt forest (we went before the wet season hit in October), close to Airlie Beach. The trail has two parts. The first 2 km has many steep sections, the terrain is rough, the vegetation dry, and it is hot. After this, you start to ascend into a lowland rainforest, and you are soon submerged in a curtain of cool shady green. As you walk up the hill, you'll encounter a wide range of plants, trees, and butterflies. For example, we spotted over five different species of butterflies. As this is trail is part of the Conway Circuit, there is an obvious turnoff where you have to exit the Conway Circuit trail to get to Honeyeater lookout. The trail finishes with the Honeyeater Lookout which offers a splendid view over the suburb of Cannonvale, part of Airlie Beach and the ocean with a number of Whitsundays Islands. Yes, it is a challenging trail, especially for young children, but this trail is worth the effort, the blisters I got on my feet and the pain on my legs the day after.
Survival tips for this trail
Slow but steady
The only way to survive this trip with young children is by taking as many stops with snacks and water as possible. Don't rush the journey. Take time. When we take a lot of stops with our girls, we noticed that they are more willing to continue. The number of breaks you take would depend on your kids. We did at least five stops both ways. Take plenty of water and snacks for then to keep going.
Beat the heat
Try to start the trail early in the morning, especially in summer. You don't want to add the heat as a negative factor for your children.
Play games, sing songs and discover your surroundings.
While you make a stop, make sure to take time to explore your surroundings. Show your kids the vegetation, insects, connect them with the walk rather than just making it an exercise activity. Check our post about the benefits of hiking and how it creates a relationship between your kids and nature.
For more useful information about this trail, check the Queensland National Parks website
Thanks for reading!
Edited by Sam Penglase
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