South Molle Splendour

Published
Dec 8, 2022

Words
Vanessa Knee

Photos
Mandy Lamont

When you think of holidaying in the Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef, most would imagine sailing around the turquoise waters of the 74 islands. Or a trip on a high speed boat to access the magnificent World Famous Whitehaven Beach. There are many fantastic tours available to take you out to Paradise, but none compared to this relatively new tour. Offering ebiking to what is arguably the most spectacular Island for its views of the Whitsundays, on South Molle Island!

Bike and Hike Whitsundays

Located in Airlie Beach, Bike and Hike Whitsundays is owned by Dylan Ford, a long-time Airlie local and keen mountain biker. He started this tour realising that there was a lack of land based activities in the area. This super fun half day eBike tour is available to anyone that can comfortably ride a bike. The tour starts from the newly built Shute Harbour Marina. Where you are equipped with the latest Trek ebike and helmet and a backpack filled with some healthy snacks. A quick trip on the Scamper Taxi boat, drops us at the south end of the Island. Our fantastic guide Dylan has a wealth of knowledge about South Molle which is only 3.2kms long and 2.6 kms wide!

South Molle Tour

The tour only takes 5 or 6 people to ensure a very personal experience. And of course smaller numbers means more riding time! The trip starts with a small climb up the well maintained tracks which is a combination of dirt and grass. Mostly double track which the National Parks do a great job of maintaining regularly, as it’s also a hiking track. The riding is suitable for easy intermediates as with the power mode on the ebike set to turbo, the climbs are easy and comfortable even on a hot day.

Rise in elevation happens quickly, rolling through a corridor of black boys and native grasses. Riding out of the tree line to be greeted by the magical Whitsundays and the most magnificent views. The highest point of South Molle is Mount Jefferys. At 194m with 360 degree views looking across the Coral Sea, Long Island, Hamilton Island and Whitsunday Island all in clear view. We can also see her little sister Islands of Mid Molle, North Molle and West Molle commonly known as Daydream Island. 

Soak in the views

The descents are super fun and easy to ride and for those who feel more nervous on descents, the track is wide enough to feel confident. There are definitely some areas with steep drop offs, but the track width makes it easy to roll through. It’s hard to keep your eyes on the track as the views are just so spectacular at every turn!

We made a few stops, including the shale slope where the indigenous tribes used to gather rock. Used for making tools and arrowheads, which is only found on Whyrriba (South Molle) to trade with other tribes. We took small hikes to reach some other viewpoints not accessible by bike. While stopping for some snacks and enjoying the shade of the rainforest. We only came across two other hikers, we virtually had the island to ourselves.

Spion Kop lookout

The last viewpoint at Spion Kop lookout was the most stunning. Purpose built platforms are in place to offer the best photo opportunities. From one platform you are looking down onto the incredible Bauer Bay. the most beautiful bay in the Whitsundays. The other looks way beyond Lindeman Island. The final descent takes us back into the spectacular rainforest Rolling into Bauer Bay and straight onto the brand new Jetty where the Scamper Taxi boat motors back to Shute Harbour. The Garmin stopped at 17kms.

It’s hard to imagine such a stunning island was a hive of activity for a few decades where many holiday makers used to enjoy this tropical island paradise. In 2016 Cyclone Debbie destroyed what was left of the resort and now all that stands are some buildings in disrepair. It would have been amazing to see what it used to be like ‘back in the day’ as this Island is the cream of the crop! Redevelopment plans are on the cards but with an unknown time frame. Bauer Bay is a beautiful stop for jet skis, kayakers and sailing boats and is also very popular for camping. The Island itself is absolutely stunning and it holds a certain energy that makes one feel elevated. It’s certainly a bike trip to tick off while in the Whitsundays!

For more info on Bike and Hike Whitsundays tours, see their website here

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