Opened in August, the 30-km trail is one of a series of six planned to celebrate Queensland's natural heritage. The 120-km Fraser Island Great Walk had been inaugurated in June, and the 110-km Wet Tropics Walk in Far North region is scheduled to open next June. The remaining three walks—taking in the Mackay Highlands, the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast hinterlands—are expected to open around the end of 2005.
Offering a range of tracks of varying difficulty, the Whitsunday Great Walk can take up to three leisurely days to explore in its entirety. Expect to encounter stunning rain forest, burbling creeks and diverse flora and fauna, from aromatic lemon-myrtle blossoms in summer to the striking blue Ulysses butterflies. There are two campsites en route, and all hikers are required to have a camping permit, available from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, tel: (61-7) 4946 7022.