South Molle island is continental island in the Whitsundays, within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The island is the largest of the Molle islands – North, Mid, and South Molle islands.
The island is relatively undeveloped, with no buildings taller than the island’s palm trees. There is over 400 hectares of protected national parkland on the island.
The island has been privately owned by the Bauer family since the 1920s, who used the land primarily for animal grazing until the resort was constructed in the 1950s.
Herds of wild goats inhabit the island, animals that were originally moved to the island as an emergency source of food for shipwrecked sailors.
The island is hilly, covered with grasslands, bays, rainforest, and nearby fringing reefs. Visitors can climb one of the many hills to see unparalleled views of the surrounding area.
South Molle Island is connected to Mid Molle Island at low tide.
South Molle Island is inhabited by a diverse number of bird species:
Currawongs, Brahminy Kites, Osprey, Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos, Eastern Curlews, Australian Scrub Turkeys, Kookaburras, Bridled Terns, Rainbow Lorikeets, Pheasant Coucal, Sea Eagles, and (endangered) stone curlews.
Nocturnal fruit bats or flying foxes can also be seen on the island – in the valley along the “Spion Kop” walking trail. Green Tree Snakes and Brown Pythons are the only known snakes on the island. Many of the 100 butterflies known to inhabit the Whitsundays can be seen on South Molle Island.
Activities (Nature and Wildlife Interest)
Island activities include:
- Walking: The island has numerous hiking paths within the National Park areas, totaling 16 kilometers in walking tracks.
- Snorkeling and diving on the outer reef
- Water sports: windsurfing, sailboarding, paddle skis, waterskiing, parasailing, jet skiing
- Fishing: free fishing tackle is available from the resort gift shop
- Boating: catamaran, sailing, boat cruises to nearby islands
- Nightly entertainment: resident DJ, bands, night club, games, and dancing
South Molle Island has one resort, the Koala Adventure Island Whitsundays Resort (formerly the South Molle Island resort, a family-oriented all-inclusive).
Koala Adventure Island Resort is geared towards the young party crowd. Guests must be eighteen years or older. The resort emphasizes its night-time entertainment options.
The Resort is a laid-back and affordable entertainment-oriented resort. The resort has 200 guest rooms, at affordable prices. The various accommodation options include rooms with views of the rainforest, reef, ocean, or beach. Rooms can accommodate between two and six people. The air-conditioned rooms are basic, with ensuite facilities, and a balcony or patio.
Facilities: restaurant, café, nine-hole golf course, tennis and squash courts, gymnasium, pool, spa
There are two campgrounds on the island – at Sandy Bay in the south, and Paddle Bay, which is close to the resort.
South Molle Island is just eight kilometers north-east of Shute Harbour, making the Abel Point Marina the ideal entry point to the island. Visitors can fly into Proserpine Airport, where they board a bus to nearby Shute Harbour. From there, take a high-speed catamaran from the harbour to South Molle, a trip that takes about half an hour.
Alternatively, visitors can fly to Hamilton Island and take a 30-minute launch from there.