The largest of the Molle Island group, South Molle Island has been a longstanding destination for Whitsundays travel with its lone resort being one of the longest-operating in the region and which offers more of a laid-back and informal operation than the bigger commercial operations on the likes of Hamilton, Hayman or Daydream Islands.
First thing’s first: if you’re planning to travel to South Molle Island for your Whitsundays stay, it’s important not to expect a 5-star experience – South Molle’s Adventure Island Resort is an accommodation facility that walks the line between resort and backpackers with facilities that are adequate if not spectacular, and which carries with it a much more casual atmosphere.
he resort itself is actually quite large and spacious, and relatively lower overall guest numbers make for a destination that tends to be surprisingly peaceful while still providing access to facilities that help to make an on-island stay more comfortable. While it’s the only current accommodation choice on South Molle, there are an impressive number of pure beachfront units here, and this helps to evenly distribute guest numbers so that the end result is a far more private offering than the bigger islands.
The resort boasts both a great location and views, however its age is beginning to become more and more of a factor over time and it thus may soon be in need of renovation and further investment. Others would argue otherwise – it’s this lack of modern development which keeps South Molle from becoming another more commercialised island, which is a delicate balance to walk.
Regardless, this lack of cutting-edge construction comes with the benefit of a far cheaper average cost of stay than most other islands; it makes South Molle a much more appealing budget destination even though the cracks do tend to show in places.
From a natural perspective, South Molle Island itself is a wonderful island that is inherently hilly and thus exceedingly popular amongst hikers; there are a variety of walking tracks that range from anywhere between 2 and 10 kilometres long and which provide plenty of impressive lookout points along the way. Perhaps the most popular of these is the walk to Mount Jeffreys on the island’s southern end that grants outstanding views, particularly at sunset.
Named the Spion Kop climb, it’s widely considered one of Queensland’s best bush walks and is generally both well kept and well-signed making navigating its path fairly easy. Decent snorkelling is also available at both Sandy and Paddle Bays on the island, with the water tending towards a greater level of clarity at the northern end.
South Molle’s proximity to its other group islands – they are practically interconnected at points – means one of the most popular activities is walking from South Molle to neighbouring Mid Molle island via a sandbar that becomes accessible at low tide. This is a wonderful walk that makes for amazing views, and is a pleasant way to get a dose of nature as both of these Molle islands are rich in wildlife – particularly birds, which can be both seen and heard in abundance.
In addition, the island’s relative closeness to Whitsunday Island makes day trips to the essential Whitehaven Beach a viable option without too much of a significant time investment. Lastly, no mention of South Molle’s offerings would be complete without a tip of the cap to its 9-hole golf course, which provides the opportunity for some golfing enjoyment all while surrounded by the spectacular blues of the nearby water. Restaurant and dining options here are minimal, with food preparation only being conducted between certain pre-allocated times of the day, so bringing your own supply of snacks or filler-food to fill the gaps in between meal times comes recommended.
South Molle Island is reachable via transfers from Abel Point Marina at Airlie Beach, and is a destination of choice for those wanting an on-island stay without (and without paying for) any of the extended resort frills. If you’re happy to “rough it” a little bit in order to save some coin, then it just may be the island for you – just don’t expect to be blown away by modern conveniences.