South Molle Island

South Molle Island, part of the Whitsunday Islands, is a resort island in the Whitsunday section of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in Australia. The hilly island has numerous bays and inlets accessible by 16 km of walking and cycling tracks, with most protected in the Molle Islands National Park.[1]

South Molle Island
Native name:
On South Molle Island looking at North Molle and Daydream Islands.JPG
Looking northwest from west of Mount Jeffreys. Daydream (left) and North Molle (right) are visible in the distance.
LocationCoral Sea
ArchipelagoWhitsunday Islands
Total islands1
Major islands1
Area4.66 km2 (1.80 sq mi)
Length3.2 km (1.99 mi)
Width2.6 km (1.62 mi)
Highest elevation194 m (636 ft)
Highest pointMount Jeffreys
Local government areaWhitsunday Regional Council
Capital cityBauer Bay
Largest settlementBauer Bay (pop. 0)
Population0 (2018)
Additional information
Time zone

The islands were named by Lieutenant Charles Jefferys in 1815 after Colonel George James Molle, the then Lieutenant Governor of New South Wales.[2] Nearby islands include Mid Molle, North Molle, East Molle and West Molle (known as Daydream Island). Just to the east and southeast, respectively, are the small islands Planton and Denman. Wild goats were introduced to the island in the nineteenth century as a food source for shipwrecked sailors.[citation needed]


South Molle Island jetty

First established in 1937, the island's resort lies on Bauer Bay on the northern end of the island[3] and so is well protected from the prevailing south easterly winds. The resort area, now known as South Molle Island Resort,[4] is owned by Koala Adventures and has a nine-hole golf course in addition to 200 rooms that can accommodate 600 guests.[2] In 1961 a large jetty was built as the small jetty that existed was only usable at high tide.

Popular hiking and cycling trips include the walk to Mount Jeffreys in the southern half of the island, from which one can continue southwest to Sandy Bay.

The South Molle Island resort was operated by Ansett Transport Industries in the late 1980s.[5] At the time, Ansett was half owner of the Hamilton Island Airport which provided a strong team of tourists to South Molle. Bauer Bay holds a seaplane base.

In 2016, the island was bought by a Chinese company, but was smashed by Cyclone Debbie only a few months later.[6] As of 2019, the resort remains closed and in disrepair.[7]


There is some evidence that Aboriginals visited the island to extract hard stone for their weapons.[2] The islands's first pastoral lease was granted in 1883.[2] It was owned by the Bauer family since around 1920 and primarily used for sheep and cattle grazing until a resort was built in the 1950s. In 1970, Cyclone Ada destroyed the island's resort.[2] Coca-Cola filmed a TV commercial on the island.[8]


Housing for the resort staff and the personnel from the seaplane base is located at the jetty on Bauer Bay.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "About Molle Islands". Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing. 27 August 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e "South Molle Island". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 1 January 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  3. ^ "Bauer Bay, South Molle Island Site Management Arrangements". Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Archived from the original on 12 September 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2010.
  4. ^ Koala Adventures
  5. ^ The Whitsundays jewel in the crown put to market JLL 2 May 2016
  6. ^ Trouble in paradise
  7. ^ Molloy, Shannon. "Paradise lost: Half of Queensland's once desirable luxury island resorts now deserted or derelict". News Pty Limited. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
  8. ^ Coca Cola ad 'Uplift' on YouTube

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 20°14′58.45″S 148°49′48.91″E / 20.2495694°S 148.8302528°E / -20.2495694; 148.8302528