Sunset Beach, Paradise Beach, and Castle Rock

Are you looking for something to do this weekend? Maybe a walk? Well, have you heard of Sunset Beach and Paradise Beach before? Experienced the untouched, remote beaches and enjoy views from Castle Rock across the rocky landscape and out to the ocean that are not usually seen.

Sunset Beach, Paradise Beach, and Castle Rock
Cover photo by Keith Dyson

Location - Bowling Green Bay National Park, North Queensland, Australia
Distance - 10 km return
Time - 3-5 hours return
Grade - 5

Both Sunset Beach, also known as Little Beach and Bray Beach, and Paradise Beach are remote beaches on the western side of Cape Cleveland and are not often visited. Castle Rock is up of the ridge and overlooks Paradise Beach, the surrounding landscape, and out to sea. This journey goes through the beautiful semi-evergreen rainforest and along these pristine beaches.

Interactive Map

Here is the interactive map of the suggested routes. These routes are roughly outlined and should not be followed or used for navigation. DO NOT TRESPASS.

Park your car off to the side of the road before you reach AIMS. Walk along Cape Cleveland Road until you are near the AIMS property boundary. From here, bushwalk around the left side of AIMS, following the rough, flagged track. Once you get to the ridgeline between the two bays, take a left towards Sunset Beach - also known as Little Beach and Bray Beach.

Follow the flagged track down into the intermitted stream and down into Sunset Beach. Walk to the end of the bay and follow the rough track over to Paradise Bay. From here, you have the optional hike up to Castle Rock (unmarked).

The views from Castle Rock are spectacular.

Have an afternoon nap and/or swim and return via the same route.

What to take

  • 3-4 litres of water, consider more than usual, as there is very little shade on this hike
  • Food and snacks for the day
  • First Aid Kit and PLB
  • Maps and compass and/or GPS for navigation
  • Camera


  • Note that this route involves bush-bashing cross-country through rugged terrain.
  • This walk is best done in the cooler months. Save this walk for the winter and do not attempt this walk in summer.
  • You will need to be self-sufficient. There are no water sources available on this walk (unless after heavy rain). Bring adequate water for your hike.
  • There is no shade along the routes, so you need adequate sun protection and a good hat.
  • You can also do a beach cleanup to remove the washed-up plastics and debris.
  • Do not swim in the ocean during stinger season, which generally runs from November through to May.
  • These routes are near the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences (AIMS) and some parts of private property. Please DO NOT contact AIMS for access. AIMS does not permit the general public to come onto AIMS property for non-AIMS business. We do not advocate trespassing on private property, AIMS property, or any other restricted lands for any Wanderstories adventure.
  • The excellent walk out to Sunset Beach and Paradise Beach. The route in is good shape, but it can be overgrown with tall guinea grass at times. The track was marked by the Townsville Bushwalking Club in 2014, 2019, and 2022. The track is reasonably clear in the forested parts, but in the flat country just behind the dunes, it is overgrown and hard to follow. Despite that, it is roughly 1-2 hours from the saddle near Cape Woora to Paradise Beach.
  • The Townsville Bushwalking Club does this trip every year. We recommended going with them, as they have insider knowledge of the area and decades of experience and history bushwalking around Townsville. You'll have a great time!

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