Broad Sound Islands National Park Capricorn | Mackay

Things to do

    Camping and accommodation

    Camping

    Bush camping is available on 5 islands within the Broad Sounds Islands group: High Peak, Flock Pigeon, Aquila, Hexham and Shields islands. There is a limit of 6 campers per island. There are no facilities on these islands.

    Seasonal closures may restrict entry to these islands to protect breeding turtles and shorebirds.

    Camping permits are required and fees apply. A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your campsite.

    Boating and fishing

    Boat ramps are located at the townships of Stanage Bay, Clairview and Carmila. Boat users need to be aware of the navigation challenges of this area and are advised to carry the navigation aid book ‘Cruising the Curtis Coast’ by Noel Patrick and the Official Tide Tables for Queensland. Vessel operators should be experienced and competent.

    Please take care when boating.

    • Anchor with care and on sand when possible. If you cannot avoid coral, use reef picks and motor towards your anchor when hauling in.
    • Take care of wildlife. Turtles feed in the surrounding marine park waters and the islands have important turtle rookeries.

    There are a range of fishing opportunities around the islands, including estuarine, reef and rock fishing. Make sure you understand zoning and fishing regulations before you go.

    • Know your marine park zones and always consult a zoning map before fishing or collecting. For detailed zoning maps and information see Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
    • Know your fishing regulations. Size and maximum bag limits apply to popular fish species. Queensland fisheries legislation applies in zones where fishing is permitted. See Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for more information.
    • Collecting any coral, living or dead, is not permitted anywhere. Limited collecting of shells (five of any unprotected species) is permitted in the blue and yellow zones only.

    Viewing wildlife

    Turtle watching

    Wild Duck Island and Avoid Island support 2 of the 3 largest flatback turtle rookery habitats for the Australian east coast population. Flatback turtles are currently listed as a vulnerable species. Marine turtles take 30–50 years to prepare for their first breeding migration. From late October to February, females return to the general area of their birthplace to nest.

    Flatback turtles lay about 50 eggs in each clutch. Each nesting season they lay several clutches at about two-week intervals. Depending on the species, turtles only nest every 2–7 years.

    Eggs are incubated in the sand with hatchling sex determined by incubation time and sand temperature. Hatchlings emerge 7–12 weeks later, generally from December to late April.

    Take care of sea turtles

    In spring and summer, turtle mating and breeding activity may mean turtles are near shallow areas at high tide and are generally slow to react. Please slow down when operating vessels in shallow areas and take care not to come in contact with turtles.

    Bright lights and noises can disturb nesting turtles and hatchlings. If disturbed, female turtles are likely to return to sea without laying their eggs. Please follow these simple guidelines to avoid disturbing them.

    • Ensure camp and boat lights are not visible from nesting areas. Cook early, shield camp lights and use small torches to find your way around.
    • If turtle watching, use small torches only (3 volts or less). Avoid using them whenever you can.
    • Never shine lights on turtles leaving the water, moving up the beach or digging nesting chambers.
    • Approach and observe the turtle from its rear. Use a dim torch only after egg-laying begins—usually 10 minutes after the turtle stops moving sand.

    Read more about marine turtles.

    Birdwatching

    The islands of Broad Sound Islands National Park and the nearby Ramsar listed Shoalwater and Corio Bay are a bird enthusiasts paradise.

    Many islands and their surrounding intertidal zones support vulnerable beach stone-curlews and near threatened sooty oystercatchers. There is a multitude of terrestrial and marine birdlife on the islands, including white-bellied sea-eagles and other raptors, orange-footed scrubfowl, pied imperial-pigeons and a myriad of shorebirds.

    Dugong watching

    A Dugong Protection Area exists between Camilla Creek and Clairview Bluff and includes the waters surrounding the western edge of Flock Pigeon Island. The dugong population is in decline and is at high risk of disappearing from the region.

    Dugongs, also known as sea cows, can grow to about 3 metres in length and weigh up to 400 kilograms. Adult dugong feed predominantly on seagrass and can consume 30 kilograms per day. As they feed, whole plants are uprooted and a tell-tale feeding trail is left. Female dugongs take up to 17 years to mature and then only produce one young every 5 years if the conditions are suitable. Dugongs are listed as a vulnerable species under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.

    There are a few simple things you can do to help dugongs.

    • When boating, especially in shallow waters, be on the lookout for dugongs to avoid injuring them and travel slowly in areas known to be dugong habitat.
    • Contact us to report marine animal standings.
    • Be careful not to damage or destroy seagrass through careless anchoring or bait collecting. Read more about seagrasses.