About Family Islands
The gently-rising hills of the Family Islands contrast with the jagged and lofty profile of Hinchinbrook Island, which dominates the southern horizon. Dunk Island, like the other Family Islands, is cloaked in a mosaic of dense rainforest in protected gullies and wet slopes. Eucalypt forest, with an understorey of palms, occurs on drier more exposed ridges. Much of this vegetation was severely damaged when Cyclone Yasi crossed over Dunk Island in February 2011, and has recovered well.
The Family Islands lie within the traditional sea country of the Bandjin and Djiru Aboriginal peoples, who, for tens of thousands of years, have collected, gathered and hunted the rich marine and island resources for food and materials. Today they retain a strong connection to these islands. Lieutenant James Cook named Dunk Island in 1770 but it is best known from the writings of the 'beachcomber', E.J. Banfield. Living on Dunk Island from 1897 until 1923, Banfield wrote four books about the island's natural and cultural history.
The islands support many species of birds, insects, reptiles and mammals. The brilliant blue Ulysses butterfly has become a symbol for Dunk Island. The fringing reefs surrounding each of the islands are home to a diversity of reef life. Extensive seagrass beds lie between the islands providing important feeding grounds for sea turtles and dugong.
- Read more about the nature, culture and history of Family Islands National Park.
Help to keep the park in a natural state.
- Everything in the park is protected. Please leave everything as you found it.
- Do not feed wildlife—it can affect the natural population balance.
- Leave your pets at home—domestic animals are not permitted in national parks or intertidal zones as they disturb native wildlife.
- Lighting of fires is prohibited. Bring a fuel or gas stove for cooking.
- Please stay on the walking tracks at all times—shortcutting damages vegetation and causes erosion.
Our precious Great Barrier Reef World Heritage islands are among the most pest-free islands in the world. They need your help to stay this way. Please Be pest-free! before your visit.
Before you visit, please check that your boat, clothing, footwear and gear are free of soil, seeds, parts of plants, eggs, ants and insects (and their eggs), spiders, lizards, toads, rats and mice.
Be sure to:
- Unpack your camping gear and equipment and check it carefully as pests love to hide in stored camping gear.
- Clean soil from footwear and gear as invisible killers such as viruses, bacteria and fungi are carried in soil.
- Check for seeds in pockets, cuffs and hook and loop fastening strips, such as Velcro.
While you are on the islands, remove soil, weeds, seeds and pests from your boat, gear and clothes before moving to a new site. Wrap seeds and plant material, and place them in your rubbish.
Everyone in Queensland has a General Biosecurity Obligation to minimise the biosecurity risk posed by their activities. This includes the risk of introducing and spreading weeds and pests to island national parks.
See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.
The Family Islands National Park is managed by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) for the enjoyment of visitors and the conservation of nature.
The Dunk Island Spit is managed by the Cassowary Coast Regional Council to provide day-use and camping facilities for all users.
The national park is managed in accordance with the Family Islands National Park Management Plan . This management plan is currently under review.
The reef waters surrounding the Family Islands are within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The surrounding waters are within the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The Commonwealth Hinchinbrook Plan of Management also has provisions for the waters surrounding some of the Family Islands.
Rainforest and Reef Information Centre
142 Victoria Street, Cardwell QLD 4849
Phone (07) 4066 8601
A partnership between the department and the Cassowary Coast Regional Council, managed by Great Green Way Tourism Incorporated.
For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.
The natural, cultural and historical significance of Family Islands
- Taylor Cay seasonal closure 5 January to 31 March 2023