Family Islands National Park Tropical North Queensland

Photo credit: Photo: Maxime Coquard © Tourism and Events Qld

Things to do

    Camping on Coombe Island. Photo: Julie Lightfoot.

    Camping on Coombe Island. Photo: Julie Lightfoot.

    The Ulysses butterfly has become the symbol for Dunk Island. Photo: Mike Trenerry.

    The Ulysses butterfly has become the symbol for Dunk Island. Photo: Mike Trenerry.

    Scenic beach views, Dunk Island. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Scenic beach views, Dunk Island. Photo: Queensland Government.

    Brammo Bay, Dunk Island. Photo: William White, Queensland Government

    Brammo Bay, Dunk Island. Photo: William White, Queensland Government

    The Family Islands offer many opportunities for you to explore and enjoy the natural surrounds.

    Camping and accommodation

    Camping

    The camping area on Dunk Island is managed by Dunk Island Resort. Bookings can be made online at www.dunk-island.com. Fees apply.

    Bush camping is available on Wheeler and Coombe islands.

    Camping permits are required and fees apply.

    Campers on Coombe and Wheeler islands must be self-sufficient with their own drinking water, fuel stoves and rubbish bags.

    Other accommodation

    There is a range of holiday accommodation in and around Mission Beach. For more information see the tourism information links.

    Walking

    Dunk Island offers a range of walking tracks which allow exploration of the island's famed natural history and rediscovery of its fascinating past. Take an easy stroll through the rainforest to a secluded beach or embark on a climb to the summit of Mount Kootaloo. (The distances and times below are calculated for walks beginning on Dunk Island Spit).

    Muggy Muggy Beach (Grade: easy)

    Distance: 3km return
    Time: Allow about 70mins walking time

    From the spit, walk to the north-east end of the beach to the start of the walking tracks. This pleasant walk winds through rainforest, coastal woodland and mangroves before arriving at Muggy Muggy Beach. At this picturesque sandy cove, sheltered behind a rainforest–clad headland, enjoy a swim and snorkel before returning along the same track. Access to this walking track may be affected by tidal influences at certain times.

    Mount Kootaloo circuit (Grade: moderate)

    Distance: 7km return
    Time: Allow about 3hrs walking time

    From the spit, walk to the north-east end of the beach to the start of the walking tracks. This more strenuous walk winds up a steep track to the 271m summit. Cyclone-damaged rainforest on the lower slopes allows glimpses over the island and reefs as the track ascends. On the upper slopes, the forest opens out and eucalypts emerge through the canopy. Near the summit, a short branching track leads to a lookout, which offers spectacular views over the Family Islands and nearby mainland. Near the lookout, the remains of No. 27 Radar Station, built during World War II, are slowly being reclaimed by the rainforest. The track continues around the summit, rejoining the main track and returning to the beach. Access to this walking track may be affected by tidal influences at certain times.

    Island circuit (Grade: moderate)

    Distance: 11km return
    Time: Allow about 4hrs walking time

    This challenging walk continues on from the summit of Mount Kootaloo, descending through Palm Valley to Coconut Beach. The walk returns to The Spit along the Coconut Beach track, offering views over the mangrove-fringed tidal flats along the way.

    Coconut Beach (Grade: moderate)

    Distance: 7.5km return
    Time: Allow about 2.5hrs walking time

    Starting from the camping area, this walk initially skirts the beach and follows the counci esplanade, past private property. It climbs around rocky outcrops and boulders and passes behind mangrove-fringed tidal flats before arriving at Coconut Beach. Visitors can return along the same track or continue on the Island circuit in reverse.

    Picnic and day-use areas

    Day–use facilities including toilets are provided on the Dunk Island spit. They are managed by Dunk Island Resort.

    The beaches and walking tracks on Dunk Island are available for use by self-sufficient day visitors. Visitors must carry drinking water, a first aid kit and emergency communication equipment (such as a mobile phone).

    Boating

    Boating around the Family Islands National Park is a popular activity. Please remember to:

    • Reduce your speed in seagrass areas and look out for dugongs, turtles and other large marine animals.
    • Anchor in sand away from coral reefs and seagrass beds.
    • Use a reef pick if anchoring in coral is unavoidable. When hauling in, motor toward the anchor to prevent damage.
    • Some of the Family Islands contain significant seabird nesting sites and special rules apply during the seabird breeding season from 1 October to 31 March (inclusive):

    Motorised water sports

    Motorised water sports, including jet skiing, waterskiing and parasailing are restricted to certain locations. For more details, see the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority information sheet on motorised water sports and related maps.

    Fishing

    Family Islands National Park and the surrounding marine waters are internationally significant and are protected in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Zones in the two marine parks—the Great Barrier Reef Coast and Great Barrier Reef—provide a balanced approach to protecting the marine and intertidal environments while allowing recreational and commercial use. Check zoning information and maps before entering or conducting any activities in the marine parks.

    Fisheries regulations apply—information on bag and size limits, restricted species and seasonal closures is available from Fisheries Queensland, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

    Swimming and snorkelling

    Swimming and snorkelling are possible from the many beaches around the Family Islands.

    Dangerous stinging jellyfish ('marine stingers') may be present in the coastal waters at any time, but occur more frequently in the warmer months. A full body lycra suit or equivalent may provide a good measure of protection against stinging jellyfish and sunburn. Visit marine stingers for the latest safety and first aid information.

    Be aware that crocodiles can turn up anywhere in croc country, including tidal reaches of rivers, along beaches, on offshore islands and cays in the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait, and in freshwater lagoons, rivers, and swamps. Crocodiles are dangerous and attacks can be fatal.

    Viewing wildlife

    The Family Islands offer excellent opportunities for nature walks, birdwatching and reef exploring. Visitors to Dunk Island can explore a reef-fringed and rainforest-clad 'tropical isle' made famous by E.J. Banfield's lyrical descriptions dating from the early 1900s. Snorkelling on the reef offers the chance to glimpse some of the myriad animals and plants that make up the Great Barrier Reef.

    • There are currently no park alerts for this park.