Visiting The Franklands safely
Getting there and getting around
The Frankland Islands—High, Normanby, Mabel, Round and Russell—lie about 10km offshore from the mouth of the Russell and Mulgrave rivers at Russell Heads, about 45km south-east of Cairns.
Access to the islands is by private boat from either the Mulgrave or Russell river boat ramps. Sandbars at the mouth of Mutchero Inlet at Russell Heads makes crossing the shallow river mouth tide-dependent—check tide times before you go.
Frankland Islands Cruises depart daily from the Deeral landing on the banks of the Mulgrave River to carry day passengers to Normanby Island. They operate a bus link from Cairns to Deeral. Contact Frankland Islands Cruises for further information or bookings
Campers can arrange to be dropped off and picked up from Russell Island by Frankland Islands Cruises. Campers can only reach High Island by private boat.
There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities or tracks in the Frankland Group National Park.
- Take care on loose and uneven surfaces, particularly in wet conditions.
- Always carry water, wear a hat and sturdy footwear and walk in the cooler part of the day.
- Be aware of tidal movements on the beach and take care on slippery rocks.
- Carry a comprehensive first-aid kit.
Swimming and snorkelling
- Wear sunscreen and adequate clothing.
- Know your own health limitations—do not put yourself or others at risk.
- Always snorkel with a buddy so help is at hand.
- Be aware of wind, current direction and tides.
- Dangerous stinging jellyfish (‘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.
- Avoid touching coral or other animals as they may inflict a painful sting or bite.
- Be aware that estuarine crocodiles can occur in waters around island national parks in Central and North Queensland. Crocodiles are potentially dangerous and attacks can be fatal.
For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.
Before you visit
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.
Essentials to bring
Preparation is the key to a safe and enjoyable visit. Make sure that you bring:
- food, water and first-aid supplies
- rubbish bags to take your rubbish away with you—bins are not provided
- sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, toilet paper, suitable clothing and sturdy footwear
- insect repellant, a screened tent or mosquito net for protection from insects
- fuel stoves for cooking
- tarpaulin for shade.
The Frankland Group National Park is open all year round. Visitors should check weather conditions and obtain updated forecasts before venturing out in recreational vessels. Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.
Permits and fees
Camping is permitted on Russell and High islands only. Camping permits are required and a tag with your permit number must be displayed at your camp site. Fees apply on High Island. Russell Island is a Commonwealth island and no camping fees apply.
- Book your Russell Island and High Island camp site online.
- If you cannot book online, see camping bookings for other options.
Permits are required for commercial or organised events. View permits and fees for further information.
Domestic animals are not permitted in the Frankland Group National Park or on tidal lands adjacent to the national park within the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park. Tidal areas include beaches, rocks and mangroves.
Climate and weather
The Frankland Islands have a tropical climate. In summer, the daytime temperatures average 30°C with high humidity and rainfall. Storms are not uncommon. The cooler months (May to September) are the best times to visit, although strong south-easterly winds can blow for extended periods, hampering small vessel movements. The islands may be inaccessible to all boats if there are strong wind warnings or cyclonic activity. Visitors should check weather conditions before setting out. Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.
Fuel and supplies
Fuel and supplies are not available on any of the Frankland Islands. Limited supplies can be obtained from Deeral on the mainland and all supplies are available in the nearby town of Babinda. For more information see tourism information links.
- There are currently no park alerts for this park.