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About Snapper Island

Getting there and getting around

Snapper Island lies off the coast of far north Queensland, one nautical mile south-east of Cape Kimberley at the mouth of the Daintree River. Access is by private boat and only possible in fair weather. The main access point is at the north-west corner of the island, close to the day-use area. Boat access on the southern side of the island is restricted by shallow fringing reefs. Strandings are common so avoid boating in these areas.

Several commercial operators have access to the waters surrounding the island and some sea kayaking tour operators offer camping on the island as part of their tour. For more information see the tourism information links below.

Wheelchair accessibility

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities or tracks on Snapper Island.

Park features

Snapper Island rises 99 metres above sea level and supports several vegetation communities including closed vine forest, closed sclerophyll forest, a small mangrove community and a fringe of coastal vegetation.

The island is home to a variety of woodland, sea and other bird species. During the summer months, pied imperial-pigeons visit the island between bouts of feeding in the mainland forests.

The island is part of the traditional sea country of the Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people, who continue to hunt and fish around the island. In the early 1900s a lime kiln operated on the island and beche-de-mer (sea cucumber) processing may also have taken place. The watercourse stonework of what is believed to be an early Chinese market garden is still visible on the island today.

Read more about the nature, culture and history of Snapper Island National Park.

Camping and accommodation

Camping

Camping is permitted on Snapper Island at West Point. There are four unnumbered camp sites, and permits must be obtained in advance. Fees apply.

Visitors must be self-sufficient. See essentials to bring for further information and observe minimum impact guidelines when visiting this island.

Other accommodation

There is a range of holiday accommodation in and around Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation. For more information see the tourism information links below.

Things to do

Walking

A short walking track leads from the day-use area over a rocky ridge to the northern side of the island. Access through the interior of the island is not encouraged—the fragile forest vegetation is easily damaged.

Guided tours and talks

Commercial operators offer guided sea kayaking tours to Snapper Island. See tourism information links for further information.

Picnic and day use areas

There is a day-use area on the south-west side of the island with picnic tables and a toilet. Remember to bring drinking water and a fuel stove—campfires are prohibited.

Boating and fishing

Boating and fishing around Snapper Island are popular activities. Please follow the zoning maps and regulations, catch and bag limits and other guidelines listed below. Be aware that estuarine crocodiles can occur in the waters around island national parks. Remember, your safety is our concern but your responsibility—always be croc wise in croc country.

Boating

There are public moorings in the waters around Snapper Island, Hope Islands National Park. Moorings reduce coral damage from anchors and provide safe and sustainable access to popular reefs and islands. They suit a variety of vessel sizes and are accessed on a first-come-first-served basis. Time limits may apply during the day, but all mooring are available overnight between 3pm and 9am. Learn more about moorings and responsible anchoring and see maps and mooring locations.

Motorised water sports, such as jet skiing, are prohibited around Snapper Island.

Fishing

Fishing is subject to marine park and fisheries restrictions. The reef and waters surrounding Snapper Island are zoned Conservation Park (yellow).

For more information for State waters see Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park and for Commonwealth waters see Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Please note that although spearfishing is allowed in the waters surrounding the island, spearguns are only allowed on the island national park if they are stowed in a dismantled state. It is recommended you leave spearguns on your boat, stowed in a dismantled state, when not in use.

Take only enough fish for a feed—remember bag and size limits apply. For details of bag and size limits for popular fish species see Queensland Fisheries.

Viewing wildlife

With many woodland, sea and other bird species, Snapper Island is a great location for birdwatching.

  • See the description of the park's natural environment for more details about Snapper Islands' wildlife.

Things to know before you go

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! (PDF, 574K) before your visit.

Essentials to bring

Preparation is the key to a safe and enjoyable visit to Snapper Island. Make sure you bring:

  • drinking water, rubbish bags and a fuel stove
  • protective clothing, sunscreen, hat and sunglasses
  • suitable shoes for walking on rough surfaces
  • insect repellent.

Opening hours

Snapper Island, Hope Islands National Park is open all year round. Visitors should check weather conditions, as the island may be inaccessible during strong wind warnings, gales or cyclonic activity. Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Permits and fees

Camping is permitted at West Point. A camping permit is required and fees apply. A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your campsite.

Camping permits must be obtained before travelling to Snapper Island.

Permits are required for all commercial activities or group functions within the park.

Pets

Domestic animals are not permitted on Snapper Island, Hope Islands National Park.

Climate and weather

Snapper Island has a tropical climate. In summer, the temperatures and humidity are high. From April to September, the days are cooler and less humid. Visiting in the cooler winter months is recommended. Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology or for more information see the tourism information links below.

Fuel and supplies

As you need to be self-sufficient when visiting Snapper Island, you will need to bring fuel and supplies from the mainland.

Staying safe

  • Take care on loose and uneven walking track surfaces, particularly in wet conditions.
  • Always carry water, wear hats and sturdy footwear and walk in the cooler part of the day.
  • Wear sunscreen and cover up when you are walking.
  • Be aware that marine stingers (dangerous stinging jellyfish) may be present in the waters around Snapper Island, particularly during the months of October to May.
  • Be aware that estuarine crocodiles can occur in waters around these islands. Remember your safety is our concern but your responsibility—always be croc wise in croc country!

For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

Looking after the park

  • Everything in the park, living or dead, is protected. Please leave everything as you found it.
  • Feeding of wildlife is prohibited as it can affect the health of wild animals.
  • Camp only in the sites provided and remember to obtain a camping permit prior to your departure.
  • Use only the walking tracks provided.
  • Use only fuel stoves—campfires are prohibited.
  • Remove everything that you bring onto the island—take your rubbish home.
  • Domestic animals and firearms are prohibited.
  • Use the toilet facilities provided.

Be pest-free!

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! (PDF, 574K) 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.

Park management

Snapper Island is within Hope Islands National Park. It is managed by QPWS to preserve the highly significant environmental and cultural values of the island whilst providing and managing a range of visitor opportunities.

The reef waters surrounding Snapper Island are within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The surrounding waters of the islands are managed under the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Snapper Island is managed in accordance with the Hope Islands National Park management plan and the Snapper Island Section - Hope Islands National Park - Management Statement 2006-2016 (PDF, 819K).

Tourism information links

For tourism information for all regions in Queensland see Queensland Holidays.

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
24 January 2018