Orpheus Island National Park Townsville

Photo credit: Maxime Coquard © Tourism and Events Queensland

About Orpheus Island

    Park features

    Part of the Palm group of islands and within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, Orpheus Island offers secluded, sheltered bays, spectacular fringing reefs and interesting geology.

    Orpheus Island is about 12 kilometres long and varies from one kilometre to 2.5 kilometres wide. It is hilly, has rocky headlands and sandy beaches and covers an area of 1300 hectares.

    The island is composed of volcanic rocks that formed around 280 million years ago. Molten rock intruded into cracks in the granite bedrock, forming distinctive ring dykes. A spider web pattern of dykes is seen on the headlands and rocky shores.

    Dry woodlands of Moreton Bay ash and acacias (wattles) dominate the island. Scattered rainforest grows in gullies and sheltered bays, featuring figs and macaranga trees with their large distinctive heart-shaped leaves. Grasslands also occur in small irregular bands across the island.

    Several mammals and reptiles are found on the island. Many species of birds can also be seen, including terrestrial birds such as the orange-footed scrubfowl, and seabirds such as ospreys and egrets.

    Fringing reefs surround the island and are part of the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

    Looking after the park

    • Everything in the park, living or dead, is protected. Please leave everything as you found it.
    • Feeding wildlife is prohibited—it can affect their health and alter the natural population.
    • Domestic animals are prohibited in national parks as they can disturb and harm native wildlife.
    • Lighting of fires is prohibited. Bring a fuel or gas stove for cooking.
    • Please take rubbish with you when you leave the park.
    • Do not collect shells or coral. All animals and plants, living or dead, are protected in the Marine National Park (Green) Zone and on the national park. When boating, go slowly over seagrass beds—dugongs feed here.
    • Anchor only on sand—corals are fragile and easily damaged.
    • In areas where toilets are not provided, bury human waste at least 15 centimetres deep and 100 metres from a campsite. Take all sanitary items, including disposable nappies, with you as they do not decompose.
    • Do not fossick in, take from, or cause damage to cultural sites.

    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, 573.6KB) 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

    Orpheus Island National Park is managed by the Department of Environment and Science for recreation and to protect the area’s natural and cultural values. These special values have led to its inclusion in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

    The national park is managed in accordance with the Orpheus Island National Park Management Plan (PDF, 350.8KB) . The primary focus of natural resource management is to maintain the integrity and diversity of the park’s various vegetation communities, particularly the open grasslands.

    The reef waters surrounding Orpheus Island are part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and are managed in accordance with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park.

    Tourism information links

    Townsville Bulletin Square Visitor Information Centre
    Flinders Street, Townsville City Qld 4810
    ph (07) 4721 3660 or 1800 801 902
    email flinders@tel.com.au

    Rainforest and Reef Information Centre
    142 Victoria Street, Cardwell Qld 4849
    ph (07) 4066 8601
    email info@greatgreenwaytourism.com
    A partnership between QPWS and the Cassowary Coast Regional Council, managed by Great Green Way Tourism Incorporated.

    Hinchinbrook Visitor Information Centre
    Cnr Bruce Highway and Cooper Street, Ingham QLD 4850
    ph (07) 4776 4790
    Email tourism@hinchinbrook.qld.gov.au

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