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About Possession Island

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Getting there and getting around

Beach access on Possession Island. Photo: Queensland Government.

Beach access on Possession Island. Photo: Queensland Government.

Possession Island National Park comprises two continental islands—Possession and Eborac islands—with a total area of 508 hectares. Possession Island is in the Gulf of Carpentaria, approximately 17km south-west of the tip of Cape York Peninsula in North Queensland. Eborac Island is about 1km north of the tip of Cape York Peninsula.

The nearest mainland communities are Seisia and Bamaga, approximately 25km south of the tip of Cape York Peninsula. Access to Possession Island National Park is by charter or private boat. A public boat ramp is located at Seisia, approximately 11km south of Possession Island. No roads, walking tracks or public facilities are provided on the national park.

For more information see the tourism information links.

Wheelchair accessibility

There are no wheelchair-accessible facilities on Possession Island National Park.

Park features

Eborac Island. Photo: Queensland Government.

Eborac Island. Photo: Queensland Government.

Possession Island (approximately 502ha) and Eborac Island (approximately 5ha) support a range of plant communities including open woodlands of bloodwoods, low open woodlands of acacias and melaleucas, scattered areas of open heath and tussock grasslands, sparse grasslands and bare saltpans, with evergreen vine forest restricted to wet slopes and moist gullies.

During the Australian Bicentenary celebrations in 1988, a monument was erected on Possession Island in recognition of the declaration of possession of the east coast of Australia by Lieutenant James Cook in 1770. This landmark of historical significance stands high on a headland above the beach where Cook made his declaration and hoisted the flag.

On Eborac Island, the lighthouse plays an important role for shipping navigation in the waters of the Torres Strait.

Camping and accommodation

Camping

Camping is not allowed on Possession Island National Park.

Other accommodation

Camping, resort, lodge and guest house accommodation is available on the mainland in Seisia, 12km south of Possession Island, and Bamaga, 5km further south of Seisia, near the tip of Cape York Peninsula. For more information see the tourism information links.

Things to do

Eastern bent-wing bat. Photo: Luke Hogan, Queensland Government

Eastern bent-wing bat. Photo: Luke Hogan, Queensland Government

White-bellied sea-eagle. Photo: Queensland Government.

White-bellied sea-eagle. Photo: Queensland Government.

Merten's water monitor. Photo: Tamara Vallance.

Merten's water monitor. Photo: Tamara Vallance.

Boating

Boating and fishing is possible in waters around Possession Island National Park.

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

When boating, ensure you follow these guidelines.

  • Anchor in sand or mud away from coral reefs.
  • Use a reef pick if anchoring in coral is unavoidable. When hauling in, motor toward the anchor to prevent damage.

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. Remember to be croc wise in croc country.

Viewing wildlife

Possession Island National Park provides habitat for several species of bats. During the day, bat colonies roost in caves and abandoned mine shafts on the island. At night they leave their roosts to prey on moths and other insects. Some hunt above the low open woodlands and melaleuca swamps while others hunt below the vine forest canopy. Do not enter mine shafts or caves on these islands. They are unstable and may collapse or the vulnerable bats will be disturbed.

A variety of birds can be seen among the islands’ vegetation including olive-backed sunbirds, mistletoebirds, Australasian figbirds, noisy friarbirds, rose-crowned fruit-doves, black-faced cuckoo-shrikes and rainbow lorikeets. On the shore, coastal birds such as whimbrels, eastern reef egrets and beach stone-curlews stalk the shallows while white-bellied sea-eagles and lesser frigatebirds soar overhead.

Reptiles living on the islands include several small skinks and Merten’s water monitors, while mammal sightings include little red flying-foxes and short-beaked echidnas.

Things to know before you go

Possession Island is covered woodland and open heath. Photo: Queensland Government.

Possession Island is covered woodland and open heath. Photo: Queensland Government.

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

This island park is remote and there are no facilities—visitors need to be well prepared.

  • Be self-sufficient in food, water and first-aid supplies.
  • Bring sunscreen, insect repellent, hat, suitable clothing and sturdy footwear.
  • Bring rubbish bags to take rubbish away—bins are not provided.

Opening hours

Possession Island National Park is open 24 hours a day.

Pets

Domestic animals are not permitted on Possession Island National Park.

Climate and weather

Possession Island National Park has a tropical climate. The wetter months usually occur between December and April, when maximum temperatures can soar well above 30°C. The best time to visit the park is between May and October when rain is unlikely and temperatures are cooler.

Fuel and supplies

There are no facilities, supplies or services on Possession Island National Park. Visitors must be self-sufficient with fuel and supplies. The nearest fuel and supplies are available on the mainland at Seisia, approximately 12km south of the national park. For more information see the tourism information links.

Staying safe

Possession Island is remote. Photo: Queensland Government.

Possession Island is remote. Photo: Queensland Government.

Possession Island National Park is remote and visitors must be well prepared.

  • Wear sunscreen and cover up when you are boating.
  • Always carry drinking water and wear a hat.
  • Bring insect repellent.
  • Do not enter mine shafts or caves on these islands as they are unsafe due to the possibility of collapse.
  • Dangerous stinging jellyfish (‘stingers’) may be present in the coastal waters at any time, but occur more frequently in the warmer months. If you cannot avoid entering the water, 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. Remember to be croc wise in croc country.

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

Looking after the park

Bats roost in caves on the island. Photo: Russel Best, Queensland Government

Bats roost in caves on the island. Photo: Russel Best, Queensland Government

  • Everything in the park is protected. Please leave everything as you found it.
  • Do not feed wildlife. It can affect their health and alter the natural population balance.
  • Domestic animals are prohibited.
  • Lighting fires is not allowed.
  • Please take your rubbish when you leave.
  • Do not enter caves or mines. Female bats carry their babies clinging to their undersides but as the young bats grow, they are left behind in crèches in the mine. If disturbed, the bats may fly out in panic causing large numbers of young bats to fall to the floor where they may die, significantly threatening the survival of the colony.

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 and clean out your backpack and hand, beach or camera bags and check them carefully before your visit, as pests love to hide in stored 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

Possession Island National Park (510 ha) comprises Possession and Eborac islands. It is managed by Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to preserve the natural, cultural and scenic values of the area. To maintain these values, only self-reliant, nature-based and ecologically sustainable recreation activities are permitted.

Tourism information links

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

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
28 November 2016