Great Barrier Reef Islands
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|Great Barrier Reef - Surrounding Islands|
Fitzroy Island: is 7
km from the Cairns
mainland. This beautiful 339 hectares of un spoiled region is a rainforest National Park.
Daily catamaran ser vices run from Cairns and accommodation is available from cosy bunkhouse style to private beachside cabins. Scuba dive, snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, stroll the beautiful white sandy beaches or just relax.
Did you know: That Fitzroy Island was named by James Cook during his voyage back in 1770.
Lizard Island: 240km off the Cairns main-land it is Australia's furthermost island. This 1000 hectare rainforest clad Island was in 1939 declared a National Park. Daily flights from Cairns connect to this secluded, picturesque Island retreat which has resort style accommodation. Facilities include Snorkelling, motorised dinghies, deep sea diving, fishing bush walking and glass bottom boat. The Island also has a research station. Campers must obtain a permit from The National Parks & Wildlife Service Cairns.
Did you know: The first European to explore Lizard island was Lt. Captain James Cook. He anchored in one of the bays where he then climbed to the top of a hill (now known as Cook's Lookout ) to survey a suitable safe passage away from the Island.
Green Island: is part of a protected Marine Park and is surrounded by the beautiful Rainforest and Coral Reef. This 15 hectare Island is a 45 minute cruise from the Cairns mainland. Snorkel or Scuba dive among the marine life or view it from a glass bottom boat or semi-submersible.
Showers, change rooms, shops and beach hire equipment are available. Relax on the beach or stroll through the National Park. The accommodation is a luxury resort with all the modern facilities
Double Island: Is situated 20km North of Cairns International Airport and is a 6 minute boat trip off the shores of Palm Cove.
Did you Know? The earliest European record of the island occurred in 1848 when Owen sailed from Dunk Island to the Torres Strait on the Rattlesnake.
FURTHER SOUTHDUNK ISLAND
Dunk Island is probably one of the best known of Australia's tropical islands. Dunk Island is about 4.5 km offshore from Mission Beach and 36 km north of Cardwell. The National Park covers 730 ha. An airstrip, resort & farm cover the remaining 240ha in the north-west.
From the sea, a mosaic of shades of green is visible. Over much of the island, a relatively open forest of eucalypts is accompanied by an under-storey of rainforest plants including many palms and thick, looping, coiled lianas.
Thirteen kilometres of walking track encourage exploration of most of the island's many habitats and provide an introduction to some of its diversity of animal life including more than 100 species of birds. Proximity of creeks, rainforests, eucalypt forest, rocky shore, reef flat and mangroves provides an ideal situation for nature watching and allows an insight into the importance of these island national parks as wildlife refuges.
An air service connects Dunk Island and the mainland, and a regular ferry service leaves from Clump Point jetty. Taxi boats are available from Wongaling Beach. A boat ramp is located at Mission Beach. Brammo Bay, on the northern end of Dunk, offers a protected anchorage in south easterly winds.
Hinchinbrook is Australia's largest island national park and is separated from the mainland by the narrow Hinchinbrook Channel.
Mangroves fringe the shores of this deep channel which is scoured from sand and mud by strong tidal currents. Rising 1142m from the centre of the island is Mt Bowen, largest in the chain of rugged granite mountains.
The spectacular north face of Mt Bowen drops 1121m in cliffs and forested rocky slopes almost to sea level. From here a narrow, 8km long strip of sand, stretches north to connect with Cape Sandwich and Cape Richards. This is backed on the protected western side by extensive mangrove forests.
The family islands are a chain of islands extending approximately 14km in length and are located offshore of Tully Heads and Mission Beach. Dunk Island is the most northerly lying island and the largest of the Family Group. The southern islands include Wheeler, Coombe, Smith, Bowden and Hudson Islands and are all national parks covering 11 9ha. Thorpe and Bedarra (Richards) Islands to the north are privately owned.
The prevailing southeasterly wind and swell have also formed sand spits on the northwestern landing points. Living coral and rubble demand care when anchoring.
Permits are required for camping on Dunk, Wheeler and Coombe Islands. Camping is not permitted on Smith, Bowden or Hudson Islands. Tables are provided on camping islands but there are no toilets or walking tracks. Drinking water should be carried.
GOULD ISLAND back up^
This 830ha national park lies 4.5km northwest of Cape Richards and 17km northeast of Cardwell. Most vegetation on this mainly granite island is eucalypt woodland but patches of rainforest occur in gullies. Gould Island is noted for its flocks of noisy sulfur-crested cockatoos, their gleaming white plumage conspicuous against the dark green vegetation. Turtles and dugong may be seen surfacing as they feed on the extensive sea grass beds in the shallow waters to the south and west.
A camping and picnic area on the western beach has pit toilets and tables. Water can be obtained from a small creek at the northern end of this beach. This creek is usually dry between August and December when water must be brought to the island.
This cluster of four small, densely vegetated national park islands lies 30km north east from Cardwell. An extensive fringing coral reef, linking the three northernmost islands provides excellent snorkelling. Care should be taken to prevent damage to coral when anchoring. Good fair-weather anchorage is found off the northwestern end of North Island. Camping is not permitted on the Brook Islands and no facilities are provided.
The Brook Islands are extremely important as the nesting place for a colony of more than 20000 Torresian imperial-pigeons. Arriving in September to breed, they colonize the islands till about February when parents and offspring return to Papua New Guinea for the winter. Care should be taken not to disturbed the nesting grounds. Simply walking through a nesting colony can cause young birds to leave the nest prematurely, only to fall and perish on the ground.
Summer is also the breeding season for black-naped terns which lay their well-camouflaged eggs on sand and shingle where they can be crushed underfoot, even by careful walkers. To protect these vulnerable birds, visitors during the breeding season should avoid landing on the island. The marine park area surrounding Brook Islands 5OOm from shore is zoned Marine National Park B. This means 'look but do not take'.
Information on the Islands was obtained from the Queensland Department of Environment.