ON THE 24th of May 1770, Lieutenant James Cook steered the out of the prevailing south-easterly winds and into the shelter of . Shortly afterwards he made his first landfall in what was later to become the state of and he commented on the suitability of the inlet as an anchorage: “…here is room for a few ships to lay very secure, and a small stream of fresh water”. Cook’s landing party included the ship’s botanists, Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander, who collected specimens of 33 new plants from the area.
While ashore Cook’s men managed to shoot an Australian bustard “that weigh’d 17 and a half pounds which occasioned my giving this place the name of The feast would have been eagerly devoured judging by Banks remarks in his journal: “…it turn’d out an excellent bird, far the best we all agreed we have eaten since we left England & as it weighd 15 pounds our Dinner was not only good but plentifull.”
Cook’s landing is today marked by a stone cairn on a headland at the Town of 1770, and apart from the relatively low-key development there and at nearby , this beautiful area has changed little since the Endeavour visited. The region boasts Queensland’s most northern surf beaches, a glorious sheltered bay and tidal estuaries and two fabulous national parks to explore by 4WD. The peaceful , south and west of 1770/ are fantastic places for a peaceful family 4WD escape. The parks offer a chance to enjoy a top beach holiday – fishing, swimming, walking or just relaxing with a sense of remoteness but with the convenience of all the modern amenities quite close by. Fuel and supplies are available at less than 10km drive from either park, while
The area’s National Parks protect two delightful, unspoiled stretches of coastline featuring sandy beaches, rocky headlands, mangrove-lined creeks, livistona palm groves, melaleuca swamps, coastal lowland eucalypt forests, vine forests, banksia thickets and open plains. Vehicle access is prohibited on the dunes and beaches at both parks (Deepwater is an important turtle rookery) so the kids can safely play on the shore. At Deepwater, a 4WD-only track runs parallel to the beach, behind the dunes, and provides access to the , and . Deepwater is home to a wide variety of bird species ranging from emus to honeyeaters, so keen birdwatchers will find plenty to keep them interested.
At Eurimbula, the track leaves the bitumen road 6km west of Agnes Waters and winds through eucalypts and cabbage palms to the two campsites on the coast. The 4WD tracks are usually quite easy going, although some sections can become boggy after rain and may be closed – particularly the Middle Creek track in Eurimbula. Both National Parks have limited campsites so are rarely busy. Eurimbula has two camping areas: and pit toilets, bore water and rainwater), Deepwater camping is behind the dunes at either pit toilets and drinking water) or is the better and more popular of the two. You’ll need to book a campsite for peak times such as school holidays.
Campfires are prohibited in both so ensure you bring a fuel stove for cooking. If camping doesn’t appeal you can always choose from the excellent range of holiday accommodation at or and then visit both parks on easy day trips. The (07) 4974 9350) can help with .
for offshore sport, game, reef or fly fishing trips (ph. (07) 4974 9686), for regular cruises to breathtaking 07) 4974 9077 while the award-winning (ph. (07) 4974 9422) will take you along the beach at to the historic lighthouse in their LARCs (Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo vessels). (ph. (07) 4974 9227) offer fully-equipped tinnies.
1770 is a great place to visit at any time of the year but summer is special with the turtles nesting around Christmas / January and the hatchlings emerging from January to April. Dirty Weekends in Central Queensland contains detailed planning info and trip directions to help you explore both Deepwater and Eurimbula National Parks.
1) One of the beachfront campsites at Middle Creek in Eurimbula National Park.
2) A LARC (Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo vessel) from the award-winning cruises past the Bustard Beach Camping Area at en route to the historic lighthouse.
3) The view over Bustard Bay and Eurimbula National Park from Round Hill Head.
4) Waves crash over Middle Rock in Deepwater National Park.
5) The tracks through the lush cabbage palm groves of Deepwater National Park are very easy.Reads: 3401