Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Family Islands National Park

What's special?

A chain of scenic continental islands extends about 14km off the coast between Tully Heads and Mission Beach. Most of the Family Islands are in the national park. Dunk Island, the most northerly, is hilly and clothed in rainforest and open forest. Beachcomber E.J. Banfield, who lived on Dunk Island from 1897 until 1923, wrote four books about the islandís natural history.

Wheeler, Coombe, Smith, Bowden and Hudson Islands are also in Family Islands National Park. Stunted woodlands of casuarinas, wattles and eucalypts grow between tumbled slabs of granite on the windswept south-eastern sides of the islands and lush rainforests grow on the sheltered northern sides.

Exploring Family Islands

You can camp on Dunk, Wheeler and Coombe Islands.

Picnic or camp on Dunk Island. Facilities include picnic tables, toilets, a shelter shed, gas barbecues, hot and cold showers, water and a public phone. Campers and day visitors can access some of the resort facilities by purchasing a pass from Water Sports at the resort.

Wheeler Island has picnic tables and a toilet and Coombe Island has a picnic table. Visitors must be self-sufficient. Take fresh water, insect repellent and a fuel stove for cooking. Campfires are not allowed. Take your rubbish when you leave.

Go birdwatching on Dunk Island. More than 100 species of birds have been recorded.

Beware of marine stingers between October and May. Fishing restrictions apply in the surrounding marine park waters.

A private resort operates on Dunk Island. Day visitors are welcome. Visit in the cooler months.


Explore Dunk on 13km of walking tracks around the island. Wear a hat and sunscreen and take drinking water.


The toilets and showers in the day facilities area are wheelchair-accessible.

Getting there

Water taxis from Mission Beach, boats from Clump Point and flights from Townsville or Cairns provide easy access to Dunk Island, 4∑5km east of Mission Beach or 36km north of Cardwell. The other Family Islands are accessible by private boat from Mission Beach, Cardwell, Hull River or Tully River.

Sources & Further reading


Journey Back Through Time
Experience Australia
Aboriginal Australia
National Parks
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                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email:     Sources & Further reading