Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Frankland Group National Park

What's special?

Halfway between Cairns and Innisfail is the Frankland Islands, a group of five continental islands High, Normanby, Mabel, Round and Russell Islands. Russell Island is a lighthouse reserve and the others are protected in Frankland Group National Park.

Rocky outcrops, dense rainforest, mangroves, coastal vegetation and surrounding fringing reefs make the Franklands a haven for wildlife.

The Franklands have special significance for Aboriginal people who fished, hunted and gathered foods on these islands and the adjacent sea country. Cook named the islands in 1770. The Franklands became a park in 1936 and the surrounding waters were protected in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in 1983.

Exploring Frankland Group

Bush camp on Russell or High Islands. Visitors must be self-sufficient. Russell has toilets. Both sites have a bench seat, picnic tables and tarp posts. Take drinking water and a fuel stove.

Go birdwatching. See reef herons, ospreys, white-bellied sea-eagles, terns, ruddy turnstones and Mongolian sand plovers around the shores. See roosting pied imperial-pigeons in summer. Look for fruit-doves, varied honeyeaters and white-breasted woodswallows in the forest.

Observe fishing restrictions. Snorkel on the northern and south-western sides of Normanby Reef or the northern and western edges of Russell Island. Wear protective clothing if swimming in the marine stinger season, October to May.

Visit in the cooler months. Summers can be hot, wet and windy.


Take the nature trail around Normanby Island.

Getting there

The Franklands are 10km east of Russell Heads between Cairns and Innisfail. Travel by private boat at mid-high tide from Mulgrave and Russell Rivers. Daily cruises from Deeral Landing on the Mulgrave River take day visitors to Normanby and campers to Russell Island.

Sources & Further reading


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