Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Newry Islands National Park

What's special?

Nestled close to the coast north-west of Mackay is a group of hilly continental islands. Newry, Rabbit, Outer Newry, Acacia, Mausoleum and Rocky Islands are protected as part of Newry Islands National Park. The islands are wild and windswept with rocky, exposed headlands and sandstone cliffs. Rabbit, the largest island, has sandy beaches.

Grassy open forest with gnarled ironbarks, bloodwoods and blue gums covers most of Newry Island. Small patches of dry rainforest grow in sheltered pockets on the southern slopes. Hoop pines tower over the canopy of Mackay tulip oaks and mountain ash. Orange-footed scrubfowl build nesting mounds in the rainforest. This is the most southerly limit of the pied imperial-pigeon, a migratory bird which feeds on rainforest fruits.

The islands and surrounding waters are part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and are protected. Seagrass beds around the islands provide a habitat for the threatened dugong. In summer, green turtles nest on Rabbit Island.

Exploring Newry Islands

Protected from south-easterly winds, the Newry Islands are a popular boating destination.

Have a picnic on the western side of Newry Island overlooking Rabbit Island.

Go wildlife watching. See koalas, bandicoots and echidnas. Spotlight for possums at night. Go birdwatching. See brahminy kites, ospreys and white-bellied sea-eagles soaring above the coast and noisy pittas and rose-crowned pigeons in the rainforest.

Bush camp on Rabbit and Outer Newry Islands. Book ahead for holidays periods. Picnic tables, shelter sheds and toilets are provided. Rabbit Island has a gas barbecue. Take fresh water, a fuel stove for cooking and insect repellent. Open fires and generators are prohibited. Remove all rubbish to the mainland.

Beware of marine stingers and cyclones in the warmer months and estuarine crocodiles.


See the rainforest and open forest along the walking track on the southern end of Newry Island. Enjoy views over the islands and mainland from lookouts along the way.

Getting there

The islands are 5km north-west of Seaforth, 46km by road north-west of Mackay. Access is by private boat from the boat ramp at Victor Creek, 4km west of Seaforth.

Sources & Further reading


Journey Back Through Time
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                                                                                           Author: M.H.Monroe  Email:     Sources & Further reading