Agnes Water

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Agnes Water and 1770 loved by grey nomads
A walkway provides visitors a great way to appreciate the region’s stunning coastline. PIC: Katrina Elliott / Tourism Queensland

As far as most grey nomads are concerned, the Queensland communities of Agnes Water and the Town of 1770 have basically got the lot.

Located half way between Bundaberg and Gladstone 50 kilometres or so off the Bruce Highway, the settlements – which sit virtually next to each other – tick pretty much all the boxes … beaches, beauty, history, fishing, great tours, shops, cafes and, last but not least, a very warm welcome.

It was in 1770, that Lieutenant James Cook anchored the Endeavour about three kilometres off the coast before coming ashore here with botanist Joseph Banks and his assistant Daniel Solander.

It was only the second time during the voyage that Cook had set foot on Australian soil, and the first he had done so in what is now called Queensland. While Covid-19 put paid to this year’s festivities, the 1770 Festival is normally held here every May and includes a foreshore re-enactment of Cook’s arrival, followed by two full days of tourist-friendly entertainment.

Of course, there are plenty of year-round reminders of the area’s historical significance including a well signposted obelisk known as Cook’s Monument which bears the inscription: “Under the lee of this point Lieutenant James Cook RN, landed on 24th May 1770.”

The small but fascinating Agnes Water Museum is the obvious place for visitors to get to grips with the area’s past and it boasts copies of journals, logs, and charts, as well as indigenous artefacts, fossils, and local coral and shells.

Back in today’s world, this is very much a tourist-friendly destination with supermarkets, cafes, restaurants and plenty of accommodation and camping options, including the excellent The Reef Caravan Park. However, it is nature that is the star attraction … and there are some great walks on offer to give visitors a great insight into just how beautiful this area really is.

At the end of the peninsula is Round Hill Headland where there are walks to Bustard Bay Lookout and Wave Lookout offering excellent views across the bay and out into the Coral Sea. The main beach boasts five kilometres of golden sand and there are several other smaller more secluded beaches near the townships.

The area is surrounded by Deepwater National Park and Eurimbula National Park, both of which boasts rainforests, swamplands, secluded beaches and plenty of native animals and birdlife. Also worth a visit is the Joseph Banks Regional Park, an attractive section of coastline which separates the Town of 1770 from Agnes Water.

The Town of 1770 is also a departure point for reef cruises and fishing charters to the outer Great Barrier Reef, and there are wide range of other tours and expeditions available to allow visitors to maximise their enjoyment of this amazing part of this world. These include scenic flights, kayaking trips and LARC! environmental eco-tours which take visitors on a variety of trips aboard eye-catching pink amphibious vessels.

A lot has changed then in the 250-plus years since Captain Cook first brought a rather more conservative-looking small boat ashore here, but the area remains as stunningly beautiful as ever and will inevitably feature very high on any grey nomads’ Big Lap highlights list.

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