10 of the Most Memorable Things to Do in 1770 and Agnes Water

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As our Queensland road trip carries us further north from Bundaberg, we discover the best things to do in 1770 and Agnes Water.

Agnes Water and the Town of Seventeen-Seventy are two neighboring townships on Central Queensland’s Discovery Coast. Though the name of the region is often amalgamated to Agnes Water 1770, the two communities offer two different sides of the same coin. To the north of Round Hill Headland, the alluring turquoise of 1770’s tidal, sand flats and mangrove-covered estuaries shimmer lazily in the sun. To the south, the wild, unkempt beauty of Agnes Water’s open beaches and coastal forest stretch on as far as the eye can see.

I have a handful of vague but happy memories of an early childhood vacation to The Town of Seventeen Seventy and Agnes Water. Sunburnt days spent snorkeling among the mangroves in the warm water of the tidal sandflats. Renting a tinnie (small aluminum boat) and fishing the maze of estuaries of Round Hill Creek. Taking a charter to Lady Musgrave Island on the outer reef. My first experience on the Great Barrier Reef, where we saw impossibly vivid coral, caught equally vibrant reef fish and swam with huge turtles. And the journey back to the mainland where I got so seasick.

I was excited to return to what I recalled as an absolute paradise to see if my hazy memories lined up. 

With just a weekend to soak it all up as we headed steadily north we packed in all the best things to do in 1770 and Agnes Water into 48 hours. Here is the complete list of our favorite, and most memorable things to do in 1770 and Agnes Water.

The Town of Seventeen-Seventy, Queensland

Commonly known as the Town of 1770 or just 1770, this tiny township marks the spot where British explorer James Cook landed for the second time in Australia. Although 1770 takes its name from the year of that fateful landing, the Gooreng Gooreng people have lived in this beautiful part of the world for hundreds of years before 1770.

Perched on a tall headland that juts into the ocean, 1770 offers spectacular views of the pristine waters of the choral Sea. As well, access to scenic walks, exciting fishing, the gateway to the reef, and its islands. These spectacular attractions draw thousands of tourists to the little village every year.

Stretching up from the banks of the river mouth at Round Hill Creek to the scenic heights of 1770 headland, “The town of” is an ambitious designation for Seventeen-Seventy. A collection of holiday houses, a few tourism operators, and a handful of cafes and restaurants make up the small beach community. At last count, its permanent population recorded 76. Never the less, Seventeen-Seventy is permanently swelled with tourists from regional Queensland, conspicuous in their cowboy hats, jeans, and boots at the beach, and visitors from around Australia and the world.

Agnes Water, Queensland

Commonly known as Agnes Waters or Agnes Water 1770, Agnes Water is a small settlement to the south of Seventeen-Seventy, Queensland. Where 1770 is calm and protected, slow and tidal, Agnes Water feels exposed and wild. the golden beaches of Agnes Water are set amongst a dense green coastal forest. Agnes Water is also notable as Queensland’s northernmost surf beach.

Larger than 1770 in both geographical size and population, Agnes Water is home to a little over 2,000 residents. The town has more amenities and accommodation options, and there are enough things to do in Agnes Water to fill a week or more in this beach paradise.

Things to Do in 1770

1. Have a Barbecue in Endeavour Park

The view of the mangroves and tidal flats from Endeavour Park. Spending an Afternoon in Endeavour Park is among the best things to do in 1770
Spending an afternoon in Endeavour Park is among the best things to do in 1770

Maybe it’s the nostalgia but 1770’s Endeavour Park, set on the shores of Round Tree Creek, where the river meets the sea is one of the most relaxing places on earth.

This leafy green park has plenty of cool shady spots, barbecues, and gazebos to set up and while away the afternoon, waiting for the magnificent sunset over the shimmering waters of 1770.

As the tide flows in covering the long sand flat, tropical fish come to hide and feed among the mangroves that line the shore. The calm, shallow tidal flats create the perfect aquatic playground for kids to explore.

After lunch and a paddle, why not stretch your legs a bit and walk the two kilometers to the 1770 Headland to see the Bustard Bay and Wave lookouts.

The walk to Bustard Bay Lookout

2. Go Fish in 1770

Kelli reels in a monster

Fishing is one of the reasons many come to Agnes Water and 1770 and one of the bucket-list things to do in 1770 while you are here.

A variety of fishing adventures await you in this anglers paradise. From stalking the sand flats for flathead and whiting, exploring the estuarine creeks for mangrove jack, or rock fishing from the 1770 headland to target species like mackerel, queenfish, tuna, and trevally.

Drop into Agnes Water / 1770 Bait and Tackle for bait, tackle, and advice on fishing in the area.

If you are interested in exploring the creeks and inlets of 1770 yourself but don’t have your own boat, the 1770 Marina has tinnies available to hire (Australian boat license required).

Up the ante by heading out to sea to fish for reef and pelagic species. If you have your own boat, the boat ramp at 1770 is the gateway to the reef. If you don’t have your own boat, or just want to take the hard work out of fishing, you can organize a charter through Creek to Reef. Charters start from $275 per person.

Agnes Water / 1770 Bait and Tackle

1770 Marina

Creek to Reef Charters

3. Enjoy Fresh Seafood, Fish and Chips From the 1770 Rusty Pelican

If you didn’t hook anything on your fishing adventure head for the Rusty Pelican for dinner

The Town of Seventeen-Seventy is tiny, with the majority of the township being made up of holiday rental houses, a caravan park and a handful of cafes, restaurants and shops. And, of course a fish and chip shop.

The Rusty Pelican may be a humble fish and chip shop, but it is one of the crowning jewels in the local food scene. Sourcing local fish and seafood and preparing fresh it’s hard to go wrong here.

Alongside classic favorites, they also have some interesting looking seafood-based hot dogs on the menu. We took the traditional route with crumbed local whiting and chips. Take your bounty and a couple of cold drinks to enjoy at the 1770 Headland or to Endeavour Park and devour…

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4. Set Out for Lady Musgrave 1770

Photo Credit: Lawrence Wang

Lady Musgrave Island is a small, coral island in the outer barrier reef, sixty kilometers offshore from 1770. On this tiny island, surrounded by 3,000 acres of living reef, supporting an incredible array of sea life and marine animals, you can snorkel, dive, and fish here in the absolute paradise. The island is limited to just 200 people per day ensuring an intimate experience. Visiting this island is a truly unique and memorable experience and hands down one of the best things to do in 1770, Agnes Water, or anywhere else in the world.

From 1770 you can take a day trip with 1770 Reef Tours. The trip includes the three-hour return journey out to Lady Musgrave, a guided walk on the island, snorkeling, a glass-bottomed boat tour, and lunch. You can add additional activities like diving and fishing for an extra charge.

Beware, the journey out and back takes ninety minutes one way and can be rough enough to leave even the most intrepid seafarer a bit green around the gills. Don’t forget the motion of sickness tablets.

For a once in a lifetime experience, camping on Lady Musgrave Island is administered by the national parks service and limited to 40 campers. Wake up each day to a pure island paradise, far removed from civilization where you must be completely self-sufficient.

In this remote paradise, you can spend your days fishing, swimming, diving, boating, and relaxing. Fall asleep under a blanket of stars to the soft lapping of the Coral Sea, wake, rinse and repeat.

Camping permits are ridiculously cheap at $6.75 per night but they are highly sought after especially if you are planning to go on a weekend. Getting a camping permit is the first step in planning this unforgettable adventure.

After you have booked your camping you need to organize transportation. To get to the island you will need a boat that can make the sixty-kilometer journey to the outer reef. If you don’t have your own, you can hitch a ride with Great Barrier Reef Eco Tours who offer return tickets from around $450. Bear in mind this just covers transport for yourself and a limited amount of camping gear and supplies. Extras like dive, fishing, surf, or boating gear will cost extra.

1770 Reef Tours

Lady Musgrave Island Campground

Things to Do in Agnes Water

5. Stroll the Coastal Paperbark Forest Boardwalk

The The tall slender paper parks along this short trail are mesmerizing, don't miss this, one of the best things to do in 1770

Perhaps the quickest, but surely one of the best things to do in Agnes Water 1770 is to take a short, 400m stroll through the Coastal Paperbark Forest Boardwalk. Set amongst a small bush reserve, managed by Bush Heritage Australia conservation project, the trail takes you through an incredible living scene of paperbark trees. A series of paths wind through impossibly tall and slender trees reaching out of the marshlands. The paperbarks sway and creak in the breeze filtering the dappled sunlight onto the lush ferns of the forest floor. The short walk takes less than 10 minutes but provides great photos and some insight into the delicate ecosystems here.

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6. Sample a Fruit Liqueur at the 1770 Distillery

A quick visit to the distillery is one of the more accessible and low key things to do in Agnes Water.

Drop into the 1770 Distillery for a sample and a chat with the distiller John. John has been making fruit liqueurs here for over a decade after moving up from Tasmania to escape the cold. Happy to have a yarn about the history of his wares and his time here, it is a great opportunity to discover the local spirit of this beach community.

Take home a bottle of his fruit flavored liqueur or some plants from the onsite nursery.

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7. Surf at Agnes Water

Agnes Water Point

Agnes Water is home to Queensland’s most northerly surf beaches. So, if you are heading north like us, it is your last chance to get some of Australia’s favorite past time in.

The most well-known surf spot here is the famous Agnes Water Point on Agnes Water’s main beach. But there are several spots to the south that can also fire, such as Springs Beach (access with 4wd recommended).

Surfing conditions lend themselves to beginner and intermediate surfers and it’s a great place to learn on an uncrowded wave. If you don’t have your own board or are looking for some instruction Reef 2 Beach Surf Shop offers some of the cheapest and best surf lessons in town as well as affordable board hire.

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8. Camp in Deepwater National Park, Agnes Water

One of four national parks surrounding Agnes Water 1770, Deepwater National Park offers oceanside campsites enclosed by the thick coastal forest that covers this region. Just meters from the beach these basic campsites are perfect to escape into nature for a night or five. Fish, explore the tidal rock pools, and enjoy this wild beach almost entirely to yourself.

Campsites are accessible from the south with a conventional vehicle or from Agnes Water with high clearance 4WD vehicles, hiking or by trail bike. For more information and for bookings check out the Deepwater National Park website.

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9. Hop into Horizons Sanctuary

Seeing these rescued kangaroos has to be one of the best things to do in 1770
Seeing these rescued kangaroos has to be one of the best things to do in 1770

Horizons Kangaroo Sanctuary is a privately run wildlife refuge and campsite. One of the more unique things to do in Agnes Water 1770, you can camp at the refuge and spend the evening with the roos. The campground has toilets, hot showers, cooking facilities, and spectacular views over Agnes Water all the way to the sea.

Horizons has been nursing sick and injured kangaroos back to health for more than a decade. The roos clearly appreciate it as they remain here in a large mob, despite not being fenced in.

Camping at Horizons in your vehicle or with a tent costs $25 per tent or vehicle with proceeds going back into supporting the kangaroo rehabilitation program. It is also possibe to drop into to see the roos by appointment for a small fee which also goes back into the conservation efforts.

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10. Hike the Beaches of Agnes Water along the Red Rocks Trail

This three-kilometer trail takes you south along the wild, beautiful beaches and headlands of Agnes Water. Unspoiled sandy beaches, rocky headlands, and rockpools are the highlights of this naturally breathtaking beach trail.

The trail starts from Springs Beach. To reach the Springs Beach parking lot, turn onto the dirt road heading toward the beach opposite the Paperbark Forest Boardwalk. A 4WD is recommended for the one kilometer or so of unsealed dirt road, however. You can also park at the Paperbark Forest car park trail and walk the extra kilometer or so to Springs Beach if you are worried about breaking an axle.

From the car park take the boardwalk down to the beach. Springs Beach itself is beautiful and great for swimming and sometimes surfing. From here the trail heads south along the beaches and up onto rocky headlands for 3km, past Sunrise Beach, and ultimately to Red Rock Beach. Along the way keep your eyes peeled for turtles, dolphins and whales, which visit this special section of coastline at certain times of the year.

The whole walk can be done in under two to three hours, but if you plan to stop for photos, explore the rockpools, have some lunch and maybe a swim at Springs Beach, it’s an easy half-day activity.

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Where to Stay in 1770 and Agnes Water

Camping, Caravaning and Overlanding

Horizons Sanctuary

Horizons is a wildlife refuge for kangaroos. They have more than twenty powered and unpowered sites for tents and camper vans. The campsite has water, toilets, hot showers, a kitchen, a fireplace, and of course the mob of kangaroos that call this sanctuary home. Horizons is on top of a hill and offers beautiful views back over Agnes Water. Campsites cost $25 and all proceeds go back into looking after the roos. By appointment. Call 07 4974 7783 for booking and enquiries.

Deepwater National Park

Just meters from the beach these basic campsites are perfect to escape into nature for a night or five. Fish, explore the tidal rock pools and enjoy this wild beach almost entirely to yourself. Camping costs just $6.75 per person per night and can be booked through Queensland Parks Website.

Seventeen Seventy Accommodation

1770 Beach Shacks

1770 Beach Shacks offer rustic beach cottages, views over the coral sea and are situated just across the road from the beach. Shacks sleep between two and six people and include everything you need for a breezy coastal vacation here. Shacks start from $210 per night.

1770 Sovereign Lodge Retreat

This four-star resort is set upon a tropical hillside garden with views over the Coral Sea. Comfortable 1 and 2 bedroom apartments provide kitchenettes and space to relax after exploring the best things to do in 1770 and Agnes Water. Apartments at 1770 Sovereign Lodge Retreat start from $260 per night.

Agnes Water Accomodation

Cool Bananas Backpackers

If you’re travelling on a budget or just looking to meet other travelers during your stay, super friendly staff and a great atmosphere make Cool Bananas a great option. Dorm beds start from $25 per night.

1770 Lagoons Central Apartment Resort 

If you are looking for your own space, 1770 Lagoons Central Apartment Resort offers comfortable, well-appointed, and modern rooms in a convenient, central location. Studios start from $120 per night.

1770 Getaway

Beautiful luxury villas are hidden amongst lush tropical, a short walk from the beach or Agnes Water town center. 1770 Getaway villas start from $150 per night.

What do you think of our list of things to do in 1770 and Agnes Water? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!

Looking for more adventures on Queensland’s coast, check out Cape Hillsborough to the north or Rockhampton to the south!

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