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Agincourt Reef

Port Douglas, Douglas Area

Free Entry 

Agincourt Reef, off Port Douglas on the Great Barrier Reef, is a series of many smaller reefs with at least 16 different dive sites. The Channels offer interesting swim-throughs and caves, while The Gardens are renowned for their exceptional abundance of brightly coloured reef fish. Blue Wonder is a breath-taking wall dive to beyond 40 metres while Nursery Bommie is a spectacular pinnacle where pelagic fish gather to feed.

Great Barrier Reef
Port Douglas, Douglas Area
Queensland
Australia

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Hope Islands National Park

Cooktown, Cook Area
Free Entry
This island national park includes East and West Hope islands as well as Struck Island and Snapper Island. East and West Hope islands are low-lying cays. West Hope Island is a shingle cay formed from piles of loose shingle (coral debris) on which only the most hardy plants such as mangroves survive. East Hope is a typical sand cay, forested with tall coastal trees such as beach almonds. These islands are among the most important bird-nesting sites in the northern Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Thousands of pied imperial-pigeons visit the islands to breed each summer. A delight for birdwatchers and fishers, these tropical islands provide a haven for nature lovers. Relax and enjoy the natural beauty. Bush camp at one of four camp sites on East Hope Island. Watch the birdlife along the shore. Listen to the calls of the pied-imperial pigeons in the trees during summer months. Go snorkelling or diving to discover amazing reef life. Make use of public moorings and throw in a fishing line.

Mount Cook National Park

Cooktown, Cook Area
Free Entry
This park features the rugged Mount Cook, which provides a scenic backdrop to the town of Cooktown. Rainforest and tropical woodlands with a heath understorey cover the upper slopes and sheltered gullies. Mount Cook was named after Lieutenant James Cook, navigator and explorer, who had repaired the Endeavour in 1770 where Cooktown now stands, after damaging it on the reefs off Cape Tribulation. Take the steep two kilometre walk to the lookout for scenic views over the Great Barrier Reef and coastline. Climb one kilometre further to Mount Cook's summit. See large granite boulders covered with ferns. Look for tree snakes and lace monitors. Take binoculars for birdwatching.

Mount Whitfield Conservation Park

Cairns, Cairns Area
Free Entry
The rainforest-clad slopes of the Whitfield Range form a dramatic backdrop to Cairns, offering bushwalking opportunities close to the city. Walking tracks through Mount Whitfield Conservation Park climb through shady rainforest gullies and dry open forest and grasslands with cycads to the top of Mount Lumley Hill. Enjoy the short but steep 1.5 kilometre Red Arrow circuit walk through rainforest up to a lookout with views scenic views over the Cairns coastline. Add the more demanding Blue Arrow circuit for a 6.6 kilometre (four to five hour) walk, with an optional 400 metre sidetrack to a lookout at Mount Lumley Hill (325 metres), offering expansive views to the Cairns hinterland and out to Green Island. Picnic at the lookout between your circuit walks. Look for mound-building brush-turkeys, orange-footed scrubfowl and graceful honeyeaters .
Free Entry
In this park, an imposing mountain range of massive granite boulders is home to unique wildlife and rich in Aboriginal culture. Located near Cooktown at the northern end of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, Black Mountain is imposing mountain range of black granite boulders, some the size of houses, stacked seemingly precariously on one another. The wet tropics and drier savanna woodland regions meet in this park, and an unusual range of wildlife finds refuge here, including species that are found nowhere else. Known as Kalkajaka (meaning 'place of spear'), Black Mountain is an important meeting place for the Eastern Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people and is the source of many Dreaming stories. Stop at the Black Mountain lookout on the Mulligan Highway on the eastern side of the crest of the Black Mountain boulder field. Signs at the lookout tell of the geology, natural environment, culture and history of the area. There is no other access to the park. Do not risk injury by venturing onto the boulder field. People have been injured and have died trying to climb Black Mountain.
Free Entry
Michaelmas Cay, part of Michaelmas and Upolo Cays National Park, is one of the most important seabird breeding sites in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Michaelmas Cay is a small, low sand cay, covered by grasses and low-growing plants. Upolu Cay is a low, unvegetated sand cay. From the fenced beach access area on Michaelmas Cay, watch seabirds nesting and tending their young without disturbing them. Marvel at the sight of up to 30,000 seabirds occupying the cay at peak nesting periods during summer. Look for sooty terns, common noddies and crested terns. Admire huge flocks of seabirds filling the sky. Go snorkelling to explore the diverse surrounding reefs. Public moorings are provided for private boats.

Snapper Island, Hope Islands National Park

Port Douglas, Douglas Area
Free Entry
This high continental island, close to Port Douglas, boasts lush vine forests, dense eucalypt forest, mangroves and white sandy beaches. The islands and surrounding waters and fringing reefs are within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Snapper Island is within easy reach of the coast by kayak or small boat, and is popular for camping, birdwatching and small boat fishing. Join a guided kayaking trip with a commercial tour operator to paddle around the island and land on seemingly-remote beaches. Explore the short walking track to a rocky ridge to the northern side of the island. Spend the night bush camping and have the island all to yourself. Drop in a line and try your luck fishing for mackerel and other reef fish in this popular angling spot for small boats.

Flinders Group National Park

Cooktown, Cook Area
Free Entry
Seven remote and ruggedly attractive islands, with a rich cultural landscape, form Flinders Group National Park. The islands contain important Aboriginal story and burial sites, along with nationally significant rock art showing early contact with Europeans. The islands lie adjacent to Cape Melville and are within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Visit the islands on a commercial cruise vessel or in your private boat. Walk the 2.8 kilometre interpretive trail to learn about the Yiithuwarra 'saltwater people'. Contemplate their rock art in the Ship and Yindayin rock shelters on Stanley Island (Yindayin). Bush camp on Flinders Island (Wurriima). Watch seabirds and look for turtles and dugong. Enjoy the remoteness of this unique park.

Mount Lewis National Park

Julatten, Mareeba Area
Free Entry
Mount Lewis, one high rainforest-clad mountains of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, is a treasure trove of unique and endemic wildlife. The area between the Mount Lewis and Atherton Tableland is especially diverse. The beautiful upland rainforest dates back to the evolution of flowering plants on earth. Some flowers are indicative of Australia's link with the ancient landmass of Gondwana. Drive a four-wheel-drive or ride a mountain bike on the 56 kilometre (return) Mount Lewis Road. Starting at the entrance to the park, the rainforest drive climbs to over 1200 metres before following the contours around the chain of peaks that form the watershed of the Mossman and Mitchell rivers. Picnic at one of the creek crossings. Look for the Mount Lewis spiny crayfish in the creeks and blue-faced parrot-finches in grassy clearings and glades. Spot red-bellied black snakes basking on the road and huge blue earthworms coming to the ground's surface during wet weather.

Fitzroy Island National Park

Fitzroy Island, Cairns Area
Free Entry
This island national park, located close to the mainland, is rugged with diverse landscapes featuring granite outcrops, open woodlands, rainforest, mangroves and coral beaches. The island and its surrounding waters form part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Fitzroy Island, named by Lieutenant James Cook, has an interesting history as a quarantine station for the Palmer River Goldfields in the late 1800s, and later as part of an Aboriginal mission growing fruit and vegetables. Explore the rainforested Secret Garden track (one kilometre return) or walk to Nudey Beach (1.2 kilometres return) to relax in the shade, swim and snorkel. Tackle the 3.6 kilometre return Lighthouse track to the lighthouse, which offers spectacular views of the ocean and, in winter, migrating humpback whales. Look for birds such as rose-crowned fruit-doves and metallic starlings and large goannas. Challenge yourself on the 3.6 kilometre return boulder-strewn Summit track which climbs through woodland to the island's summit (269 metres) where slabs of granite and windswept casuarina trees frame magnificent views over the island, surrounding reefs and mainland.

Cape Tribulation, Daintree National Park

Cape Tribulation, Douglas Area
Free Entry
In this section of the Daintree National Park, steep rainforested mountains sweep down to long sandy beaches and turquoise coastal waters. One of the most biologically diverse areas in the world, this park is part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and the coastal waters are within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. At Cape Tribulation, rainforest meets reef, and two world heritage areas collide, in spectacular style! This section of the park stretches in a narrow strip from the Daintree River in the south to the Bloomfield River in the north and the dense upland rainforest that cloaks the coastal range contains many ancient plants and animals. Camp at Noah Beach camping area and explore the park on walks ranging from the 650 metre return Jindalba boardwalk through tropical lowland rainforest, to the 1.2 kilometre return Marrja boardwalk through rainforest and mangroves. Experienced and well-prepared bushwalkers can tackle the 7 kilometre return Mount Sorrow ridge trail. Keep an eye out for cassowaries and drive slowly through cassowary territory. Remember to be croc wise around creeks and beaches.
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