Small but increasingly popular holiday destination.
Agnes Water is the most northern surfing beach in Queensland. It is located 495 km north of Brisbane, between Gladstone in the north and Bundaberg which is 127 km to the south-east. Access is via Miriam Vale which lies on the Bruce Highway, 57 km to the west-south-west of Agnes Water. The road is sealed from Bundaberg and there is only 2.2km of dirt road from Gladstone/Miriam Vale. Deepwater and Eurimbula National Parks are nearby while Seventeen Seventy and Round Hill Head are 6 km to the north.
On Wednesday 24 May 1770, Lieutenant James Cook anchored the Endeavour about 3 km off the coast. The ship was 32 metres by 9 metres and weighed 374 tonnes. Provisions included 81 tonnes of water, 9.64 tonnes of bread in bags, 5460 litres of beer in puncheons, 4000 pieces of beef and 1.13 tonnes of raisins.
Cook went ashore near Round Hill Head with botanist Joseph Banks and his assistant Daniel Solander. It was only the second time during the voyage that he had set foot on Australian soil and his first venture on dry land at what is now called Queensland. The party landed within the south point of the bay where they found a channel leading into a large lagoon. Cook wrote: 'In this place there is room for a few ships to lie in great security, and a small stream of fresh water'. They noted many pelicans and, upon the shore, a species of bustard, one of which was shot. They considered it the best bird they had eaten since leaving England, and in honour of it they called the inlet Bustard Bay.
Cook's party did not see any Aborigines during their shore visit, but they did find campsites, fires and artefacts. From the ship, however, members of the Endeavour's crew observed about 20 members of the Meerooni tribe on the beach. The Endeavour set sail at 4.30 the following morning.
There is some conjecture about the origin of the name 'Agnes Water'. Some believe the area was named after the schooner 'Agnes' which disappeared from nearby Pancake Creek in 1873. Others believe that the area was named after Agnes Clowes, the daughter of the first European settlers, Daniel and Rachel Clowes.
The Discovery Centre, located in Endeavour Plaza, in the heart of Agnes Water, is a privately-owned local visitor information bureau and can assist with accommodation, tour bookings and other local information, tel: (07) 4974 7002.
A number of activities are available including tours and cruises of the area (there are, for example, day trips to Lady Musgrave Island), scuba diving, estuary and deep sea fishing charters, bicycle, canoe and 4WD hire for those wishing to explore Deepwater National Park. Many cruises, tours and hire services are located at Seventeen Seventy, which is 6 km further north.
Be sure to pick up a copy of 'The Ultimate Survival Guide to Agnes Water & Town of 1770' from The Discovery Centre. It's a comprehensive guide on what to do, where to stay, where to eat, the best fishing spots, etc, and it also has excellent maps of the towns, beaches, coastal areas and of Round Hill Creek.
Agnes Water Beach
Agnes Water beach is Queensland's most northerly surf beach. It is accessed via Tom Jeffery Memorial Park off Agnes Street or at the surf club off Beach Road.
The Historical Museum is located in Springs Road at Agnes Water. It is open from 10.00 a.m. to noon on weekends and public holidays and Wednesdays from 1.00 p.m. to 3.00 p.m. For more information check out: http://www.agneswater.net/Museum/Mvshs.html
Visit the grave site of Agnes Water's first settlers, Daniel & Rachel Clowes, located in Tom Jeffery Memorial Park under the shade of the Moreton Bay fig tree. The Clowes settled in the Agnes Water area in 1878 to run cattle throughout the vast unoccupied coastal country.
Nearby are both Deepwater National Park and Eurimbula National Park which are characterised by rainforests, native shrubs, open heathland, swamplands, coastal vegetation, waterholes, plenty of native animals and birdlife including emus. There are some lovely secluded beaches which afford excellent opportunities for swimming and both beach and rock-fishing.
You can obtain a camping permit, pay your fees and gain further information from the Seventeen Seventy National Parks office, tel: (07) 4974 9350. If you arrive at a park without a permit obtain one from the self-registration stand, complete it and place it in the self-registration box with money enclosed before setting up camp. No domestic animals, no generators and no open fires are permitted in the parks. Please use a gas or fuel stove for cooking.
Eurimbula National Park
From Agnes Water head out of town along Round Hill Road for approximately 10 km then turn right at the Eurimbula National Park sign. A 15-km bush track leads to Bustard Beach camping area at the mouth of Eurimbula Creek. The road is sandy and soft in places but accessible to conventional vehicles with high clearance during dry weather.
Toilets, bore water and rainwater are provided at Bustard Beach camping area. Eurimbula Creek is popular for small boats, although care must be taken as the creek has a flat sandy bottom with a broadly meandering channel not navigable at low tide. Visitors are reminded that mud crabbing is prohibited in Eurimbula Creek. Visitors should note that sand flies can be a problem in this area, particularly during still conditions.
About 6 km from Round Hill Road (9 km before you reach Bustard Bay camping area) is the turnoff to Middle Creek. This track is approximately 13 km in length but takes at least 45 minutes in the best of conditions. It is strictly 4WD only, but well worth the trip, especially for fishermen. During the wet season this track can be impassable, and is sometimes closed.
About 7 km from Round Hill Road is the start of a moderately steep 800-m walk to Ganoonga Noonga Lookout which affords sweeping views of Bustard Bay, Seventeen Seventy and the local swamps and heathland. For more information check out: http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/parks/eurimbula-joseph-banks/index.html
Deepwater National Park
4WD is the only way of accessing Deepwater National Park from Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy and these vehicles can be hired in Seventeen Seventy.
From Agnes Water head south along Springs Road turning left on to Rocky Point Road (gravel). The turnoff to Deepwater National Park is about 1 km along, on the right. From here you must engage the 4WD and proceed 2.6 km to the park entrance. You will notice a number of tracks leading off to the left, some of which access beach areas and are worth exploring.
Before negotiating the steep drive down to these areas, it is recommended that you walk the track first. Listen for other 4WDs using the track before proceeding. A day use area is provided at Flat Rock which is a great place for families at around low tide, with a shallow swimming lagoon naturally formed by the long flat rock shelf.
At Middle Rock, basic camping without facilities is permissible. There are defined campsites, picnic tables, a cold shower, self-composting toilets, rainwater and bore water at Wreck Rock. This area is extremely popular during the holiday season and sites can be booked up to three months in advance. Wreck Rock camping area is also accessible from the south by conventional vehicle via Wartburg. The trip from Rocky Point Road to Wreck Rock is approximately 9.5 km and takes around 20 minutes. For more information check out: http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/parks/deepwater/about.html
There are great tracks to explore right along the beach from Agnes Water Surf Beach south past many secluded coves to Wreck Rock and Deepwater National Park. Don't forget to carry plenty of water with you.
The major town in the area is Miriam Vale, located on the Bruce Highway, west of Agnes Water. At 53 m above sea-level it is a small settlement servicing the surrounding dairying industry and providing services for travellers between Gladstone and Bundaberg.
Mt Colosseum National Park
South of Miriam Vale is Mount Colosseum National Park, a scenic reserve of dry hoop pine rainforest offering bush camping and excellent views of the area and the Great Barrier Reef from the mountain summit, although hikers must first contact the local ranger (tel: 07 4974 9350). 4WD is recommended for access. For more information check out: http://www.derm.qld.gov.au/parks/mount-colosseum/index.html