The gently-rising hills of the Family Islands contrast with the jagged and lofty profile of Hinchinbrook Island, which dominates the southern horizon. Dunk Island, like the other Family Islands, is cloaked in a mosaic of dense rainforest in protected gullies and wet slopes. Eucalypt forest, with an understorey of palms, occurs on drier more exposed ridges.
The Family Islands lie within the traditional sea country of the Bandjin and Djiru Aboriginal peoples, who, for tens of thousands of years, have collected, gathered and hunted the rich marine and island resources for food and materials. Today they retain a strong connection to these islands. Lieutenant James Cook named Dunk Island in 1770 but it is best known from the writings of the 'beachcomber', E.J. Banfield. Living on Dunk Island from 1897 until 1923, Banfield wrote four books about the island's natural and cultural history.
Dunk Island offers a range of walking tracks which allow exploration of the island's famed natural history and rediscovery of its fascinating past. Take an easy stroll through the rainforest to a secluded beach or embark on a climb to the summit of Mount Kootaloo. (The distances and times below are calculated for walks beginning on Dunk Island Spit).
MUGGY MUGGY BEACH — 3 km return (70 mins)
From the spit, walk to the north-east end of the beach to the start of the walking tracks. This pleasant walk winds through rainforest, coastal woodland, and mangroves before arriving at Muggy Muggy Beach. At this picturesque sandy cove, sheltered behind a rainforest clad headland, enjoy a swim and snorkel before returning along the same track. Access to this walking track may be affected by tidal influences at certain times.
MOUNT KOOTALOO — 7 km return (3 hrs)
From the spit, walk to the north-east end of the beach to the start of the walking tracks. This more strenuous walk winds up a steep track to the 271 m summit. Cyclone-damaged rainforest on the lower slopes allows glimpses over the island and reefs as the track ascends. On the upper slopes, the forest opens out and eucalypts emerge through the canopy. Near the summit, a short branching track leads to a lookout, which offers spectacular views over the Family Islands and nearby mainland. Near the lookout, the remains of No. 27 Radar Station, built during World War II, are slowly being reclaimed by the rainforest. The track continues around the summit, rejoining the main track and returning to the beach. Access to this walking track may be affected by tidal influences at certain times.
ISLAND CIRCUIT - 9.2 kilometres (3 hrs)
From the spit, walk to the north-east end of the beach to the start of the walking tracks. Mt Kootaloo, you’ll pass through the magical Palm Valley and then onto Coconut Beach. Not for the faint hearted, this challenging walk will introduce you to Dunk Island’s lush green rainforest where you are likely to encounter the many different species of birdlife.
The islands support many species of birds, insects, reptiles and mammals. The brilliant blue Ulysses butterfly has become a symbol for Dunk Island. The fringing reefs surrounding each of the islands are home to a diversity of reef life. Extensive seagrass beds lie between the islands providing important feeding grounds for sea turtles and dugong.
Upon finishing your walks, you can unpack the picnic in the Day Use Area where you will find toilet and BBQ facilities and spend the rest of the day relaxing under the shade of the palm trees.
Access to Dunk Island via private boat, hire boat, Mission Beach Dunk Island Water Taxi or charter boat.
Please contact us for further information about this tour, we are happy to answer any questions you may have, or help you fit this tour into your North Queensland travel itinerary. To book this tour, send us your details through our bookings facility.