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About Broad Sound Islands

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Getting there and getting around

Access to Broad Sound Islands National Park is by boat only.

A high level of seagoing ability for extended periods is essential for travel in this area as these marine areas present significant navigational challenges. The nearest boat ramps are near the townships of Stanage Bay, Clairview and Carmila.

Park features

The Broad Sound and Shoalwater Bay marine areas are the largest shallow macro-tidal bays on Australia’s east coast. The islands further to the east are in clearer oceanic waters and are not far from the large patch reefs of the central Great Barrier Reef.

Broad Sound Islands National Park is the collective name given to 48 islands from Flock Pigeon Island near Clairview through to High Peak Island. High Peak Island is one of the furthest continental islands from any Queensland port.

Vegetation on the islands includes low, closed shrublands and woodlands, mixed vine forests, open heath and coastal headland grasslands. Salt flats, seagrass meadows and mangrove forests occur in intertidal areas. Fringing reefs are found around some of the eastern islands. The park supports a variety of land and sea birds, together with most of the nesting habitat for the Australian east coast flatback turtle population.

Camping and accommodation

Camping

Bush camping is available on 5 islands within the Broad Sounds Islands group: High Peak, Flock Pigeon, Aquila, Hexham and Shields islands. There is a limit of 6 campers per island. There are no facilities on these islands.

Seasonal closures may restrict entry to these islands to protect breeding turtles and shorebirds.

Camping permits are required and fees apply. A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your campsite.

Things to do

Boating and fishing

Boat ramps are located at the townships of Stanage Bay, Clairview and Carmila. Boat users need to be aware of the navigation challenges of this area and are advised to carry the navigation aid book ‘Cruising the Curtis Coast’ by Noel Patrick and the Official Tide Tables for Queensland. Vessel operators should be experienced and competent.

Please take care when boating.

  • Anchor with care and on sand when possible. If you cannot avoid coral, use reef picks and motor towards your anchor when hauling in.
  • Take care of wildlife. Turtles feed in the surrounding marine park waters and the islands have important turtle rookeries.

There are a range of fishing opportunities around the islands, including estuarine, reef and rock fishing. Make sure you understand zoning and fishing regulations before you go.

  • Know your marine park zones and always consult a zoning map before fishing or collecting. For detailed zoning maps and information see Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
  • Know your fishing regulations. Size and maximum bag limits apply to popular fish species. Queensland fisheries legislation applies in zones where fishing is permitted. See Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for more information.
  • Collecting any coral, living or dead, is not permitted anywhere. Limited collecting of shells (five of any unprotected species) is permitted in the blue and yellow zones only.

Viewing wildlife

Turtle watching

Wild Duck Island and Avoid Island support 2 of the 3 largest flatback turtle rookery habitats for the Australian east coast population. Flatback turtles are currently listed as a vulnerable species. Marine turtles take 30–50 years to prepare for their first breeding migration. From late October to February, females return to the general area of their birthplace to nest.

Flatback turtles lay about 50 eggs in each clutch. Each nesting season they lay several clutches at about two-week intervals. Depending on the species, turtles only nest every 2–7 years.

Eggs are incubated in the sand with hatchling sex determined by incubation time and sand temperature. Hatchlings emerge 7–12 weeks later, generally from December to late April.

Take care of sea turtles

In spring and summer, turtle mating and breeding activity may mean turtles are near shallow areas at high tide and are generally slow to react. Please slow down when operating vessels in shallow areas and take care not to come in contact with turtles.

Bright lights and noises can disturb nesting turtles and hatchlings. If disturbed, female turtles are likely to return to sea without laying their eggs. Please follow these simple guidelines to avoid disturbing them.

  • Ensure camp and boat lights are not visible from nesting areas. Cook early, shield camp lights and use small torches to find your way around.
  • If turtle watching, use small torches only (3 volts or less). Avoid using them whenever you can.
  • Never shine lights on turtles leaving the water, moving up the beach or digging nesting chambers.
  • Approach and observe the turtle from its rear. Use a dim torch only after egg-laying begins—usually 10 minutes after the turtle stops moving sand.

Read more about marine turtles.

Birdwatching

The islands of Broad Sound Islands National Park and the nearby Ramsar listed Shoalwater and Corio Bay are a bird enthusiasts paradise.

Many islands and their surrounding intertidal zones support vulnerable beach stone-curlews and near threatened sooty oystercatchers. There is a multitude of terrestrial and marine birdlife on the islands, including white-bellied sea-eagles and other raptors, orange-footed scrubfowl, pied imperial-pigeons and a myriad of shorebirds.

Dugong watching

A Dugong Protection Area exists between Camilla Creek and Clairview Bluff and includes the waters surrounding the western edge of Flock Pigeon Island. The dugong population is in decline and is at high risk of disappearing from the region.

Dugongs, also known as sea cows, can grow to about 3 metres in length and weigh up to 400 kilograms. Adult dugong feed predominantly on seagrass and can consume 30 kilograms per day. As they feed, whole plants are uprooted and a tell-tale feeding trail is left. Female dugongs take up to 17 years to mature and then only produce one young every 5 years if the conditions are suitable. Dugongs are listed as a vulnerable species under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.

There are a few simple things you can do to help dugongs.

  • When boating, especially in shallow waters, be on the lookout for dugongs to avoid injuring them and travel slowly in areas known to be dugong habitat.
  • Contact us to report marine animal standings.
  • Be careful not to damage or destroy seagrass through careless anchoring or bait collecting. Read more about seagrasses.

Things to know before you go

Essentials to bring

Many islands within Broad Sound Islands National Park are remote and rarely visited so you need to be self sufficient when you leave the mainland.

Make sure you have:

  • a first-aid kit
  • sufficient fuel
  • drinking water
  • a fuel stove and fuel. Fires and generators are not permitted
  • a sealable container for rubbish. Bins are not provided—please take your rubbish home with you
  • insect repellent
  • sunscreen
  • boating safety equipment—EPIRB, radio or satellite communications.

Opening hours

The park is open 24 hours a day, all year round.

Permits and fees

Camping permits

Camping permits are required and fees apply. A tag with your booking number must be displayed at your campsite.

Other permits

Commercial photography permits are required if you intend to sell any photographs taken of national park islands Organised event permits are required for organised group activities that may interfere with general public use. Commercial activity permits are required for any commercial activities. Contact us for further information.

Pets

Domestic animals are not permitted on any of the islands of Broad Sound Islands National Park, or on the beaches and other intertidal areas that surround the national park islands.

Climate and weather

The islands of Broad Sound Islands National Park are subject to tropical coastal weather conditions with daytime summer temperatures averaging 30 degrees Celcius and daytime winter averages 23 degrees Celcius. For further information see the tourism information links below.

Weather forecasts are available from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Fuel and supplies

You must be self sufficient for your stay. Limited services are available at Stanage Bay, Clairview and Carmila. For more information, see the tourism information links below.

Staying safe

The islands are isolated so you need to plan your camping and communication requirements carefully. In particular please remember:

  • Strong winds, rough seas and cyclones can isolate campers. Carry emergency food, water, a broadcast radio for weather forecasts, and medical supplies.
  • Boating can be extremely hazardous in Broad Sound Islands National Park. Ensure your safety equipment is checked and maintained. File a trip sheet with the Thirsty Sound Coast Guard.
  • Bring a two-way marine radio or mobile phone in case of an emergency. Some mobile phones have reception from hilltops—check coverage with your provider.
  • Be familiar with local procedures, navigation charts, radio frequencies and call signs.
  • Dangerous stinging jellyfish (‘stingers’) may be present in the waters surrounding these islands at any time but occur more frequently in the warmer months. A full body Lycra suit or equivalent provides a good measure of protection against stinging jellyfish and sunburn. See marine stingers for more information.
  • Look but don't touch! Some marine life can deliver painful and dangerous stings.
  • Be aware that estuarine crocodiles have occurred in Broad Sound and Shoalwater Bay. Remember, your safety is our concern but your responsibilty—always be croc wise. Swimming in these areas is not recommended.

In case of emergency

  • Emergency: 000
  • If you have difficulty connecting to 000 from your mobile try 112.
  • Channel 16 Marine VHF
  • Thirsty Sound Coast Guard maintains a limited listening watch and can be contacted on Marine VHF Channel 81—coverage may be limited in the outer areas of the park.

For more information, please read the guidelines on safety in parks and forests.

Looking after the park

Parks and forests protect Queensland's wonderful natural diversity and scenery. Help keep these places special by following these guidelines.

  • Take no pets. Leave domestic animals at home. Pets disturb native wildlife and other campers.
  • Avoid clearing plants and leaf litter when setting up camp. All vegetation—including grasses, vines, fallen timber and leaves—are part of the natural ecosystem. Remember, all plants are protected on national parks and collecting is not permitted.
  • Use a fuel stove. Open fires are prohibited.
  • Take rubbish with you. Bins are not provided. Please help by collecting rubbish left by others.
  • Bury human waste. If there is no toilet available, always bury human waste at least 15 centimetres deep and 100 metres from any watercourse.
  • Avoid introducing pests to the islands. Ensure your gear is clean and free of seeds, soil, ants, insects, rodents or cane toads.

See the guidelines on caring for parks for more information about protecting our environment and heritage in parks.

Park management

The Broad Sound Islands National Park, gazetted in May 2000, forms part of the last remaining undeveloped areas on the Central Queensland coast. The islands are managed primarily to conserve the area’s natural and cultural values.

The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) is responsible for managing the Broad Sound Islands National Park. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is jointly managed by QPWS and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

The Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park zoning plan has been introduced to manage the waters and coastline not covered under Commonwealth legislation. Where fishing is permitted, Queensland fisheries legislation applies.

Tourism information links

Capricorn Coast Information Centre
www.capricorncoast.com.au
Ross Creek Roundabout, 980 Scenic Highway, Yeppoon Qld 4703
ph (07) 4939 4888 or 1800 675 785
fax (07) 4939 1696
email

Capricorn Tourism Information Centre
www.capricorntourism.com.au
Tropic of Capricorn Spire, Gladstone Road, Rockhampton Qld 4700
ph (07) 4927 2055 or 1800 676 701
fax (07) 2922 2605
email

Further information

Contact us

Last updated
30 June 2011