Family Islands Group

  The Family Islands are situated off the coast of Mission Beach just north of Cardwell and are accessible with any of our full cruising area vessels. Dunk Island, 4.5km east of Mission Beach, is the largest and most northerly of the group. Most of the island is protected as national park threaded with a network of walking tracks. The Dunk Island Resort, farm and artists' residence, occupying the remainder of the island, are also accessible to day visitors for a small fee.

Wheeler, Coombe, Smith, Bowden, Hudson and Purtaboi Islands are also in Family Islands National Park. These islands are also accessible for swimming, sunbaking, fishing, snorkelling and photography.

  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 bountiful marine and island resources for food and materials. Today they retain a strong connection to these islands. Lt James Cook named Dunk Island in 1770 but it is best known from the writings of the "Beachcomber", E.J. Banfield, who lived on Dunk Island from 1897 until 1923, and wrote four books about the island's natural and cultural history.

Most of the Family Islands are cloaked in a mosaic of dense rainforest in protected gullies and wet slopes, and eucalypt forest with an understorey of palms and looping lianas on drier more exposed ridges.

  The islands support many species of birds, insects, reptiles and mammals. Over time, 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 and are important feeding grounds for sea turtles and dugong.

  Camping is permitted on Wheeler, Coombe and Dunk Islands. Camping permits must be booked and purchased in advance, especially during school holidays. On Wheeler and Coombe Islands, you must be self-sufficient during your stay.