Tropical Coast of Queensland

Town of 1770

For many years, this little corner of paradise has been Queensland's best kept secret. The people who live there, along with those who visit there religiously every holiday season, would love to keep it that way. The absence of floods of tourists has played a big part in giving this place and its neighbour, Agnes Water, the feel of a quiet forgotten backwater in an idyllic tropical setting.

Location: 1770 is 60 kms north of Bundaberg and 4 km from Agnes Water, which is to the south.

It was at Round Hill Head near the site of the town of 1770 on Wednesday 24th May 1770 that British explorer Lt. James Cook went ashore with a party of men in order to examine the country, accompanied by Joseph Banks and Dr. Solander. A cairn at the top of the hill marks the place where they stood and viewed the surrounding area. The view is much the same today as it was then.

The 1770 headland has the distinction of being one of the few places on the East Coast of Australia, or indeed, in the whole of Australia, where you can see the sun rise and set over water in the same location. These sunsets are a wondrous sight and it has become a ritual with many visitors to sit on the beach with a drink and spend a quiet hour watching the sun disappear over the hills.

Besides being sited in an absolutely fabulous location, tucked in behind Bustard Head alongside a huge saltwater lagoon, 1770 has access to just about every kind of outdoor activity a traveller comes to Queensland seeking to do. Here you can play golf, fish, swim, snorkel, beach comb, take a joyflight of the area; you can even go surfing.

The Saltwater Cafe was for many years the town centre's only store. Now the Tree Bar and Restaurant, is located on the beachfront, with a nice open eating area, amazing views of the water and surrounds along with friendly staff. With the acquisition of a full hotel licence and a state-of-the-art kitchen they are now providing patrons with the best wine and beer selection in the area as well as the most enjoyable dining experience. Using fresh local seafood and locally grown produce, their chefs have only the finest ingredients to work with.

Surrounding area

1770 is a departure point for reef cruises and fishing charters to the most southerly islands of the outer Great Barrier Reef. Day tours and wilderness camping transfers operate to nearby Lady Musgrave Island. Day tours also operate to Fitzroy Reef, Pancake Creek and the historic Bustard Heads lighthouse. For the camping enthusiast, four National Parks including Deepwater, Eurimbula, Mount Colosseum and Round Hill offer wilderness camping and hiking - all best accessed with a four wheel drive vehicle or guided tour. It is also from 1770 that pink Larc amphibious vehicles take tourists over part-water part-land for an adventure ride along the coastline of Eurimbula National Park.

Agnes Water

Just a short drive from 1770, Agnes Water is the most northerly surfing beach in Queensland. The beaches around here range from small secluded coves and inlets to the broad expanse of Bustard Bay and Agnes Beach itself, all with clean white sand interspersed by rocky headlands. Agnes Waterand 1770 are surrounded by National Parks and hinterland beauty, they enjoy unspoilt serenity, pristine coral reefs and magnificent panoramic views up and down kilometres of beautiful beach fronting onto the Coral Sea.

Eurimbula National Park

Deepwater National Park and Eurimbula National Park 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. To get to Eurimbula National Park from Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy, head towards the Bruce Highway and Miriam Vale. On the way, ook out for the Eurimbula National Park sign. Turn onto the unsealed road and travel 4km to the park entrance. If you plan on travelling along the park's many tracks, high clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles with low range capacity are recommended.

Larc Tours

The town of 1770 is home to a fleet of novel but very practical amphibious vehicles that are used to take guests on full day part-land, part-sea coastal adventures. The tour begins at 9am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays (more tours are scheduled during school holidays) from the Marina at 1770 where the bright pink ex-army Larc vehicles are boarded. The Larc then travels along the coastline of Eurimbula National Park, crossing four tidal creeks, before four wheel driving up the steep climb to the historic Bustard Head Lightstation. Well versed guides provide an informative commentary on the area's abundant wildlife and the history of Bustard Bay. The adventurous can participate in sand-boarding down the towering dunes of Middle Island. Ph (07) 4974 9422.

Lady Musgrave Island

A 14 hectares coral cay, and the second island in the Great Barrier Reef chain of islands (with the first being Lady Elliot Island). Lady Musgrave Island is the most intensively used of the camping islands within the Capricorn Bunker group, due to its protected anchorage within a semi-enclosed lagoon and a regular ferry service. Tour operators also offer fully guided tours of the reef and give you the opportunity to slip into the warm tropical waters - perfect any time of the year for diving, swimming and snorkelling.

Re-enactment of Cook's landing

Brief history

So how did 1770 get its odd sounding name? It was here that Lieut. James Cook made his first landing on Queensland soil during his epic voyage of discovery up the east coast of Australia in 1770.

This tiny picturesque township, nestled on the western side of a peninsula over looking one of the most magnificent views of Bustard Bay and Round Hill Creek, began to take shape around the turn of the 20th century as a collection of fishing shacks. In 1936, the village adopted its unusual name, the year in which the first recorded Europeans set foot on the eastern shores of Queensland. By 1973, the first shop opened and it slowly developed from that to what it is today.

Round Hill Head

But 1770's story really began many years before the town was named, when, on Wednesday 24th May 1770, British explorer Lt. James Cook went ashore near Round Hill Head with a party of men in order to examine the country, accompanied by Joseph Banks and Dr. Solander. Cook's ship, the barque HMS Endeavour, anchored about 3 km off shore.

This was Cook's second landing in Australia and his first in Queensland, hence the Town of 1770 being referred to as the birthplace of Queensland. Cook and his party landed within the south point of the bay where they found a channel leading into a large lagoon. "In this place there is a room for a few ships to lie in great security, and a small stream of fresh water," Cook wrote. Many large birds were seen, namely pelicans.

Upon the shore they saw a species of bustard, one of which was shot. Somewhat like a large turkey, it was 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 natives 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. At 4.30am on Thursday 25th May 1770, Cook sailed out of the bay.

In 1802 Matthew Flinders sailed into Bustard Bay in HMS Investigator on 2nd August, following Cook's charts and charting the name Round Hill. In 1868, the Bustard Head lighthouse was commissioned, with Thomas Rooksby the first light keeper.