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Not many people have heard of Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy, or Town of 1770 as it’s often referred to.
And it’s no surprise, Agnes Water has less than 3,000 residents, and Town of 1770, has less than 100. They are both extremely remote and wild.
But that’s exactly why you should visit. It’s the perfect combination of north and south.
The tropical North Queensland climate boasts warm winters and hot summers, but with a rain level more on par with the south.
It has stunning beaches, nearby islands, and reefs like Far North Queensland without the crowds of the Great Barrier Reef.
If you’re thinking if visiting Agnes Water and Town of 1770, but need a little more convincing, here are all the reasons why you should visit these two places.
Where are Agnes Water and Town of 1770?
The Town of 1770 and Agnes Water are a little diversion from the main highway between Brisbane and Cairns, so it doesn’t see the high volume of traffic and tourists.
Agnes Water is approximately 477.3 kilometers from Brisbane, which takes about 5.5 hours to drive. Town of 1770 is another 6 kilometers north of Agnes Water.
From the Sunshine Coast, it’s a 4.5 hours drive.
They are located in the Gladstone region of Queensland. You will find cheap flights to Bundaberg airport in the south, and from here it’s a 1.5 hour drive.
The Town of 1770 is sleepy and quiet and undeveloped. Only a few houses sit on the side of the hills with magnificent views of Round Hill Creek and the well-known stunning sunsets.
It’s one of only three places on Australia’s east coast where you can see the sunset over the water.
The Town of 1770 is also a protected area so all future building has ceased.
It’s almost in the pristine condition it was in 1770 when Captain Cook first sailed past Round Hill Headland to rest his ship the Endeavour.
What’s the difference between the Town of 1770 and Agnes Water?
I’m glad we weren’t the only ones confused!
Agnes Water is about 6 km south of the Town of 1770. Agnes Water is the ocean town where you’ll find the surf and a fantastic beach. It also has most of the cafes and shops and room for development.
The Town of 1770 is on the Round Hill Creek and is much quieter and smaller. This is where you jump on your cruises and do your water tours and activities.
Town of 1770
They each have their unique points, but I think we slightly preferred to stay in Agnes Waters near the beach and drive into the Town of 1770.
Who Found the Town of 1770?
The discovery of Australia by Cook is obviously one I know well. But, it’s a hard one to connect to as the shores of Botany Bay are now covered with high rises, large highways, and planes flying overhead.
The same with Sydney Harbour. I try to imagine what it must have looked like when the First Fleet arrived to start the penal colony in 1788. It’s a murky visualization as there is far too much concrete now covering the view.
Except when you get to the Town of 1770 and Agnes Water and you explore the nearby beaches and creeks and headlands that Cook and his crew sailed past. Its natural beauty has been unchanged for thousands of years.
I could imagine the wonder they felt meeting furry animals hopping along the beach guided by their tails, stingrays gliding along the sandy floor of the river, and dolphins guiding the nose of the Endeavour into a safe anchorage.
I could imagine Joseph Banks’ confusion and awe as he came across hundreds of species of plants he’d never seen before: pandanus palms, banksias, Eucalypts, hibiscus flowers, and small forested valleys filled with beautiful blue butterflies.
This is the Town of 1770 and Agnes Water.
Town of 1770 was the second place that Cook found when he first landed in Australia, and the first in Queensland. For that reason, it’s considered the first settlement in Queensland.
The longer I stayed the longer I wanted to stay. There’s a beauty and rawness here that gets under your skin.
It has everything a traveler will need, yet not many venture here. But that’s what makes it so special.
Reasons to Visit Town of 1770 and Agnes Water
Now we don’t want to send you there in droves, but we can’t keep this a secret from you. We think you should definitely be pinning it to your Australian Bucket List.
We first heard of it years ago from friends who visited and stayed awhile and they say it’s their favorite place in Australia.
Then after that, we heard about it several times from more travellers who stumbled upon it and were amazed at how beautiful and magnetic it was.
Now it’s your turn to see why you should visit Town of 1770 and Agnes Water.
1. For Kayaking with Liquid Adventures
1770 Liquid Adventures is owned by a German and Aussie couple, Janina and Simon, who are adventure travelers who met diving in the Caribbean.
They totally understood our vibe and what travelers are really looking for in an experience, especially with kids. We chose the best day to kayak on Round Hill Creek – barely a ripple, crystal clear and the sun was shining down.
We joined Janina for a guided family kayaking adventure paddling up the creek to Butterfly Beach where we stopped for morning tea, a play with the butterflies, and good old bubble-busting fun on the beach.
I loved how Janina catered for the kids with games and with an awesome animal spotting chart tied to the kayak.
Kalyra loved identifying the birds we met along the way like the Oyster Catcher and black headed tern.
Both the girls loved paddling and were disappointed when the tour ended.
We’re really keen to return one day to experience their sunset tour – a paddle up the creek followed by a glass of wine on the beach with a magnificent sunset.
The time of the day when you’re most likely to kayak alongside dolphins. Magic!
credit: Liquid Adventures
2. To Take The Town of 1770 LARC Tour
Easily a highlight of this area was our LARC Paradise Tour. We saw and experienced so many amazing things to do in Town of 1770, both on the water and on land.
If you only have a short time to explore Town of 1770, then a full-day tour on a LARC is a great way to see all the highlights in one visit.
You’ll leave from Bustard Bay and pass the historic Bustard Heads lighthouse, go sandboarding on Middle Island, and drive through four National Parks (Deepwater, Eurimbula, Mount Colosseum, and Round Hill).
All onboard an amphibious vessel.
It was a lot of fun and Kalyra now has a new hobby – sand boarding!
This tour is noted down as one of my favorites of our Australia road trip so far.
3. For a Cruise to Lady Musgrave Island
It was a rough 75-minute boat ride out there and back, but Lady Musgrave Island was worth it.
The Town of 1770 is on the doorstep of the Southern Great Barrier Reef, and Lady Musgrave Island is your own piece of paradise that connects to the coral sea.
We moored up at the floating pontoon and enjoyed a glass bottom boat tour and snorkeling in the protected Lagoon. We went ashore for a guided island walk and never wanted to leave!
4. For the Sunset in the Town of 1770
Come early with your chair, a drink, and some cheese and dips, and join the crowds. Sunset in the Town of 1770 is the place to be. It’s truly spectacular, so serene, and really not too crowded.
5. Or Sunset at Agnes Water
If you want something a little different, Agnes Water has a beautiful sunset from the beach. You won’t get it setting over the water, but dropping behind the small hill is equally as beautiful and the colours in the sky light up Agnes’ prettiness.
6. To learn how to Surf at Agnes Water Main Beach
Surfing lessons in Agnes Waters are some of the cheapest you’ll find in the country.
The waves on Agnes Water Beach look pretty good to learn on. They were clean and small when we were there and there were a few beginner surfers nailing the standing-up technique.
In Agnes Water, you’ll find the most northern surf beach on the East Coast of Australia, which is also where the annual Reef 2 Beach 1770 Longboard Surfing event takes place each March.
The beaches here are also safe for swimming as it’s a patrolled beach and has lifeguards during peak seasons.
We didn’t have the chance to take up a lesson here, but we heard they’re cheap and a lot of fun.
7. To do the Easy Paperbark Forest Walk
We were alerted to this by a fan on our Facebook Page. It’s only newly opened about 3 kms south of Agnes opposite Springs Beach.
The Paperbark Forest Boardwalk Trail is a short 10 minute (400m) out and back hike from Agnes Water. The trail takes you through some of the most wonderful nature in Reedy Creek Reserve.
The girls loved pretending they were witches riding on their broomsticks down the wooden boardwalk and hopping along the stepping pylons above the swamp. It was quite mystical and magical.
The reserve is home to a well-preserved coastal melaleica forest and is full of paperbark trees. The forest is so green and wild, it feels like you’ve stepped into a jungle.
The forest is another hot spot for migrating butterflies and is also home to many species of native Australian frogs.
The trail is really easy and suitable for young children, but not for those with mobility issues since you have a few water crossings and obstacles to step over.
8. For the 1770 to Round Hill Head Walk
There’s a beautiful 2km walk from the 1770 campground along the headland through the forest to the Round Hill Head.
The views along the way across Eurimbula National Park to Bustard Headway lookout are pretty special too.
But there’s one section of the forest that’s filled with beautiful blue tiger butterflies (just above Butterfly Beach).
If you want to see these butterflies properly, then take the Butterfly Walk. Every year, between March and May, thousands of these butterflies are migrating through Agnes Water and the Town of 1770.
The Butterfly Walking Trail is located near The Captain Cook Monument and is where you are more likely to see them, since the walk is exposed to the sunlight (butterflies love sunlight).
09. For Pancake Creek
Another beautiful spot in Agnes Water is Pancake Creek, which is inaccessible by land and so you must take a tour to reach it.
However, it’s undeniably worth it.
This untouched paradise is where tropical bushland meets the coast. You can spot turtles and dugongs feasting on the seagrass and swim and relax at ‘Secret Beach.’
If you’re looking for your own slice of paradise, this is it.
10. For Whale and Dolphin Season
Australia’s east coast is a hot spot for whales and dolphins during their migration season (July through to November).
Many people flock to Hervey Bay to see them, since this is where they are most active, but you can actually see them in the waters from Agnes Water too.
A great place to see them is along the Discovery Trail which takes you to several lookout points. It’s a lovely walk and only takes around 30 minutes, though of course, if you do see whales you’ll likely want to stop and stay for a while.
The trailhead for the Discovery Trail is behind the Museum on Springs Road in Agnes Water. It’s a loop trail, so you will finish here too.
Places to Eat in Agnes Water and the Town of 1770
Another top reason to visit Town of 1770 and Agnes Water is for the food. Being on the coast, you can bet it has the freshest seafood and laid back vibes. Here are some of our favourite places to eat and drink…
The Tree Restaurant, Town of 1770
The Tree Restaurant is a little on the expensive side, but the food is good and the views are amazing. Catch the sunset first and have a drink in the Tree Bar before moving into the restaurant.
Getaway Garden Cafe
The Getaway Garden Cafe is in a beautiful little spot tucked away behind the town of Agnes.
There’s a large grassed area that is perfect for the kids to play while you sit back and enjoy a delicious rosella tea and peach tart. Yum!
Where to Stay in Agnes Water
If you’re thinking you’ve been convinced and are ready to make the trip to Agnes Water and Town of 1770, then you might be wondering where to stay.
We stayed at the NRMA Agnes Water Holiday Park, formerly known as Agnes Water Beach Caravan Park, in a Treetops Chalet. They were really cute and if you can get one right on the beach you will be in for a good stay.
They are a little small though, so if you have a large family or need a lot of space, you might want to look at a cabin or campsite. We had to keep most of our luggage in our car.
We preferred the location of this site to the campground at 1770, which is more basic and quite popular for being right on the bay and front row seats for the sunset.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Agnes Water and Town of 1770
So there you have it, those are all the reasons to visit Town of 1770 and Agnes Water, and I think you’ll agree, that even though they are remote, the wilderness is calling.
Both towns have something special and unique about them. Whether you’re looking for historic landmarks, adventurous activities, or a lazy day by the beach, you can find all this and more here.
We hope this guide helped convince you to visit these hidden gems in Queensland and helped you map out your itinerary.
Have you been to the Town of 1770 and Agnes Water? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!