Agnes Water is 521 km north of Brisbane and 122 km north of Bundaberg.
Its almost 5 hours from the Sunshine Coast by car dependant on traffic and the way you go. Of course you can duck on and off the main highway if there are other places you want to go on the way.
We were in no mad rush on our journey. We knew we had plenty of time but left early anyway.
Origin of Name
There are two theories about how the name Agnes water came about. Some say that the town was named after the schooner Agnes which disappeared from nearby Pancake Creek in 1873. Others believe it was named after Agnes Clowes, daughter of the first European settlers, Daniel and Rachel Clowes.
* Prior to the arrival of Europeans the area was home to people from the Meerooni Aboriginal group who were part of the Gooreng Gooreng language group.
* On Wednesday 24 May 1770, Lieutenant James Cook anchored the Endeavour about 3 km off the coast.
* Cook went ashore near Round Hill Head with his botanist Joseph Banks and his assistant Daniel Solander. It was only the second time during the voyage that he had set foot on Australian soil. The party landed at the south point of the bay where they found a channel leading into a large lagoon.
Cook wrote in his diary “In this place there is room for a few ships to lie in great security, and a small stream of fresh water”. They noted many pelicans and, upon the shore, a species of bustard, one of which was shot. They considered it 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 Aborigines during their shore visit, but they did find campsites, fires and artefacts.
* By the 1890s timber cutters had moved into the hinterland and there was a sawmill operating.
* By the end of the 19th century the area was popular with holidaymakers.
* The Town of 1770 was officially named in 1936.
* The road from Agnes Water to 1770 was not sealed until the 1990s.
Things to See and Do
Agnes Water beach is Queensland’s most northerly surf beach. It is accessed through the Tom Jeffery Memorial Park off Agnes Street or at the surf club off Beach Road. It can only be described as a beautiful beach which faces east-north-east and is a single 5.5 km arc. It runs from Round Hill at 1770 to Agnes Water.
Most of the beach is framed by a low sand dune and natural vegetation. Typically the beach has waves averaging about one metre.
The grave site of Agnes Water’s first settlers, Daniel & Rachel Clowes, are located in Tom Jeffery Memorial Park which is encircled by a car park. Mercifully the graves are in the shade of a Moreton Bay fig tree. The Clowes are formally recognised as the first permanent European settlers in the area. They arrived in the Agnes Water area in 1878 to run cattle.
The Discovery Trail is located next to the Visitor Information Centre on Springs Road. The Discovery Trail leaves the car park and heads towards the coast where the lookout offers fine views over Agnes Water Beach. It is a pleasant 45 minute round walk.
Reedy Creek Reserve – Paperbark Forest Boardwalk
Reedy Creek Reserve is the protector of 452 ha of creek and woodland about 3 km south-east of the town’s Visitor Information Centre. It is a genuine hidden treasure with a boardwalk and narrow walkways through the dense paperbark forest. There are concrete stepping stones across those areas which can become damp and water logged during wet weather. It is therefore not suitable for people with limited mobility.
The walk is only 400 metres and takes around 30 minutes. The forests are dense and impressive The short walk is well signposted with interesting signs about the paperbark tea tree and the protection of the area. For bird lovers one of the signs notes: “When in flower the bottlebrush flowers provide nectar for lorikeets, friarbirds, and many other species. The flowers themselves are an important food for Black, Grey-Headed and Little Red flying foxes.”
Other Attractions in the Area
To the south lies Deepwater National Park and to the north is the Eurimbula National Park. Both are rich in flora and fauna and are distinguished by their rainforests, native shrubs, coastal vegetation, water holes, beaches and estuaries. They are rich in native animals and birdlife.
Deepwater National Park can be accessed from Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy by driving south on Springs Road and following a sandy track to the park’s northern boundary. Access is only available to high clearance 4WD vehicles.
The National Parks website outlines the park’s features as follows: “The park’s diverse vegetation of coastal scrubs, woodlands, & wet heaths surround Deepwater Creek and its tributaries. Tannins and other substances leached from surrounding heath plants stain the creek water brown. The creek is framed by tall forests of swamp mahogany, paperbark and cabbage palms
Deepwater supports diverse birdlife such as emus, red-tailed black-cockatoos, honeyeaters, brahminy kites and waterbirds. Nesting turtles frequent The Beach from October to April, while hatchlings emerge from the nests from January, usually at night.From Agnes Water head out of town along Round Hill Road for 10 km then turn at the Eurimbula National Park sign. A 15 km bush track leads to Bustard Beach camping area at the mouth of Eurimbula Creek.
Tours and Cruises
In recent times Seventeen Seventy and Agnes Water have become part of the great backpacker trek up the coast of Queensland. A tourist industry of cruises and adventure tours has developed in the area. There are four tours on offer including trips along Bustard Bay beach, a trip to Bustard Head lighthouse and an Indigenous Walkabout tour.
Dad and I stayed in a house that we booked online. 3 bedrooms and one bathroom. Walking distance from everything in Agnes Water including the beach. This made life easy for us. We were able to walk to the small parade of shops, the local pub and the beach for exercise too.
1770 was a short drive away and we went there each day. If I am honest, I preferred 1770. There was something about the place. Just a little quirky, a little more charm to it. We found a nice lunch spot for beer and chicken satay skewers on one day. The local also set my mouth on fire with Korean spice chicken wings. Couldn’t argue with the food.
There was plenty to see and do but in a strange way, there was nothing to do too. Sounds weird doesn’t it. There was options for both. Go out and about or chill. Run around seeing things or sit on the beach with a fishing rod and a beer. All depends what you want and need from a break.
I had never been here before but I know I will be back. The only change……I’ll be staying at 1770.