Suburb Profiles

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Dunk Island

Dunk Island is an island within the Cassowary Coast Region, Queensland, Australia.   The island lies 4 km off the Australian east coast, opposite the town of Mission Beach. The island forms part of the Family Islands National Park and is in the larger  Great Barrier Reef Heritage Area.[2]

The island is surrounded by reefs and has a diverse population of birds. Aborigines once used the island as a source of food. Europeans first settled on the island in 1897. Dunk Island was used by the Royal Australian Air Force during World War II. In recent years the island and its resort facilities were affected by both Cyclone Larry and Cyclone Yasi.

Dunk Island is by far the largest island in the Family Islands National Park, all of which consist of granite rock.[3] All of the islands were part of the mainland before the last sea level rise began 8,000 years ago. Dunk Island covers 970ha, of which 730 ha is national park and the rest is freehold. Its topography varies, with sandy beaches and rocky shores, slightly undulating slopes, foothills and steeper semi-rugged terrain. Mount Kootaloo is the island's highest point, at 271 m above sea level.

There are over 100 species of birds on Dunk Island, including rare and vulnerable seabirds.[3] During the summer months, the island becomes a breeding site for terms and noddies.  The lack of predators, along with a plentiful supply of food from the surrounding reef waters, make it an ideal nesting site. Dunk Island is also home to reptiles such as pythons, tree snakes, geckos and skinks. The island's fringing reefs and surrounding waters are home to an array of marine life such as sea turtles, dugongs, croals, fish, shellfish and crabs. Purtaboi Island (the small island directly out from Dunk Island) is closed and inaccessible for guests from October through to April each year due to the crested terns nesting on the island.

Dunk Island has thirteen kilometres of walking tracks spread over five main routes, ranging from a short walk to Edmund James Banfield's grave to a 4-hour island circuit hike.

Artists' colony
Dunk Island is also home to a small community of artists who live, work and showcase their work on a property on the southern side of the island. The Colony was established in 1974 by former Olympic wrestler Bruce Arthur, and continued to operate after his death in 1998, until Cyclone Larry damaged much of the colony. Susie Kirk now resides at the Artist colony.

Dunk Island was chosen as the location for the 1969 film Age of Consent, which was based on a story by the artist and writer Norman Lindsay.[14] Directed by Michael Powell, it starred James Mason as Bradley Morahan, a jaded Australian artist returning from New York and Helen Mirren as Cora Ryan, a local teenager. Age of Consent attracted controversy over nudity and a sex scene, which led to some censorship and cuts. Much of the film was shot on the beach at Brammo Bay where ferries bringing visitors now dock.

Camping ground
There is a camping ground available for visitors as part of the national park, although a permit is required for its use.  Book through the Dunk Island website. Features of the Dunk Island Camp Ground:
  • 9 sites
  • 8 private sites with table & chairs for singles, couples or a family
  • 9th site is large and can take up to 20 people
  • $6.15 per night per adult or $24.60 for a family
  • Family group is 2 adults and 6 children under 18 years
  • Adults – over 18 years
  • There are hot showers, 2 gas BBQ’s, Drinking Water but no other supplies
  • No emergency contact – call 000
There are many options for getting to Dunk Island including water taxis, island charters, hire boats and more. 

Due to damage caused by Cyclone Yasi in February 2011 - DUNK ISLAND RESORT IS CLOSED.

Visitors to Dunk Island are advised to consider the following:
  • There are no eateries
  • The Dunk Island Resort area is closed to all public access
  • Compliance with all directional and warning signage is required
  • Take drinking water and a mobile phone (Vodaphone has no reception)
  • Let someone know where you will be going and your expected return time
Please call the Mission Beach Visitor Information Centre on 07 4068 7099 for further information or call in to the centre when you arrive. They are located on Porter Promenade in the Mission Beach Village.