KURRIMINE BEACH….Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef
Kurrimine Beach is a quiet, relaxed seaside village; lapped by the calm, Barrier Reef protected waters of the Pacific Ocean, and warmed by the tropical North Queensland sun.
About 1.5 hrs south of Cairns, 30 minutes south of Innisfail and about 2.75 hrs. north of Townsville, this small slice of paradise is one of the best kept secrets on the Cassowary Coast.
Kurrimine is an aquatic wonderland; its calm, clear waters a playground of activities ranging from reef and estuary fishing to boating, sailing, island hopping, diving and snorkeling.
There is no coastal location in Queensland closer to the wondrous Great Barrier Reef than Kurrimine Beach. Major reefs in the Barrier chain such as Hall-Thompson, Adelaide, Ellison, Eddy and Beaver Kay, among the many, are less than an hour away, and the beautiful, clear azure waters surrounding them are perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving while the deeper waters around the reefs rate among the best fishing spots in the world, producing iconic species such as Coral Trout, Spanish Mackerel, Red Emperor and Sweet Lip (Tricky Snapper), to name just a few.
King Reef extends right to the shores of Kurrimine Beach and at very low tide you can walk right out to the outer edge. In fact the Kurrimine Beach Holiday Park conducts regular guided walks to the reef throughout the year. You might even be lucky enough to find a painted crayfish for your lunch. This was once a foregone conclusion on a King Reef walk, but these days it’s a little rarer.
The Barnard Island Group is a short distance to the north of Kurrimine. The group is made up of seven islands. Bresnahan, Hutchinson, Jessie, Kent and Lindquist in the North Barnards, and Sisters and Stephens are in the South Barnards island group. The white sandy beaches make an ideal base from which to enjoy snorkeling over beautiful coral to see a multitude of colourful reef fish, turtles and maybe a dugong. Though this area is a green zone with no fishing allowed, it is a haven for a huge variety of spectacular reef life.
Just to the south of Kurrimine Beach lay The Family Group of islands, including Dunk, Bedarra, Timana, Wheeler, Coombe, Smith, Bowden and Hudson Islands. While the Barnards and some of the Family group remain uninhabited, Dunk and Bedarra both have resorts on them.
Back at Kurrimine Beach, there is great fishing right along the foreshore and in and around the Maria Creek estuary. And when you’ve worked up a thirst, there is a well-appointed pub on the absolute beach front, where you can enjoy a relaxing cold drink and a delicious meal made from the fresh local produce. As you relax in the cooling ocean breeze on the verandas or on the lawns, you can take in the spectacular panorama of island dotted, ocean views. The hotel is a part of King Reef Resort which also offers beach-front cabins and caravan facilities.
There is also The Kurrimine Beach Motel with first class accommodation and a wonderful restaurant, as well as many self-contained flats and bungalows for rent all along the beach. You’ll find great cafes, and restaurants dotted around the village, along with Fish & Chip shops offering fresh, local fare, where the standard fish is always Spanish Mackerel, although many other varieties are available as well.
KURRIMINE BEACH HISTORY
As you drive down to Kurrimine Beach, Murdering Point Road is the connection from the Bruce Highway, and by its very name hints at a grim and violent story in the history of this tranquil tropical paradise.
Murdering Point was the first name which was given to the area now known as Kurrimine Beach. It was believed to have been named by Sub-Inspector Robert Arthur Johnstone of the Native Police for the Cardwell area in September of 1878. He had been searching for survivors from the possible shipwreck of the cutter “Riser”, out of Newcastle. He subsequently discovered ships papers and a compass from the “Riser”, and the remains of the bodies of the crew, which were in an Aboriginal sand oven on the point opposite King Reef.
The “Riser” had been wrecked on King Reef and the crew had obviously made it ashore. However, they had then been murdered and cannibalized by local Aboriginals. Hence the dramatic name. “Murdering Point”.
The name Kurrimine, meaning “Rising Sun” in the local Aboriginal dialect, was officially given to the area in the 1930s. Murdering Point still exists today, both geographically and in name. It’s on the northern end of the beach opposite King Reef. Although at high tide, it is now a mere bump on the coastline.
A more comprehensive account of the “Riser” incident can be seen at the Murdering Point Winery on Murdering Point Road as you arrive at Kurrimine Beach. Stop a while, hear the story and taste the wines… you won’t be disappointed.