Agnes Water and 1770 are small, sleepy towns that are so often overlooked
as somewhere to explore.
I met many a traveller that was just staying one or maybe two nights here.
Using it mainly as a rest spot before catching the overnight bus up to
While I spent nearly a week in the area most of that was spent on my
Castaway adventure (find out more about that in my next post) I definitely
fell into the trap of only staying a couple of days.
This meant as I only had time to experience a snippet of what Agnes Water has to
offer. Consequently, it has made it onto my list of places to revisit on the
East Coast when I can really get to know this place.
Here’s why you shouldn’t make the same mistake I did.
Agnes water has some pretty cool places to stay
As I stepped off the Greyhound Bus into to the cool evening air I was
immediately greeted by a whole bunch of people holding brightly coloured
signs for various hostels.
After hauling my bag from the bus I spotted the energetic looking person
attached to the sign for my hostel, Southern Cross Backpackers.
Moments later I was ushered onto a minibus. A short 5 min drive back the
way I had just come took us to the secluded hostel and campsite.
To date, this is one of my favourite hostels.
It felt more like a little retreat. The dorms were set up in little wooden
cabins each with their own ensuite spread out around the main communal
The kitchen, originally some kind of portacabin or old shipping container
sits elevated above the rest of the communal area. This, despite being
roofed and having some windows feels very much like you are outside still –
a bonus for those hot summer days.
I was especially impressed with the ingenuity of the design of the roof.
Built for shelter but also able to catch the rainwater while allowing
daylight and any cool breezes to circulate without much need for
The whole place had a chilled out vibe that you couldn’t help but immerse
yourself in. The only downside was having to live your day by the scheduled
minibus pickups. Only operating every few hours, if you were going into
town you weren’t just going to pick something up, you might as well make a
day of it.
Plus, for those of you who like to look after the environment, this place
is completely water self-sufficient. Taking all its water from the rainfall
and lake which sits in the grounds.
Yes there are other places to stay both, hostels, hotels and campsites but
Southern Cross Backpackers was that little something special that I was
There’s a Community Spirit
With only one road into and out of the area, Agnes Water has that isolated
feeling about it.
But once you’ve been here a few hours you can’t help but feel a sense that
everybody knows each other in this small community.
This is in no way a closed community but a very welcome one.
A community that has so much enthusiasm for the place where it resides and
just wants to share it with those willing to turn off the Bruce Highway.
It has History
Agnes Water takes its name from the coastal Schooner Agnes which
disappeared near pancake creek.
The boat set sail from Bustard Head on 15 June 1873 en route to Mackay from
Brisbane. Alternative theories suggest that the name was named after the
daughter of the first European settlers, Daniel and Rachel Clowes.
Just 8km further along the headland from Agnes Water you will find the
town of 1770. Much smaller than its neighbour Agnes Waters but with just as
The town of 1770 marks the place where Captain Cook (a lieutenant at the
time) and the HMS Endeavour made their 2nd landing in Australia and the 1st
in what is now Queensland.
Originally named Round Hill after the creek that it sits on the towns name
was changed in 1970 to mark the bicentenary of Captain Cook’s landing.
It’s the last place you can go surfing
As the most northerly point on the East Coast to catch a wave, Agnes Water
naturally has a vibrant surfing community.
I took up the challenge with Reef2Beach surf school and for 3 hours of
introductory surfing for $17 I definitely got my monies worth!
After learning about how to be safe in the water, the surfing “code” and
how to be respectful and look out for your fellow surfers we were soon in
It wasn’t long before the first of the group were mastering
their boards and riding the waves.
Eventually, I managed to stand up for more than half a second and surf my
wave to the shore, much to the disappointment of the photographer who had
been enjoying capturing my football level dramatic falls.
It’s easy to explore yourself
From beach walks to inland treks, visiting the museum or catching a wave
there lots of ways to explore this area without jumping on a guided tour.
However if, like me, you find yourself in Agnes Water without a vehicle of
your own then do not worry.
While it would be more convenient to get around if you had your own wheels
if you head to the Travel Bugs shop next door to the Caltex you can hire a
I rocked up at the shop about 11 am, signed my life away for what seemed
like the 100th time and set off on a little adventure.
Now I’m not going to lie, It had been years since the last time I was on a
bike that wasn’t a gym exercise/spin bike. So the whole riding on the road
thing was a little nerve wracking to start with.
However, I was forgetting that this wasn’t the UK and out here in this
little town there really isn’t much traffic.
What I had also forgotten about was that exercise in the middle of the day
doesn’t make for a comfortable experience – cue a very sweaty Rachel.
Then there were the hills.
I had decided to bike to the lookout point at the top of the headland.
What I didn’t realise was that in order to get up to a lookout point which, you
know, to be a lookout is usually kinda high up so you get a decent view, I
would have to battle a couple of hills.
Now I can’t claim they were any Alpe D’Huez but having not done any
exercise in weeks this was a pretty decent challenge and to those that are
wondering, yes I had to push the bike a couple of times.
The views when I got up to the lookout though were totally worth it – as
were the impressed looks from those that had driven up there.
Panoramic views of the surrounding coastline and only a few other people to share the
experience with. The refreshing, cool sea breeze was most appreciated in
cooling the hot, sweaty mess I had become
Once suitably recovered it was time to return back to Agnes Water (via a good
feed of course) and as we all know what goes up, must come down. Definitely
got my Tour de France on going back down those hills.
There is a whole bunch of guided adventures
From exploring the area on scooters to feeding kangaroos at the sanctuary
there are lots of things to do.
Best all of at the end of your trip the guides often recommend other tours that you might like helping both you as
a visitor enjoy the area and each other’s businesses to thrive in this small
Want to get out on the water and head to Lady Musgrave Island – the start
of the Great Barrier Reef, or even just head out fishing?
Well head on over to the harbour area of 1770 that you can embark on a
variety of water-based adventures.
From kayaking, fishing trips to LARC tours of the surrounding area there is
something or everyone (find out more here).
Agnes Water and 1770 may only be small towns but there is so much to see
and do here that I just wasn’t aware of until I arrived.
It’s the worst feeling when you have to leave a place but have only
scratched the surface – is there a place that has happened to you?
Agnes Water/1770 I will be back to for another adventure soon
Until Next Time