1770: The Queensland Town Where Time Stops

6 February 2015

As far as sleepy little beach towns go, 1770 off the Southern Great Barrier Reef is among the best. A quiet, charming pocket of beautiful beaches and swimming spots mixed with lively restaurants and cafes makes it an ideal place for a family vacation or an escape with loved ones.

More than just a pretty face, 1770 (also known as Town of  Seventeen Seventy) has an incredible history. The town is built on the site of the second landing by Captain Cook in May all the way back in, you guessed it, 1770! Each year the locals re-enact the historic landing as part of an annual festival held in May.

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The town is a much-loved holiday destination and it’s easy to see why. Situated on a peninsula, it is surrounded by water on three sides thanks to Bustard Bay and the Coral Sea. It's also one of only four places on the east coast of Australia where you can see the sun set over water.

My favourite thing to do is sit on the rocks and watch the sun set. It really is a beautiful place to have a cold drink and watch the day come to an end before heading to dinner.

Located eight kilometres north of Agnes Water, 1770 is the perfect place to take some time out and unwind on the beach or seek out an adventure on the high seas. The town has a great, chilled-out, time-doesn’t-matter feel to it and you can’t help but lose count of the days.

 Sunset in 1770

Fun in the sun

The main beach, located along Captain Cook Drive, is a sheltered cove, which means the water is clear and flat, making it a great swimming spot for kids. You can easily hire a stand-up paddle board or kayak from the local hire shop or organise a tour if you’re after a little adventure.

The LARC is one of those big, hulking vehicles that can drive on land and go in water. It’s also a great way to see another side of 1770 and the local area if you don’t have a boat of your own.

There’s a full-day tour, which includes zipping down sand dunes, taking in stunning views of the coastline and a trip up to the scenic lighthouse.

There are shorter tours, too, including an afternoon cruise that goes for one and a half hours and a two-hour lunch tour.


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The guides are incredibly knowledgeable and will show you places and animals you wouldn’t have seen otherwise, as well as share local history. The LARC is definitely worth doing and suitable for all ages.

Spend the day on the outer Great Barrier Reef by taking a 90-minute cruise by boat out to Lady Musgrave Island. Once there, you can spend the day swimming or snorkelling, guaranteed to see an assortment of beautiful underwater life, including fish and turtles.

Day trips also include things like morning tea and lunch as well as guided tours of Lady Musgrave Island, all the snorkelling gear you’ll need, glass-bottom boat tours and submarine tours. It really is a fantastic way to spend a day and something you won’t forget anytime soon.

 Following in Cook's footsteps

The best seats in the house

Find Cook’s Monument along Captain Cook Drive, up the road from the 1770 Camping Grounds. Here, you can follow the path down to the beach for a swim or a spot of fishing, or take the two-kilometre walk along the headland to Round Hill Head.

The walk winds through beautiful forest with lovely views of the water and surrounding area. Spot the incredible blue butterflies, seen in the thousands at certain times of the year.

Stunning views don’t come much better than those at the Joseph Banks Conservation Park. Drive up to the lookout, at the end of Captain Cook Drive, park your car and jump out for a short walk.

I recommend visiting in the afternoon, when things have cooled down a bit and the light is golden and gorgeous. There are two main walks out to the headland, one is about 100 metres and the other about 350 metres. Both are easy and suitable for all ages.

You can also gain access to a few beaches by following the trails. Just be careful and make sure you’re wearing proper shoes. This has to be one of the best spots to get great views of the Queensland coast.

 Standing on the edge of QLD

Food & local flair

Visit the Discovery Markets, held on the second and fourth Sunday of each month at the SES Grounds, a few minutes south of 1770 along Captain Cook Drive.

The markets buzz with people – get there early so you can get a good park and beat the heat. Browse the many little stalls selling second-hand books and bric-a-brac, plants, natural soaps and other beauty products.

Take a ride on a camel, buy breezy beach clothes and hand-knitted gifts for friends, then grab a bite to eat or stock up on fresh fruit and veggies.

Delicious meals don’t come much better than those served up at 1770 Marina Cafe. Once you've ordered your meal, take a seat down near the jetty to watch the boats coming and going at the local boat ramp.

 Calm waters at the marina

For great seafood, head to the Tree Restaurant. The Tree serves delicious food and is in a great location for a spot of people-watching. The adjoining pub has great lunch specials and is ideal for beating the heat in the middle of the day with a cold drink.

If you’re in the mood for a great burger, visit Beachcombers Family Bistro in the 1770 Camping Grounds. The Bistro serves home-style meals and the burgers are not to be missed.

The best thing about this place is it’s right on the water, making it a dream destination for a chilled-out lunch with a view.

Phoebe Lee

Phoebe Lee is a full-time travel writer, blogger and vlogger at littlegreybox. Never happy being tied down, she loves the feeling of freedom and adventure she gets from travel. A beach lover and dog enthusiast, Phoebe believes beautiful moments are more important than beautiful things and you should always follow your heart, wherever it may lead.