An Instagrammer's Guide to Agnes Water & 1770

  • 1770 Waterways
  • Kangaroo on the beach at Agnes Water
  • 1770 Larc Tour
  • Lady Musgrave Island

The twin towns of Agnes Water and 1770 are the perfect place to base yourself if you love discovering kilometres of empty beaches, wonderful waterways (including the Great Barrier Reef!) and stunning national parks. The region is most famous for being the first landing point in Queensland by Captain James Cook in the year 1770 and a lot of the time you’ll feel like the amazing coastline you're exploring has been largely untouched in the 250 years since.

I've just returned from another amazing week on the Discovery Coast and have put together my updated Instagrammer’s Guide to the region to help you explore some of these hidden gems and get those picture perfect photos to post on your Instagram account.

See some of these incredible experiences in the video below:

  • SUP dog oz in 1770
  • Wallabies on the Red Rock Walking Trail
  • 1770 Larc Tour
  • Sunrise on the Red Rock Walking Trail

Bustard Head Lighthouse

Beginning operation in 1868, the Lighthouse is over 150 years old and has been instrumental in helping guide vessels up and down the dangerous coastline below. The automation of the lighthouse in 1986 meant that it was no longer manned and this unfortunately led to vandalism. Fortunately, restoration of the site began in 2002 and it’s now a leading tourism attraction in the region. The restoration was largely possible due to the help of the local 1770 Larc! Tours amphibious vehicles. These vehicles are quite remarkable and can transport people and equipment across both land and water.

1770 Larc! Tours operate daily with the Paradise tour including a stop up at the Lighthouse which is the only operating tower in Queensland that is open to the public. Be sure to do the climb to the top of the tower and bring your camera to make the most of the uninterrupted views. The scenery up the top is quite spectacular and the guides provide a fantastic commentary on the lighthouse’s early days and the people who called this remote place home.

The Paradise Tour isn’t just about the Lighthouse though with the Larc travelling across 4 tidal creeks as well as a stop at Middle Island for some sand boarding down the 35meter sand dunes! (You might recognise Jenny Lind Creek Beach from my A-Z of Australia's Best Beaches list!) The views from the top of the dunes are quite impressive and if you’ve got a robust action camera the footage you can get as you slide down the dunes on your boogie board is well worth it. If the weather is being kind you can also opt to slide down from the dunes directly into the water and the water clarity in the creek here can be quite incredible. Add a polariser filter to your camera lens to bring out the best of the blues in the water and the whites of the sand dunes!

  • Bustard Head Lighthouse
  • 1770 Larc Tour
  • 1770 Larc Tour
  • View on the 1770 Larc Tour

Red Rock Walking Trail

Located just south of Agnes Water, the Red Rock Walking Trail is an intermediate track taking in several beaches, bays and headlands that conclude with the iconic Red Rock. (You'll quickly see why Red Rock Beach is included in my A-Z of Australia's Best Beaches list!)

I joined the trail at Springs Beach and the trek takes about an hour to reach the rock but I’d recommend allowing at least 2 hours to get there as there’s several spots to stop at for photos. The return journey takes almost 4 hours in total and an early morning start with a high tide is the best time for the walk as it provides the best photography opportunities.

Keep an eye out for the wallabies that call parts of the track home, I counted nearly 20 wallabies at one of the stops just near Rocky Point! They don’t seem to mind you getting within about 10 meters, a zoom lens is quite handy though if you want to get a close up photo. If you’re lucky you might even spot a couple of them down on the sand, just checking out the surf!

Other wildlife highlights include possible whale sightings during the winter months whilst during the summer months nesting turtles frequently come ashore. Always remember to give the turtles plenty of space as if you frighten them they can return to the ocean without laying their eggs.

  • Sunrise on the Red Rock Walking Trail
  • Agnes Water wallaby
  • Red Rock Walking Trail
  • Red Rock Walking Trail in Agnes Water

Deepwater National Park

For a long time, the only way you could explore the Deepwater National Park was if you had a 4wd vehicle. With many visitors to the region only having 2wd’s, lots of people were missing out on the chance to experience the beauty of the Deepwater National Park. Arty Cipak from Moondoggie Beach and Bush Tours has changed all this though with the introduction of his guided 4wd tours.

The photography opportunities in the Deepwater National Park are endless, one minute you’re in the middle of a forest, the next you’re on a beach and then to cap it all off there’s the chance to go paddle boarding or kayaking on creeks that have the most incredible mirrored surfaces. Throw in some stunning late afternoon light and it’s an Instagrammer’s dream!

Not only are there an abundance of Instagram opportunities but you’ll also get a chance to learn a lot about the local flora and fauna from the incredibly knowledgeable Arty.

  • Deepwater National Park
  • Moondoggie beach and bush tours
  • Deepwater National Park
  • 1770 Beach

Paperbark Forest

If you don’t have time for a 4wd trip through the Deepwater National Park but would still like a small taste of what’s there then the Paperbark Forest is a fun little stop off just before the entrance to the Deepwater National Park.

The boardwalk winds through the towering paperbarks and the walk can take as little as 10 minutes or as long as an hour depending on how many times you stop to take photos!

I’d recommend doing the walk either in the early morning or the late afternoon as the golden light streaming through the trees at this time of day is quite beautiful. If you love sunbursts then there’s lots of opportunities to try and capture these as well as the sun peaks through the trees.

  • Paperbark Forest Walk - Agnes Water
  • Paperbark Forest Walk - Agnes Water
  • Paperbark Forest Walk - Agnes Water
  • Paperbark Forest Walk - Agnes Water


The beaches and creeks here have something for everyone from the most northerly surf breaks in Queensland to the calm waters of the creeks.

There’s several surf schools available for those who want to catch some waves and if you’re after something a little different on the water then why not try out paddle boarding with Chris and his dogs at SUP Dog Oz. You may have seen Chris’ Instagram account filled with footage of him and his adorable dogs paddle boarding around 1770 waterways!

  • SUP Dog Oz in 1770
  • SUP Dog Oz in 1770
  • Surfing in Agnes Water
  • Surfing in Agnes Water

Lady Musgrave Island - Great Barrier Reef

One of the most southerly islands on the Great Barrier Reef, Lady Musgrave is a must if you love underwater photography!  

You'll spot thousands of fish, incredible coral gardens, lots of turtles hanging out at the turtle cleaning stations and make sure you do the guided walk of the island where you'll learn about the birds and wildlife that call this area home. It's a photographers paradise and I'd recommend  bringing a spare battery and memory card as you'll go through them pretty quickly here!                       

It's about a 1.5hr trip by boat from the 1770 marina and you can book tours to Lady Musgrave with the awesome team at 1770 Reef!

  • 1770 Reef at Lady Musgrave Island
  • Fish selfie at Lady Musgrave Island!
  • Turtle at Lady Musgrave Island
  • Lady Musgrave Island

See the sunrise from the 1770 Headland and Lookout

Watching the sun come up over the Coral Sea from the stunning lookout on the 1770 Headland is a magical way to start the day on the Discovery Coast. There's plenty of Instagrammable opportunities here with lots of photogenic pandanus trees, beautiful pathways and the large lookout perched on the side of the cliff has incredible views down over the beach below.

  • 1770 Headland at Sunrise
  • Sunrise at the 1770 lookout
  • Sunrise at 1770 lookout
  • Sunrise at 1770 Headland

Accommodation options - Agnes Water Beach Club

Located right in the heart of town, the Agnes Water Beach Club is nice and close to everything you need. It's just a 2 minute walk to Main Beach which is perfect for a sunrise or sunset stroll, it's right next to a little supermarket and fantastic cafes and of an evening you can drift off to sleep to the sounds of the ocean just a couple of hundred meters away. 

The apartments are fully self contained and there's a fantastic swimming pool and BBQ area downstairs. If you'd prefer to cook in your apartment there's a fully equiped kitchen and even a BBQ on your balcony.           

  • Agnes Water Beach Club
  • Agnes Water Beach Club
  • Agnes Water Beach Club
  • Agnes Water Beach Club

Accomodation options - Sunrise at 1770

For those looking for a luxurious holiday house type stay with incredible views, be sure to check out the options available through Sunrise at 1770 Holiday Homes. I stayed in the sensational “Sea Spray” home and it was the perfect base for the activities just south of town. It’s quite close to both the entrance to Deepwater National Park and the Paperbark Forest as well as being only a couple of minutes walk to the Red Rock.

Waking up to the sun rising over the ocean each day from the comfort of my bed was a dream and the huge balcony with the spa was the icing on top. Add into the mix 2 infinity pools located on the grounds of the Sunrise at 1770 estate and you have everything you need for a memorable holiday and lots of Instagrammable experiences to share.

  • Sunrise at 1770 Holiday Homes
  • Sunrise at 1770 Holiday Homes
  • Sunrise at 1770 Holiday Homes
  • Sunrise at 1770 Holiday Homes

Delicious Food

You’ll work up quite an appetite with all these activities and luckily there’s plenty of great restaurants around Agnes Water and 1770. Close to the Sunrise at 1770 estate is one of my favourites, the 1770 Getaway with a café set in beautiful tropical gardens. The food is sensational and they’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

If you’ve been to any of these places and have some photography/ Instagram tips please feel free to add them in the comments below or if you have any questions about any of the locations just send them through!

Suggest your favourite Agnes Water & 1770 experience

  • No Comments

Discover more Gladstone region gems

11 Amazing things to do on Heron Island

Visit the Southern Great Barrier Reef with Airguides

7 tips to get the most out of your next island holiday

Shop Beaches of the World Collection