It’s the perfect combination of north and south.
The tropical climate of the north of Australia – warm winters and hot summers- but with a rain level more on par with south.
It has stunning beaches, nearby islands and reefs like Far North Queensland, but it has surf – the last place on the Queensland coast to have it.
The Town of 1770 and Agnes Water are a little diversion from the main highway between Brisbane and Cairns so it doesn’t see the high volume of traffic and tourists.
It’s sleepy and quiet and undeveloped. Only a few houses sit on the side of the hills with magnificent views of Round Hill Creek and the well-known stunning sunsets.
The Town of 1770 is one of only three places on the east coast where you can see the sun set over the water.
The Town of 1770 is a protected area so all future building has ceased.
It’s almost in the pristine condition it was in 1770 when Captain Cook first sailed past Round Hill Headland to rest his ship the Endeavour.
The discovery of Australia by Cook is obviously one I know well. But, it’s a hard one to connect to as the shores of Botany Bay are now covered with high rises, large highways and planes flying overhead.
The same with Sydney Harbour. I try to imagine what it must have looked like when the First Fleet arrived to start the penal colony in 1788. It’s a murky visualization as there is far too much concrete now covering the view.
Except when you get to the Town of 1770 and Agnes Water and you explore the nearby beaches and creeks and headlands that Cook and his crew sailed past. Its natural state has been unchanged for thousands of years.
I could imagine the wonder they felt meeting furry animals hopping along the beach guided by their tails, sting rays gliding along the sandy floor of the river, and dolphins guiding the nose of the Endeavour into a safe anchorage.
I could imagine Joseph Banks’ confusion and awe as he came across hundreds of species of plants he’d never seen before: pandanus palms, banksias, Eucalypts, hibiscus flowers, and small forested valleys filled with beautiful blue butterflies.
This is the Town of 1770 and Agnes Water.
The longer I stayed the longer I wanted to stay. There’s a beauty and rawness here that gets under your skin.
It has everything a traveler will need, yet not many venture here.
Now we don’t want to send you there in droves, but we can’t keep this a secret from you. We think you should definitely be pinning it to your Australian Bucket List.
We first heard of it years ago from friends who visited and stayed awhile. They say it’s their favorite place in Australia.
Then after that, we heard about it several times from more travellers who stumbled upon it and were amazed at how beautiful and magnetic it was.
What’s the difference between the Town of 1770 and Agnes Water?
I’m glad we weren’t the only ones confused!
Agnes Water is about 8km south of the Town of 1770. Agnes Water is the ocean town where you’ll find the surf and a fantastic beach. It also has most of the cafes and shops and room for development.
The Town of 1770 is on the Round Hill Creek and is much quieter and smaller. This is where you jump on your cruises and do your water tours and activities.
They each have their unique points, but I think we slightly preferred to stay in Agnes Waters near the beach and drive into the Town of 1770.
Things to Do in the Town of 1770 and Agnes Water
Kayaking with Liquid Adventures
1770 Liquid Adventures is owned by a German and Aussie couple, Janina and Simon, who are adventure travelers who met diving in the Caribbean.
They totally understood our vibe and what travelers are really looking for in an experience, especially with kids. We chose the best day to kayak on Round Hill Creek – barely a ripple, crystal clear and the sun was shining down.
We joined Janina for a guided family kayaking adventure paddling up the creek to Butterfly Beach where we stopped for morning tea, a play with the butterflies and a good old bubble busting fun on the beach.
I loved how Janina catered for the kids with games and with an awesome animal spotting chart tied to the kayak.
Kalyra loved identifying the birds we met along the way like the Oyster Catcher and black headed tern.
Both the girls loved paddling and were disappointed when the tour ended.
We’re really keen to return one day to experience their sunset tour – a paddle up the creek followed by a glass of wine on the beach with a magnificent sunset. The time of the day where you’re most likely to kayak alongside dolphins. Magic!
The LARC Tour
Easily a highlight of this area was our LARC Paradise Tour.
We saw and experienced so many amazing things on the water and the land.
It was a lot of fun and Kalyra now has a new hobby – sand boarding!
This tour is noted down as one of my favorites of our Australia road trip so far.
Read More: Adventure in the Town of 1770 – LARC Tastic
Lady Musgrave Island
It was a rough 75-minute boat ride out there and back, but Lady Musgrave Island was worth it.
The Town of 1770 is on the doorstep of the Southern Great Barrier Reef, and Lady Musgrave Island is your own piece of paradise.
We moored up at the floating pontoon and enjoyed a glass bottom boat tour and snorkeling in the protected Lagoon. We went ashore for a guided island walk and never wanted to leave!
Read more: How to experience the Great Barrier Reef
Sunset in the Town of 1770
Come early with your chair, a drink and some cheese and dips, and join the crowds. Sunset in the Town of 1770 is the place to be. It’s truly spectacular, so serene and really not too crowded.
Sunset at Agnes Water
If you want something a little different, Agnes Water has a beautiful sunset from the beach. You won’t get it setting over the water, but dropping behind the small hill is equally as beautiful and the colours in the sky light up Agnes’ prettiness.
Surfing lessons in Agnes Waters are some of the cheapest you’ll find in the country.
The waves on Agnes Water Beach look pretty good to learn on. They were clean and small when we were there and there were a few learners nailing the standing up technique.
We didn’t have the chance to take up a lesson here, but we heard they’re cheap and a lot of fun.
There are two operators:
Paperbark Forest Walk
We were alerted to this by a fan on our Facebook Page. It’s only newly opened about 3kms south of Agnes opposite Springs Beach.
It’s an easy 400m walk through the Paperbark forest but is mystical and magical.
The girls loved pretending they were witches riding on their broomsticks down the wooden board-walk and hopping along the stepping pylons above the swamp.
1770 to Round Hill Head walk
There’s a beautiful 2km walk from the 1770 camp ground along the headland through the forest to the Round Hill Head.
There’s one section of the forest that’s filled with beautiful blue butterflies (just above Butterfly Beach).
The views along the way across Eurimbula National Part to Bustard Head way are pretty special.
Places to Eat in Agnes Water and Town of 1770
Agnes Beach Cafe
We had a couple of breakfasts here. We could have sat in this beach front cafe all day. It’s one of our favourite cafes in Australia so far.
The views are just incredible, it has a really laid back vibe and the coffee is sensational! It’s perfect for families as the kids can play on the beach in front of you while you relax.
The Tree Restaurant is a little on the expensive side, but the food is good and the views are amazing. Catch the sunset first and have a drink in the Tree Bar before moving into the restaurant.
Getaway Garden Cafe
The Getaway Garden Cafe is in a beautiful little spot tucked away behind the town of Agnes.
There’s a large grassed area which is perfect for the kids to play while you sit back and enjoy a delicious rosella tea and peach tart. Yum!
Where to Stay in Agnes Water
We stayed at the Agnes Water Beach Caravan Park in a Treetops Chalet. They were really cute and if you can get one right on the beach you will be in for a good stay.
They are a little small though, so if you have a large family or need a lot of space, you might want to look at a cabin or camp site. We had to keep most of our luggage in our car.
Our fave cafe, Agnes Beach Cafe is located within the campground. The position of the campground is unbeatable, right on Agnes Water Beach.
We preferred the location of this site to the campground at 1770, which is more basic and quite popular for being right on the bay and front row seats for the sunset.
Location – The Town of 1770 and Agnes Water is in the Southern Great Barrier Reef region of Queensland, a 6 hour drive north of Brisbane:
Accommodation – Agnes Water Beach Caravan Park
Disclaimer – Our visit was in partnership with Tourism Queensland.