Orpheus Island National Park
Orpheus Island National Park features sheltered bays with spectacular fringing reefs. Composed of granite and volcanic rocks, Orpheus Island belongs to the chain of continental islands called the Palm Group located 20km off the Queensland coast, eat of Ingham.
Orpheus Island is made up of volcanic rocks formed around 280 million years ago. A geological feature of the island are 'ring dykes', formed by intrusions of molten rock into granite bedrock cracks. These create a spider web effect and can be seen on the headland and rocky shores where erosion has created caves and crevices.
Vegetation Dry woodlands dominate the island and consist of Morton bay ash (Eucalyptus tessellaris) and acacia. In the deeper gullies and sheltered bays, rainforest trees such as fig and macaranga, with its large, heart-shaped leaves, can be seen. Small irregular bands of grasslands are also an intriguing aspect of the island.
Animals May of the native mammals on the island are nocturnal, but you may be lucky enough to see an echidna foraging in the forest.
Reptiles can often be seen in the rainforest and woodland, including brown tree snakes, carpets and children's pythons, and various skinks and geckos.
A range of birds can be seen or heard throughout the forests. The orange-footed scrub fowl can sometimes be heard scratching amongst the rainforest litter. This bird builds a mound of vegetation (up to 3m high) as its nest in which it incubates its eggs. Ospreys soaring above, while reef herons and egrets are usually seen wading in the mangroves and inter-tidal areas.
Access Orpheus Island can be reached by boat. There is no public ferry, but special charters can be arranged. The closest boat ramp is at Taylor's Beach, 25km from Ingham, while the ramp at Lucinda is a little further from the island.
Activities Camping is allowed near Yank's Jetty, South Beach and a Little Pioneer Bay where basic facilities are provided. Fresh water is not available and bushwalking tracks are not provided.
A camping permit must be obtained in advance from QdoE offices at Townsville Wonderland or Ingham.
Marine Parks Intertidal waters surrounding Orpheus are part of the Queensland (State) Marine Park, while the remaining waters from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Most of the waters surrounding the island are zoned Marine National Park 'B', a look but don't take zone', where collecting and fishing are prohibited. Between the northern end of Hazard Bay and Harrier Point the waters are zoned Marine National Park 'A', allowing limited line fishing; one hook and one line per person.
Collecting living or dead shells, corals and other marine life is not permitted in either zone. Check a Zoning Plan for more details. The fringing reefs are best explored by snorkeling or scuba diving. Large coral bommies may be found in Little Pioneer Bay, Cattle Bay and around the Yank's Jetty area. The best snorkeling area is off the north east tip. Care should be taken when anchoring to avoid damage to coral, scientific research is carried out. Boats should ensure that they remain at least 50m from the reef front.
Leases Orpheus Island resort overlooks Hazard Bay while the James Cook University research station is located at Pioneer Bay. Only guests and authorized visitors are welcome on these leases. Research Station staff may show visitors around the station by arrangement with the manager - PH (07) 4777 7336
For further information and permits contact:
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Rainforest and Reef Centre
PO Box 74 CARDWELL QLD 4849 Ph (07) 4066 8601 Fax (07) 4066 8116