MEG LAW and her family discover the best things to do in Queensland’s Agnes Water and the town of 1770 during a stay at NRMA Agnes Water Holiday Park
Paradise found: Exploring Agnes Water, Queensland’s coastal gem
“Heck, where else would you rather be?” a fisherman bellows across the sand bar with a hearty laugh as he passes by on a rusty tinny. He isn’t wrong. This truly is paradise. We knew it from the moment we arrived in Agnes Water, a relaxed coastal town in Queensland’s Gladstone region. Think palm trees swaying, tanned holidaymakers walking the streets barefoot and clad in towels, bikinis or boardies; young surfers riding their bikes with their boards strapped on and noses covered in zinc.
Our stay at NRMA Agnes Water Holiday Park
As we pull into our accommodation at NRMA Agnes Water Holiday Park, we are greeted by the familiar smell of snags on the barbie, the sound of waves crashing against the shore and a sea of happy campers mingling for happy hour.
When it comes to accommodation, ‘beachfront’ can be an overused term, but not this time! Our beachside villa is pure perfection. Perched on stilts with a balcony overlooking the ocean, it has a spacious lounge with a huge dining table, self-contained kitchen and of course the kids’ favourite – bunks, which are always a big tick when on holidays. Sweeping views of sand and sea provide the perfect backdrop for a summer escape. There’s also an on-site café, which is a great place to visit for a post-surf session of fish tacos, breakfast wraps and passionfruit smoothies.
Kayaking Adventure in 1770: Exploring Round Hill Creek
Agnes Water is one of those places where you can choose to pack your days with non-stop adventure or do precious little but soak up the sunshine and bob around in the ocean. We choose a bit of both. To start, we join the effervescent Janina, from 1770 Liquid Adventures, to embark on the two-hour family kayak tour exploring Round Hill Creek, around 10 minutes’ drive north of Agnes Water. The experience begins with a short safety briefing and lesson on correct paddling technique before we take off in our double kayaks, with our five-year-old proud to show off his paddling prowess. We follow Janina along the bay, passing the sand bar (where we encounter the fisherman), sail boats and mangroves. After being given a bird and marine life identification slate to use on the tour, the kids are intent on ticking them all off the list.
As our bright yellow and red canoes meander their way along the vivid blue water in the bay, we sight a white-bellied sea eagle soaring above, as well as oyster catchers, herons and a sacred kingfisher. We feed the fish at the marina from our kayaks, and the kids are excited to see Janina find a hermit crab hanging out along the water’s edge. It’s easy to fall in love with these waters. We pull up at a secluded beach for a morning tea and homemade Anzac cookies and have a swim before circling back to the town of 1770.
Discovering Chinaman’s Beach: a local’s hidden gem
Enchanted forest adventure: Paperbark Forest Walk in Agnes Water
Not far from Chinaman’s Beach is a locals’ favourite, the Paperbark Forest Walk – a magical walk that feels like you have stepped into the enchanted forest in search of the Magic Faraway Tree. It takes us into the heart of a coastal melaleuca forest where we cross step stones, jump over tree trunks, and follow a narrow boardwalk surrounded by hundreds of paperbark trees and the majestic green fronds of the cabbage tree palm. Keep an eye out for butterflies while keeping your ears listening for frog calls as you pass through their habitat.
Experience the adventure of a lifetime on the Super LARC amphibious craft
Is it a bird, is it a plane? No… it’s a SUPER LARC! We decide to up the adventure stakes and jump aboard the amphibious craft that takes you from land to water. We climb aboard for the afternoon cruise which crosses Round Hill Creek, cruises along the edge of Eurimbula National Park up to Eurimbula Creek and then returns along the 1770 sand bar. The one-hour joyride is fun for the whole family, with an entertaining commentary from tour guide Dylan, who is partial to the odd Dad joke, beautiful scenery, amazing wildlife (including some wild emus who chase us along the sand) and an exciting finale which involves an almighty splash! This one is for the young engineers at heart or those who, like our son, believe it’s a monster truck and he is the official LARC superhero. It also receives a big tick from our fashionista daughter who thought the hot pink was a hit!
A Magical Evening with Coastal Rush Pop Up Picnics & Events in Agnes Water
On our final night at Agnes Water, we decide to surprise the kids and organise a sunset picnic via the local company Coastal Rush Pop Up Picnics. It feels like you have stepped off the cover of a Vogue magazine, with comfortable rattan lounges, boho cushions, an umbrella, rugs, throws, lamps, candles, flowers, an ice bucket, and a table decorated with the finest napery and picnicware. Throw in a grazing platter and a box of decadent gold encrusted cupcakes for dessert and you have an experience to remember. And while you soak up those princess vibes and watch the kids happily splash around in the waves, be prepared to be spoilt by a 1770 signature sunset as you watch the bright orange sun cast its golden light over the bay.
After spending the week in this beachside town, I was indeed in agreeance with my fisherman friend. Heck, where else would you wanna be?
Agnes Water QLD is a 1.5 hours’ drive north of Bundaberg Airport and 1.5 hours’ drive south of Gladstone Airport.