Cumberland Island Group

The Cumberland Island Group lie protected inside the Great Barrier Reef off the coast from Mackay. Access to the less developed southern islands is from Mackay or Seaforth by private boat charter.

The earliest visitors were probably the Ngaro Aboriginals. Captain Cook named the Cumberland islands, European settlements and grazing began around the turn of the century on Saint Bees.

Much of the coastline is rocky and indented; hoop pines silhouetted against the skyline on rocky headlands typify these scenic continental islands. Pearl coloured beaches are strewn with limestone fragments from hard coral.

The fauna on the island include the majestic white bellied sea eagle, and smaller osprey soars above the cliffs and rocky shores and reefs. A walk through the forest behind the beach may reveal orange footed scrub fowl nest mounds up to three metres high.

These islands are also important rookies for flat back and green turtles which are protected. St Bees Island also has a colony of koala habitats. Within the Cumberland Island, Brampton, Carlisle, Scawfell, Goldsmith, Cockermouth, Keswick, and St Bees are all national park islands.

Camping is allowed by permit on Goldsmith, Carlisle, Cockermouth, Scawfell Island and St Bees. St Bees Island also has a basic share accommodation house and Keswick Island has a Bed and Breakfast Guesthouse, and two resorts under construction.

Facilities are not provided on islands in the Cumberland Group except for Goldsmith which has a toilet, barbecue and tables. Campers must be self sufficient including water. Brampton Island is the only island that operates a regular boat service, the resort on Brampton will take campers to Carlisle by prior arrangement. An air service operates to Keswick Island twice daily, Sailing, snorkelling and Diving trips also regularly operate to Keswick, Scawfell and St Bees Island.

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