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Cockermouth Island – Mackay

Cockermouth Island is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park that stretches from Bowen in the north to just south of Mackay.  Cockermouth Island is best accessed by departing from Mackay.

Cockermouth is perhaps the most ‘complete’ secluded island destination to visit from Mackay as it has everything that anybody could ask for.  The island features include, but are not limited to;

  • White sandy beaches
  • Tidal lagoons
  • Turtles
  • Grassy landscapes
  • Safe snorkelling areas
  • Excellent fishing
  • Scuba diving
  • Protected swimming areas perfect for children
  • Naturally shaded areas 
  • Protected lagoon perfect for paddleboarding
  • No crowds and no phone reception

The Bahamas style archipelago lagoon attracts a number of local marine species that can be hard to find in the surrounding islands, this makes the island perfect for ocean lovers and children looking to spot their first turtle.

Baby sharks can be seen on a daily basis as they cruise around the shallow lagoon.  These sharks are never more than 2 feet long and will quickly swim away if you approach them, much like the sharks at Whitehaven Beach.

Stunning Wildlife At Cockermouth Island

Turtles are obviously one of the main drawcards at Cockermouth Island and there certainly are lots of them.  Green Sea turtles make their way into the lagoon after low tide to relax in the safe, shallow water.  Turtles can also be spotted when snorkelling along the fringing reefs that surround the island.

Snorkelling at Cockermouth Island is one of, if not the best destination to explore local coral and marine species.  The biodiversity exhibited on its coral reefs is comparable to some of the very best snorkelling around the globe. 

This is due to two major reasons.

  • Massive tides flush away sediment
  • There are no hoards of tourists

Sediment is a growing concern for most of the fringing island reefs along The Great Barrier Reef, though due to the massive tidal movement ( Up to 8 meters ), the sediment cannot settle on the coral.  Settling sediment acts as a sunscreen to coral polyps and as a result, it can do quite a lot of damage.  This is not a problem at Cockermouth Island.

Cockermouth Island has been a very well kept secret, known only to local Mackay residents.  There are not yet tour companies that take tourists to visit the island which has definitely aided in its preservation and coral growth.  

As you may be aware, we ( Red Cat Adventures ) will soon be launching a tour called Wildcat Adventures, which provides tourists with the opportunity to visit the island.  Of course, we do not want to harm the environment and our contract comes with many strict environmental conditions.

Red Cat Adventures are well known in The Whitsundays as being Climate Action Leaders and Eco-Certified Operators.  We also work closely with Marine Parks, Reef Catchments and local Aboriginal Elders. You can read more about that here.

Our goal for this tour is to bring more tourists to Mackay by giving them the opportunity to visit Cockermouth Island in the most Eco-friendly way possible.  There will be constant monitoring by both ourselves and the relevant authorities to make sure our presence is not doing any harm to the Island or surrounding areas.

Tour Details

Yet to be finalised.  There will be a huge announcement when our tour is ready to be booked, look for it on 7 Local News Mackay.

In addition to our future tour, you can actually camp overnight on Cockermouth Island.  Permits need to be purchased from the National Parks Website located here.   Imagine waking up on one of Queensland’s best kept tropical paradise secrets.  

Camping Details:

Camping area features: this hilly island is mainly open grassland. Large tidal lagoons occur on the island’s western side where low tides expose an ancient Pleistocene reef.

Location: South-western bay of Cockermouth Island.

Access: The camping area can be reached by boat (only).

The number of sites: Open area without separately defined sites. Maximum 12 people.

Campsites are suitable for: Walk-in camping.

Campsite surface: Sand and grass.

Facilities: None.

Open fires: Prohibited.

Generators: Not permitted.

Essentials to bring: Drinking water, rubbish bags, insect repellent.

Cockermouth Island From Above