One of 12 continental islands that make up the Family Group, Dunk Island is a popular family getaway off Mission Beach.
First populated by white man in the late 1800s, author EJ Banfield sought refuge from his doctor’s imminently fatal diagnosis of exhaustion, choosing to live out his remaining days here. The island rejuvenated Banfield (as it does for visitors today), and he lived for a further 26 years, publishing the celebrated Confessions of a Beachcomber in 1907 based on his life on Dunk.
Camping is permitted on the rainforest-clad Dunk, Wheeler and Coombe Islands, which are surrounded by coral reefs. Day-trippers and campers on Dunk have access to the modern open-sided Jetty Café.
Voyages Dunk Island Resort (www.dunk-island.com) provides four-star comfort on the beachfront, ideal for families, couples and small groups seeking a friendly relaxed resort. With 160 rooms and suites dispersed along the shore, ground floor rooms open onto a shaded grassy field, providing space for the kids to run.
Dunk Island, too, was damaged as Cyclone Larry whipped through in ’06, with the rather pleasing result of opening up ocean views to guest rooms that were previously shrouded in heavy rainforest. Adults get to indulge in the Spa of Peace and Plenty, or a plethora of more adventurous activities like nature walks, golf or tennis, while the young ones are entertained in the Kids Club.
Getting There: Light aircraft from Cairns or boat transfer from Mission Beach.