Dunk Island lies 4 km off the Australian east coast in the Pacific Ocean, opposite the town of Mission Beach, Queensland. It is merely a range of hills running almost parallel with the main coastal range. The Family Islands National Park covers 7.3 km² while an airstrip, resort and farm cover the remaining 2.4 km² in the north-west.
The Indigenous Australian name for Dunk Island is Coonanglebah, “The Island of Peace and Plenty.” It received its European name from Captain Cook in 1770 after George Montague-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax.
It was once home to Edmund James Banfield and his wife. It is now a popular tourist destination. It is accessed by ferry and taxi services from Mission Beach, and flights from Cairns and Townsville.
Dunk Island is the northernmost and largest of the Family Islands group, rising to 271 metres at its peak. It was once, along with other islands in the group, hills on the eastern side of a plain prior to ocean levels rising at the end of the last ice age, around 10,000 years ago.
The island is home to Dunk Island Resort, a relatively exclusive resort popular with couples. Day-trippers to the island are discouraged from entering unless they have bought a day-ticket. The resort does offer some services for day visitors, with a cafe and bar at the southern end of Brammo Bay (the main beach), and hire of equipment for water sports. Banana lounge chairs are conveniently located around the bar.
For the energetic visitor , the circuit trail around the island is extremely picturesque. It starts near E.J. Banfield’s grave behind the resort and climbs to the top of Mt Kootaloo, where you will find a stunning view over the Family Islands and Tam O’Shanter Point. The trail then drops down through rainforest to Coconut Beach on the southern side of the island. From there the trail leads you back to the resort past Bruce Arthur’s Artist’s Colony and the airstrip.
There is also a camping ground available for visitors as part of the National Park.